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DaVinci's Genius Habits
By Linda Dessau | Updated September 16, 2018
When my mind gets to wanderin’, I find it truly extraordinary to examine the seeming coincidences in my life and in the world at large.
When I cleaned out a drawer in my office, I got a new contract.
When I stopped worrying about the solution to a problem, a solution appeared that I NEVER would have thought of.
In How To Think Like Leonardo da Vinci, Michael Gelb defines the concept of Connessione as, “A recognition of and appreciation for the interconnectedness of all things and phenomena. Systems thinking (220).”
He describes the many “playful, imaginary combinations” (224) that Leonardo made.
How does this relate to connect with our expression of creativity?
As artists we delight in “playful, imaginary combinations” we're in the business of creating things that didn't exist before.
Our playfulness can be seen when we manipulate objects, words or ideas into new forms simply because it delights us to do it.
Our imagination is inexhaustible.
And we specialize in combining colours, thoughts, words, textures, designs, ideas, movements, notes, or other things in two's, three's or more, until we end up with a completely NEW thing.
He points out that it's really human nature to seek connection, and that we all do it, “physically, we seek health (the word health comes from the Old English root hal, meaning ‘whole’), affection, and the ecstasy of sexual union. Emotionally, we yearn for a sense of belonging, intimacy, and love. Intellectually, we look for patterns and relationships, seeking to understand systems. And spiritually, we pray for Oneness with the Divine (228).“
Many artists I spoke to during my creativity interviews spoke about not feeling whole unless they were expressing themselves creatively. Creating is our way of connecting with the world, expressing our emotions and affections and finding the place where we belong. It's the way we make sense of the world and our own thoughts, and it's the way we seek and achieve spiritual expression.
When we're creating, we tap into a flow of creativity that exists everywhere and through all time; we're connected to everything that's ever been created and everything that ever will be created; we're connected to everyone who's also connected; we're connected to a flow of divine energy.
“Painting doesn't freeze time. It circulates and recycles time like a wheel that turns. Those who were first might well be last. Painting is a very slow art. It doesn't travel with the speed of light. That's why dead painters shine so bright.” Marlene Dumas
No wonder being blocked from our creativity can be so painful and lonely. All of a sudden we go from being ‘part of’ this immense connection, to being all alone and cut off. Cut off from a part of ourselves; cut off from creativity as a whole.
Gelb suggests, “thinking about the origins of things is a great way to appreciate Connessione (237).”
So what is the origin of an expression of our creativity?
The creative flow calls you. It's sent the impulse to create, and a vision or feeling or wisp of an idea to develop. You've already been blessed with the talent to carry it out, otherwise you wouldn't have the desire to do it. From there, we aim to get or stay in the flow, to connect and tap in.
©2006 Linda Dessau. All rights reserved.
Creativity Portal's Learning from Leonardo series is based on the seven principles in Michael Gelb's How To Think Like Leonardo da Vinci: Seven Steps to Genius Every Day.
Inspiring practices for artists, scientists, and inventors modeled by DaVinci.
Davinci made the most of the left- and right-sides of his brain as seen in his note taking, likely inspiring Tony Buzan's technique of mind mapping.
Davinci's genius was enhanced by his willingness to be open to anything and embracing ambiguity, paradox and uncertainty.
Davinci jumped right into the moment of his experiences, challenging long-standing beliefs and opinions.
Davinci knew his body was a strong house for his creativity and took care of it by practicing the cultivation of grace, ambidexterity, fitness, and poise.
Davinci's continuous refinement of his five senses enhanced his ability to work and think.
Davinci's appreciation for the interconnectedness of all things enabled him to see and use the larger picture to his advantage.
DaVinci cultivated an insatiably curious approach to life.