What Leonardo da Vinci Teaches Us About Mindset


Leonardo da Vinci died at the age of 67 on May 2, 1519. It was reported that in his final days he was filled with repentance and apologized to God and man for leaving so much undone. Furthermore in his last days he wrote "I shall continue and never tire of being useful." Compounding his perspective he dies in the arms of the King Francois I of France describing in detail the nature of his illness and symptoms as he dies: his illness being another opportunity to learn and discover more.

We respect him by learning from him. --Sigmund Freud on da Vinci.

This astounded me when we reflect on the magnitude of his lifetime accomplishments. He is arguably the greatest mind to have ever lived and his record shows that he demonstrated that in practice. His background surpasses anything I have ever encountered or read about: anatomist, architect, botanist, city planner, costume and stage designer, chef, humourist engineer, equestrian, inventor, geographer, geologist, mathematician, military scientist, musician, painter, philosopher, physicist and raconteur.

It's staggering to comprehend.

My 3 take-away points:

  1. Develop a taste for humble pie. If Leonardo could be this humble, despite his accomplishments, so can we. No one likes a self-promoting leader. Your leadership is there for others to praise but never yourself.
  2. There is major purpose in learning. Learning when applied corresponds to value and when you are valuable you tend to see the doors of opportunity open. Kick off a learning plan today, that is, if you don’t have one. Inspire others by your learning.
  3. A mindset is of no value in brevity. A mindset applied over several years’ amounts to much. It’s not what you do once in a while that matters; it’s what you consistently do.

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Merci Bien.