Official blog for the book "Just Behind the Door"

Posts tagged ‘curiosity’

Lessons from Leonardo DaVinci

The famous artist, Leonardo DaVinci, lived by five principles according to author Michael Gelb in his book, “How to Think Like Leonardo DaVinci.” These principles are well worth our consideration.

Curiosity – If we question things to seek additional information and to discover the deeper ‘why’ behind the idea or situation we are attempting to create a richer context, purpose and understanding in the moment. Knowing the ‘why’ helps us make connections in our brains by creating new synapses. Basically, knowing the ‘why’ makes us smarter.

Risk Taking – when we force ourselves out of our comfort zones we expand our awareness of life. By doing so we develop greater self confidence. We experience new things and become more interesting to ourselves and others. Is it easy … no but is it necessary… absolutely!

A Deeper development of our five senses happens when we bring our total attention to a circumstance. Feeling, seeing, hearing, tasting and touching are senses that can be taken for granted on a superficial level or experienced at a much more significant level when we bring our total attention to the situation. We are able to connect with our subconscious memory and experience the full effect of the experience when we are fully present in the moment.

Chaos – predictability can be reassuring but it can also become boring. The ability to handle ambiguity tolerance allows us to ‘allow’ life to happen. It deepens our life experience. The best teachers have this critical skill. They move with the tide and do not try to force the water to remain still. Life gives us hundreds of opportunities to develop our skills of listening, waiting, observing before we decide on a particular plan to move forward. We simply need to learn to allow and relax in the knowing that all will work out as it is suppose to in life.

A mind-body balance. Life is all about learning balance. Too much of a good thing is simply that ….too much. It takes discipline to learn a personal balance in everything we do but it is possible when we realize that, ‘if it is going to be it is up to me.’ Choices can be a gift or a burden it simply depends on our attitude.

Like a kindred spirit, Leonardo DaVinci also believed that everything happens for a reason. Adopting this belief helps us to accept life and stop using the blame game on ourselves or others. It helps us live fuller, richer lives and we become fearless when thinking about the future. We know that we will survive and learn the lessons we have chosen to learn. We are personally responsible for the challenges, the lessons and the learning involved.

Living with these principles can cause us to begin seeing with the minds eye of the artist. We can become more happy, healthy and fully functioning human beings when we apply what this master has set out before us. We can sketch our canvas anyway we choose because it is simply, magnificently all up to us and “All is as it should be.”

Have a great few days!

A Friend Indeed …

The World Happiness Database (yes there is such a thing!) has found that people who have close friendships are happier, more empathic, display greater honesty and altruism. On another front, evolutionary biologists have found that these are traits that are very important to give and receive for survival. As Homo sapiens we are basically just wired to be social animals.

What causes some people to have more friends than others? I’m not talking here about the ‘friends’ we may have on Facebook or other social media sites but the kind of person (friend or a family member who is also a friend) that you could call in the middle of the night because you feel the need to talk. Could it be that they have developed greater empathy and curiosity for others?

If you watch them closely, you see that they truly care about others. They are more interested in letting the other person talk rather than keeping the attention on themselves and taking up all of the ‘air space.’ They find other people interesting and are curious about their world views. You can just feel a genuineness about them. They are not simply giving you 5 minutes of their time but are actually interested in what you are saying! Their energy is positive, uplifting and seems to naturally draw us in with their empathic regard. They want to walk a step or two in our world to better understand us, without value judgments but simply to more fully understand.

George Orwell serves as a tremendous example of a person who purposely experienced different world views to expand his empathy and understanding. After serving as a colonial police officer in British Burma in the 1920’s he returned to Britain determined to develop a deeper understanding of what life was like for the economically poor street people. As he spent time, dressed as a beggar, he realized that homeless people are not simply ‘drunken scoundrels.’ He wrote a book entitled, Down and Out in Paris and London about his experience and stated that it was the ‘greatest travel experience of his life.’

Rarely do we hear of such extreme learning examples such as Orwell’s but the truth remains, when you take the time to observe, listen with your heart and try to walk in another person’s shoes, even for a few moments, you develop greater empathy and respect. Without even realizing it, you find the numbers of friends you have increasing because you have taken the time to show you care. After all, we are all doing the best we can in this lifetime as we work at learning our own unique lessons.

William Shakespeare said, ‘A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow.’ Doesn’t get much better than that right?

Have a great few days!