I don’t know about you
but I have always had a problem sticking with just one interest.
I wanna do everything.
And I don’t just want to do everything,
I want to get good at everything.
Now normally, this is a pretty poor strategy for building skills.
If you jump between things too frequently,
you’ll never put in the number of hours needed
to get truly good at any one thing.
But given enough time, energy,
and let’s be honest here, unhealthy obsession,
one can become a Renaissance person.
Now one such Renaissance person, probably the OG Renaissance person was Leonardo da Vinci.
You might have heard of him before
from this little-known project of his called the Mona Lisa
or through his much more impressive accomplishment
of being immortalized as a Ninja Turtle.
More recently though,
he was also immortalized in a huge biographical tome
called simply Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson.
This book gives us some fascinating insights into
what made Leonardo the man that he was.
And today I want to share some of those insights with you
so that you can use them to become more powerful
than you could possibly imagine,
or you know, at least a little bit more productive in your daily life.
So here are five lessons from the life of da Vinci,
or as my best friend Martin likes to call him, “My boy, Leo DV.”
我的挚友Martin称呼他为“老弟 Leo DV”
Lesson number one:
Present yourself based on what you would like to become,
not just on what you are right now
or what you have been in the past.
Many of us know da Vinci as the mastermind
behind the Mona Lisa or his painting The Last Supper,
but there were actually periods in Leonardo’s life
where he didn’t even want to look at a paintbrush.
During one of these episodes when he was looking for a new patron in Milan,
he drafted a letter describing his various talents
mostly in engineering and military endeavors.
The letter he drafted lists 10 specific areas
in which he might be of service.
Before mentioning painting, at all of which, he writes,
“Likewise in painting, I can do everything possible…”
Basically this is an early example of a custom-tailored resume
which Leonardo wrote to get the job that he wanted.
So here’s what you can take with this.
When you’re presenting yourself to others,
whether it’ll be in the form of a resume or even a Twitter bio,
don’t talk about things that you don’t wanna be known about
or that you don’t want to be doing in the near future.
Instead, work to highlight your current interests.
If you have to pad things out with your past experience,
you might need to do that but don’t put them first and foremost.
But on the other hand, don’t list things that you can’t actually do yet
just because you want to do them.
You actually do have to be able to deliver to some degree.
As it turns out, Leonardo actually hadn’t done many of the things
that he listed in his letter.
A lot of them were just ambitions or ideas.
But, because he had this genius ability to innovate,
usually things worked out pretty well for him.
But today, things are a lot more competitive and people don’t want to waste time
with somebody who really doesn’t have experience.
So make sure that you can back up what you’re talking about.
Make sure you have at least some of the skills and experience
that you want to present to the world.
Now that isn’t to say that you need years of experience in a particular discipline
before you can present it.
Because many things can actually be learned
in a very short period of time.
For example, one of our friends
was applying for a job a few years ago
in which having experience with a LAMP Stack
which is a web hosting stack consisting of Apache, MySQL, and PHP all running on Linux
would have been very beneficial
So in just one weekend,
he taught himself how to set this up,
because it’s a pretty easy skill to learn actually.
And that experience actually helped him to land the job.
Lesson number two:
Become a T-shaped person.
And luckily I’ve got a head start on this
because my name starts with “T”.
For the rest of you guys, you may have to put a little bit more work into this.
But it’s worth it.
Leonardo’s willingness to shift his focus to entirely new things
is part of what made him great.
He didn’t get caught up in past identities,
and he didn’t limit himself based on what he was already good at.
Instead, he relentlessly followed his curiosity
wherever it led him .
And he filled notebook after notebook
with constant observations and questions and thoughts.
And due to this constant practice,
he not only made himself familiar with many different disciplines
but he became quite knowledgeable in several of them.
Human anatomy, optics, military engineering,
人体解剖学 光学 军事工程学
hydrodynamics, and theatrical productions,
just to name a few.
Oh yes, and painting as well.
哦 对 还有绘画
And it was partially due to this variety
that he was able to excel in so many talents.
His creativity and understanding was bolstered heavily
by his ability to see and apply patterns from one discipline to another.
For just one example, let’s take a look at the Mona Lisa’s smile.
The greatness of this smile in the painting was not an accident.
It was informed by obsessive anatomical studies
and a desire to understand each of the muscles that control facial expressions.
Without this extra layer of learning pour from,
the greatness of the painting overall would have suffered.
Lesson number three: Know when you are wrong.
Leonardo thought deeply and critically about almost everything,
which means that he was bound to be wrong at one point or another.
Now in some circles, the practice of sticking to your guns
is seen as a good thing.
And people who change their mind from one position to another
are often labeled flip-floppers.
But this kind of a mindset
can really keep you growing and reaching your highest potential.
An important part of what made Leonardo who he was
was his willingness to adjust his beliefs
to fit new information, not the other way around.
And he did this even with beliefs and theories that he held dear.
For instance, he really liked to find the comparisons
between the human body and the earth.
And one theory that he held for a while was
that the earth’s waters might
circulate similarly to that of the human body’s blood vessels.
But as meaningful as this analogy was to him,
as beautiful as it seemed,
once he realized that it did not fit the facts,
he dropped it and went looking for a new theory that did.
So follow in Leonardo’s footsteps in this area.
Don’t hold yourself to your past beliefs if they do not fit the facts.
Use the facts to find a more accurate theory to live by.
Lesson number four is to collaborate with others.
Popular culture often sees genius as a lonely trait.
But genius doesn’t always hide out in solitude
just waiting for inspiration to strike.
Inspiration often comes from working with others.
And even when genius comes up with an idea on its own,
a team is often needed to realize and perfect that vision.
For example, Terry Pratchett came together with Neil Gaiman
to write Good Omens.
All the engineers and technicians at NASA
put their collective heads together to get us to space.
And of course where would Lil Jon be
当然 如果没有The East Boyz
without The East Side Boyz?
In da Vinci’s time, paintings were often done collaboratively in studio,
And because of this,
determining whether or not a work is an original Leonardo is difficult
because many of his works weren’t done alone.
Even if the original vision was his,
the work itself was often done by a team
both early in his career in his mentor Verrochio’s studio,
and then later on in his own studio.
Now this might seem crazy to think about at first,
but given the time it’s really not that different
than multiple people working together today
to create an animated character in a movie or a video game.
Most 3D characters are created by multiple artists,
some works on textures, others work on rigging,
and still others study reference material
to make sure the animation itself is realistic.
And even putting painting aside,
many of the other great ideas da Vinci had
were inspired by his conversations and his work with others,
others whose names have been forgotten
but whose contributions live on.
As the Jesuit priest Father Strickland once said,
“A man may do an immense deal of good
if he does not care who gets the credit for it.”
Today we seem to have this particularly strong fixation
with building a personal brand both online and offline.
We wanna make sure that our work has our name on it.
But if you can get away from this temptation a bit,
you can embrace collaboration
and be quick to credit people for their ideas and contributions,
you’re gonna get a lot farther because your work will be better.
Also, somewhat ironically, people will tend to like you more
if you’re quick to credit others because, well, you won’t look selfish.
That brings us to lesson number five,
which is to be wary of perfectionism.
Looking at Leonardo’s accomplishments in retrospect
can make him look almost superhuman in his brilliance,
but while he was still alive,
it wasn’t the only thing he was known for.
The same perfectionism that drove him to new heights
also kept him being very reliable to others.
He rarely finished anything including some large projects
that he had been paid to do and had agreed to finish.
After procrastinating in what could have been one of his greatest achievements,
a mural commemorating The Battle of Anghiari,
eventually getting a new contract with a later deadline,
failing that deadline as well,
and then eventually, just abandoning the entire project altogether,
he never again received a public commission.
And not only did this trait make it difficult for Leonardo
to find work compared to his more flexible peers.
it also didn’t seem to sit well with Leonardo himself.
As he obsessed with leaving a legacy
while simultaneously leaving project after project unfinished,
he repeatedly scrawled in his notebooks,
“Tell me if anything was ever done.
Tell me. tell me. Tell me if I ever did a thing…
告诉我 告诉我 告诉我有没有做过一件事……
Tell me if anything was ever made.”
Hundreds of years later,
Leonardo may now be more respected for his unwillingness
to produce work that was just good enough.
And you may well respect him for that yourself.
But it’s also important to know when to just be done.
It is okay to simply finish something to the best of your ability right now and move forward
and it’s far better than just not finishing it at all.
And this is especially true
because regardless of what you view as perfection right now,
what you’re gonna be able to produce in the future will be far better.
Every single time you finish a project,
you gain new skills, you gain new insight,
and you become more capable of creating better and better work.
Now perfectionism is a big problem,
so let me imperfectly solve it here with just one quick tip.
Give your perfectionism constraints.
Don’t say I’m going to set out to make the best thing ever
as that’s impossible.
You could always put more time and energy and effort into it.
Instead, say I’m gonna make the best thing that I can reasonably make
within this time frame and this set of constraints.
In the long term, just remember
that trying new things and making mistakes
is a large part of how we improve ourselves.
Much like Frieza, you have to lose a few times
in order to reach your final form.
And the faster and more often you can embrace imperfection,
the faster and closer you’ll get to your highest potential in any area,
your version of perfect.
So to quickly summarize:
1. Present yourself based on what you want to become.
2. Become a T-shaped person.
3. Know when you’re wrong
4. Collaborate with other people.
and 5. Be wary of perfectionism.
Now in the intro of this video I mentioned
that all the lessons we just talked about
were inspired by Walter Isaacson’s biography of Leonardo da Vinci
which was simply titled Leonardo da Vinci.
And if you’d like to experience this book for yourself
and also start learning a bit more about his life,
you can actually start listening to it today for free on Audible
by going over to AUDIBLE. COM/THOMAS
or by texting “Thomas” to 500-500 on your phone
to activate a free 30-day trial of Audible service
and get a free audiobook download of your choosing.
Audible is the Internet’s best place
to get your hands on audiobooks.
Not only do they have all the bestsellers, lots of obscure titles,
but they also have titles across every kind of genre you’re going to want to listen to.
Science fiction, biographies, psychology titles…
科幻小说 传记 心理类……
And when you’re a member, you get one credit
that is good for any audiobook in their library every single month
plus two Audible originals that you can not get anywhere else
and access to over 100 different exercise
and meditation programs.
Additionally, they have a really well-designed app
with a lot of great features including a sleep timer
and the ability to make notes
at specific timestamps in any audiobook you’re listening to.
So once again, if you wanna start listening to Leonardo da Vinci
or any other audiobook of your choosing,
head over to AUDIBLE. COM/THOMAS
or text “Thomas” to 500-500 on your phone
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Big thanks as always to Audible
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on lessons from Leonardo da Vinci’s life
which is a lot more in-depth than this video right over here.
Thanks as always for watching and I’ll see you in the next video.
I don’t know about you