Leonardo who was born one year before the conquest of Constantinople was not only the painter of the best paintings of “Mona Lisa” and “The Last Supper” in the world, he was at the same time a well-known architect and sculpture; an inventor with inventions such as a flying machine, a helicopter, a parachute, the extending stairs that the firemen use today and the first revolving stage of the world; a military engineer who made the plans of armored tank, machine gun, guided missile and submarine whose real ones would become true after four hundred years; a scientist with pioneering works in the areas of anatomy, botanic, geology and physics and a strong sportsman who could bend the horseshoe with his hand. 40 years before Copernicus he noted that the sun did not move and that the world was not at the center of the universe; 60 years before Galileo he suggested that a giant magnifier be used to inspect the celestial bodies; 200 years before Newton he wrote that “every weight has the tendency to fall towards the center from the shortest way possible”; and 400 years before Darwin he wrote, “people are not different than animals except the accidental situations” and put the people in the same category as monkeys.
Leonardo Da Vinci was a role model who continued his life with the understanding that “it is possible to learn everything”. His approach to life and his principles can help to reveal out the creativity inside us.
Leonardo lived his life on the basis of seven principles. His first principle that tied him to life and made it possible for him to make inventions beyond his time in many different areas was the unending research motive for continuous learning and curiosity. He was looking at every event happening around him with curiosity. Why were the sea shells in the seashores not on the tip of the mountains? Why the lightening, while in need of time to propagate, was becoming visible at the moment it forms? How can a bird keep itself in the air? Such questions led him to make inventions in the branches of geology, physics, and anatomy. He was not satisfied only by learning how something would work. He wanted to find the reasons as well. Thus this curiosity converted him into a scientist beyond a technician.
Leonardo learned Latin at the age of forty-two. It is never late to learn a new language, new sports, or to begin an artistic activity that you dream of. Besides, learning new things keeps the mind healthy.
The second principle of Leonard was his desire to learn a lesson from the mistakes and the motivation to test the knowledge. This principle helped him to develop his ability to learn by himself. Who is afraid of a mistake, who does not make a mistake cannot do anything or cannot learn anything new. One of the most important reasons why children learn rapidly is that they are not afraid of making a mistake.
Those who are mature enough to learn from the mistake of others can proceed and develop more rapidly. Thus any new person you meet is a source of wealth and richness. A person with a questioning mind and an understanding of applying to test what s/he learned would increase his/her pace of learning.
Leonardo’s third principle was to try to use all of his senses to make his experiences livelier. The more one develops his/her hearing, smelling, tasting, touching and seeing senses the more taste s/he will get from the life, the more s/he will perceive the environment around him/her and the more rapid s/he will learn. Complementing one sense with another sense develops perception. Like warm-cold colors, sweet-sour sound, a taste like a velvet.
Sparing time to smell the flowers and the air, to see the every bit of the food as a richness to be tasted without thinking that they are a commodity to be transferred into your stomach as soon as possible, to listen to the same melody in a different way by playing with the buttons of your music set, to carry out look to the horizon beyond the computer screen, to concentrate to the colors of a butterfly, and listening to the silence will increase the taste we get from the life.
The fourth principle of Leonardo was to embrace the uncertainty. A person who does not have doubts can be successful in a few things. It is said that Leonardo had an interest in the Eastern Philosophy. There are critiques who say that Mona Lisa was made upon being affected by the yin-yang philosophy which had the understanding of finding a balance and equilibrium from the antagonisms. Freud had defined this artwork as the most perfect expression of the contrasts that dominate a woman’s love life. The smile of Mona Lisa is the interception of the good and the bad, compassion and ruthlessness, seduction and innocence, and mortality and immortality.
To be friends with uncertainty and to learn to stand against surprise are becoming an important capability in our world where change is increasing rapidly. To keep calm when faced with a paradox is the key today not only to be effective but also to have a healthy mind. Therefore, we should not refrain from listening to our inner voice as much as our thoughts.
The fifth principle of Leonardo was to think of the brain as a whole to develop the balance between the science and the art, logic and the dreaming.
Leonardo was applying five hundred years ago the idea of making mind maps which was made popular by Tony Buzan today. Approaching the events by both the right and left side of the brain, and perceiving them both qualitatively as well as quantitatively enriches the person and the thought.
The sixth principle of Leonardo was to preserve the body and the mind balance and to develop it. Goethe has written for Leonardo saying, “with his handsome and magnificent physical outlook he was like a model of human being’s perfection”. Besides his other features, Leonardo was known among the Florence people with his balance, elegance and sportsmanship.
When a person works regularly to increase his/her strength and capability for his/her personal health, this contributes to his/her success in other areas of the life.
The seventh principle of Leonardo was to search the relationship of everything with the other things. A whole is more than the total of its components. Searching the relationships of the events brings in a systematic thinking and a better conception of the whole. Leonardo was a lover of nature. Leonardo who had researched in a very wide area from anatomy to the space science wrote as follows: Everything comes from everything, and everything is made of everything and as a result, everything turns into everything.
There are many lessons to learn from this invaluable person and his principles of life that had so much contribution in the transformation of the World. We can also increase the contributions we make to the world as much as we learn from the experiences of others and as much as we can develop our behavior in life.
In summary, the teachings of Leonardo is based on interrogation and questioning, on learning, on sparing time for ourselves and the nature and on a balanced life.
Finally, let us remember Leonardo’s three suggestions regarding life:
“Whoever walks upright, would seldom stumble.”
“S/he, who does not punish the crime, would be encouraging it.”
“Like the birds, feathers can raise the people toward the heaven; like writing the words with feather pens…”
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