Are you a da Vinci?


I’m reading this book right now and am both surprised and challenged by the first couple of chapters. Gelb has identified seven da Vinci principles:

  • an insatiable curiosity and quest for continuous learning
  • a willingness to learn from mistakes as we test our knowledge
  • a refinement of our senses
  • a willingness to embrace ambiguity, paradox, and uncertainty
  • the development of whole brain thinking
  • the cultivation of grace, ambidexterity, fitness, and poise
  • a recognition of/appreciation for the interconnectedness of everything – embracing systems thinking

      I was surprised to find that I am applying several of these principles every day … and challenged to apply the remaining ones.

      If I could choose one of these principles that would have a huge impact on education, I would focus on the fourth (embracing ambiguity), and let the others flow out and around it. As many of us work at helping our students and colleagues accept and use 21st Century skills, including computer skills, it is not uncommon to run up against people who will not change. This mindset is not age-dependent – my students are just as resistant to change as their instructors. It takes a great deal of intestinal fortitude to give up the known – to take occasional treks into the wilderness – to become adventurers and explorers.

      So here’s my challenge to you … choose one behavior, attitude, belief, or action that you hold onto with a tight grip. Loosen your fingers a little and do some experimentation. Try to enjoy the free-fall feeling – you can always go back to the way it was – but, you may not want to.


      Take a chance – embrace the uncertainty!


      7 thoughts on “Are you a da Vinci?

      1. Durff – the author says to read through the book and then try to work on some of the principles. There is also a workbook – both really cheap through Amazon.

        Let me know what you think – I want to finish it soon too.

      2. I like the post. Sounds like a great read. Change is difficult for many. I was trying to finish “The World is Flat” the other day and came across the quote, “If you think change is hard try being irrelevant.” I liked that.

      3. I loved this book.

        My wife and daughters thinks I’m weird trying to do things with my left hand all the time. They says “What, are you trying to think like Leonardo again?”

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