Learning from Leonardo da Vinci

Think Like a Genius and Its Qualities

By Runel Soria
According to Thomas Alva Edison "Genius is ninety nine percent perspiration and one percent inspiration" this mean that you must be more on hard work than wishing to be someone. Even if you're not a genius, you can use the same strategies as Aristotle and Einstein to harness the power of your creative mind and better manage your future.
The following eight strategies encourage you to think productively, rather than reproductively, in order to arrive at solutions to problems. "These strategies are common to the thinking styles of creative geniuses in science, art, and industry throughout history."
  1. Look at problems in many different ways, and find new perspectives that no one else has taken (or no one else has publicized!)
    Leonardo da Vinci believed that, to gain knowledge about the form of a problem, you begin by learning how to restructure it in many different ways. He felt that the first way he looked at a problem was too biased. Often, the problem itself is reconstructed and becomes a new one.

  2. Visualize!
    When Einstein thought through a problem, he always found it necessary to formulate his subject in as many different ways as possible, including using diagrams. He visualized solutions, and believed that words and numbers as such did not play a significant role in his thinking process.

  3. Produce! A distinguishing characteristic of genius is productivity.
    Thomas Edison held 1,093 patents. He guaranteed productivity by giving himself and his assistants idea quotas. In a study of 2,036 scientists throughout history, Dean Keith Simonton of the University of California at Davis found that the most respected scientists produced not only great works, but also many "bad" ones. They weren't afraid to fail, or to produce mediocre in order to arrive at excellence.

  4. Make novel combinations. Combine, and recombine, ideas, images, and thoughts into different combinations no matter how incongruent or unusual.
    The laws of heredity on which the modern science of genetics is based came from the Austrian monk Grego Mendel, who combined mathematics and biology to create a new science.

  5. Form relationships; make connections between dissimilar subjects.
    Da Vinci forced a relationship between the sound of a bell and a stone hitting water. This enabled him to make the connection that sound travels in waves. Samuel Morse invented relay stations for telegraphic signals when observing relay stations for horses.

  6. Think in opposites.
    Physicist Niels Bohr believed, that if you held opposites together, then you suspend your thought, and your mind moves to a new level. His ability to imagine light as both a particle and a wave led to his conception of the principle of complementarity. Suspending thought (logic) may allow your mind to create a new form.

  7. Think metaphorically.
    Aristotle considered metaphor a sign of genius, and believed that the individual who had the capacity to perceive resemblances between two separate areas of existence and link them together was a person of special gifts.

  8. Prepare yourself for chance.
    Whenever we attempt to do something and fail, we end up doing something else. That is the first principle of creative accident. Failure can be productive only if we do not focus on it as an unproductive result. Instead: analyze the process, its components, and how you can change them, to arrive at other results. Do not ask the question "Why have I failed?", but rather "What have I done?"

QUALITIES OF A TRUE GENIUS

  1. Curiosity
    Children are naturally curious about the world around them from the earliest weeks of life. The squirmy behavior of the infant is actually a manifestation of its sensorium engaged in a full-scale exploration of the world: this is active curiosity at its highest pitch.

  2. Playfulness
    Nowhere can we see students' genius more clearly demonstrated than when they are at play. When children play they reinvent the world. Kids who build forts and pretend to be kings and queens are internalizing social structures, mirroring historical movements, and playing out mythological themes. Play allows kids to work through emotional conflicts, develop and test hypotheses about the world, investigate complex social roles, prepare for full-fledged participation in the family and community, and develop more appropriate ways of relating to peers.

  3. Imagination
    The imagination has come to be associated with something negative — daydreaming — rather than being viewed as a potential source of cognitive power that the student might use to write stories (e.g., "My Role in Writing the Treaty of Versailles"), put on plays, create works of art, initiate deep dialogues about significant life issues, or engage in other activities that relate to important school outcomes.

  4. Creativity
    The word creativity is closely linked to the word genius, since both words have the root meaning "to give birth." Essentially, creativity designates the capacity to give birth to new ways of looking at things, the ability to make novel connections between disparate things, and the knack for seeing things that might be missed by the typical way of viewing life.

  5. Wonder
    Wonder is the natural astonishment that children and adolescents have about the world around them. Most of us, at one time or another in our youth, have lain on our backs looking up at the sky on a starry night wondering how far the universe went on. This kind of experience reveals the dual meaning of wonder: as a verb ("I wonder how far it goes on") and as an emotional experience ("Wow! It just goes on and on ... !").

  6. Wisdom
    Out of wonder may come wisdom. The student who is able to experience the wonder of the world directly, without the blinders of preconceptions and cliches, has access to a certain precocious wisdom different from that of elders who have acquired their wisdom from years of experience; but this strong and silent knowledge nevertheless can have the force of deeper truth behind it.

  7. Inventiveness
    Though closely allied to the concept of creativity, inventiveness is student who is able to experience included here as a separate dimension of genius because it implies a certain "hands-on" quality that might be neglected when people think about creativity. Children and adolescents are naturally inventive, coming up with often bizarre and funny uses for common things.

  8. Vitality
    Other words I might have chosen to express this dimension include aliveness, spontaneity, or vibrancy. But vitality seems to best express the image of children or adolescents being awake to their senses, totally and immediately responsive to the environment, and actively engaged in each and every moment.

  9. Sensitivity
    This quality of genius refers to the incredible openness that children have to the world. From the earliest days of life, the sights, sounds, textures, smells, and tastes of the world flood the baby's sensorium, and the infant responds to each stimulus in a fresh and unique way.

  10. Flexibility
    This quality of genius refers to the plasticity of the child's (and to a lesser extent the adolescent's) mind; the ability of the child and adolescent to make fluid associations, to move from fantasy to reality, from metaphor to fact, from the inner world to the outer and back again. Like so many of the qualities of genius described earlier, this trait is often regarded as a liability.

  11. Humor
    Humor lifts us out of the dreadful seriousness of nongenius life, breaks the tension that drudgery all too often fixes upon us, and gives us something new: a funny angle, a new perspective, a broader view of life.

  12. Joy
    If genius has any core component, it is probably the experience of joy. Ask some of the great minds of our time to explain what motivates them in their work and generally you will not hear them talk about paychecks or even the Nobel Prize (though these certainly have their allure). More often they may speak somewhat mystically of an experience that sounds like joy. Young children may not be as articulate, but if they could speak about what motivates them in their most passionate play experiences they would probably speak of joy (they speak of it anyway through their sparkling eyes, their bouncing bodies, and their squeals of delight). As Piaget once wrote: "On seeing a baby joyfully watching the movements of his feet, one has the impression of the joy felt by a god in directing from a distance the movement of the stars."
    Joy is something mysterious that cooks up from deep inside of us when a new connection has been made, a new insight obtained, a new feat accomplished, or a skill mastered. Such joy can be witnessed in the brilliant grin of a high school student who witnesses the invention that he's been toiling on for the past several weeks finally work for the first time. Joy is in the 7th grader who twirls across the stage in the school musical. joy shows itself in the 1st grader who jumps up and down after reading his first story. The neurochemistry of the joy of teaming is still unclear — it might have something to do with neuronal connections stimulating a release of neuropeptides into the nervous system. But however it occurs, its importance cannot be underestimated. Without joy, learning is soda pop without the fizzle — flat and tasteless. •
© Runel Cagro

About the Author
Runel Cagro was a criminology student of the University of Mindanao, and he likes to observe the quality of an effective student — especially a true genius.
Source: www.isnare.com