WHEN Leonardo da Vinci was learning how to draw at a young age, his Grand Master instructed him to draw an egg. He continued to draw the same egg for several months until he became frustrated. He felt he was not learning anything new and wanted to give up.
The Master told him, if he observed the egg closely, he would discover that not every side of the egg was the same and he should draw the eggs differently from one another. The Grand Master had taught da Vinci how to look at things from a different perspective, no matter how common they may be.
Great geniuses like da Vinci possess a certain type of power which enable them to achieve great things. They are more creative, engage in critical thinking and tend to see things that “normal” people cannot. What is this so-called power? Can we think like geniuses and harness their power? Can we unlock the secrets of their minds?
When you start asking such questions, you are already practising what da Vinci was nurtured to do. He was always curious, had an inquisitive mind and asked all types of questions.
The first principle in developing the mindset of a genius is to be insatiably curious about all things. This helps you to develop an unrelenting quest for continuous learning. Your questions may be simple and may even make you look stupid, but it will help to activate the problem solving function of your brain.
Once your brain gets a question, it needs to complete the thinking process by finding answers to it. It naturally becomes uncomfortable if there is no closure to the question posed, and will still continue to find answers without you knowing. On the other hand, if you do not pose questions, the brain accepts the information as factual statements and will not start thinking critically.
Da Vinci was an avid learner, practising what his Grand Master taught him — to “open up” all his senses during learning. Our senses are similar to that of the computer’s input devices like the keyboard and mouse.
Their main function is to enable data to be entered by the user, and deliver data to the Central Processing Unit for computing. Our multi-sensory organs such as our eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin help us collect information about a certain subject and send it to the brain for analysis.
The continual refinement of our senses will help us to study the data faster, synthesise the information and analyse the issues more critically.
We are living in a complex world, thus our thinking needs to be upgraded with new learning behaviours and techniques. Geniuses practise whole-brain thinking — a synergetic way of thinking which involves both their left- and right-brained skills.
The left-brain skills are linguistics, arithmetic, logic and analysis. The right-brain skills involve music, visual colours, imagination, spatial awareness and day-dreaming. Great geniuses harness both to see things from different perspectives. Their whole brain approach helps them to invent things ahead of their time and to solve complex issues and problems.
Now that we have unlocked da Vinci’s secret codes, start asking questions and you will find answers to harness your brain power. How? Map out your thoughts and use Mind Mapping as a new thinking technique.
It is a whole-brain thinking approach as it involves all your cortical skills such as pictures, words, lines, colours and spatial awareness. It is a structured thinking tool — it helps you to radiate your ideas, starting from the centre and branching out in all directions.
It aids in thinking associatively and divergently, generating ideas at a much faster and creative way. You can now use the Mind Maps to help you think of infinite possibilities even if things seem impossible at first. It is the tool of a genius.
Article by Eric Cheong, a WDA-certified trainer, accredited ThinkBuzan Instructor and Master Trainer in Brain Capital Group. Eric has more than 14 years' experience in management and corporate training.