The Seven Da Vinci Principles

Of all the great exemplars, none was greater than Leonardo da Vinci. One of history’s most prestigious mentors, da Vinci left a legacy that inspires, excites and motivates up until today.

Modern science posits that human intelligence is not a singular phenomenon. Popular belief is that intelligence is set at birth even though genes account for less than half and it’s understood that function of prenatal care, environment and education make up the lion’s share. Another common belief is that verbal and mathematical reasoning skills measured by SATs and IQ tests are the sine qua nons of intelligence.

As any good college admittance expert knows, SATs can winnow out those who don’t make the cut, but there are many other intelligences that must be measured to understand the whole person. Some of the best institutions of higher education have developed a daunting process to understand the whole candidate. Many of the best hiring organizations do their best to replicate this filtering process but have much more stringent labor laws around what can and can’t be discussed at a job interview – much to the disadvantage of the candidate! (That is why you need to know what information to volunteer at a job interview!)

So what are the seven intelligences?

1. Logical – Mathematical
2. Verbal – Linguistic
3. Spatial – Mechanical
4. Musical
5. Bodily – Kinesthetic
6. Interpersonal – Social
7. Intrapersonal – Self-knowledge

While there are many geniuses who we identify with particular items on the above list, Leonardo da Vinci had mastered them all.

How did he do this? What were his secrets? Clearly da Vinci was able to take advantage of the new technological advances of his day – movable type, cheap paper, the pencil. He also clearly had a great head start with being born to a large family with many siblings. But one of his strengths was his driving principles that kept his course on life long learning. He developed what are now referred to as the Seven Da Vincian Principles. They are:

Curiosità – An insatiable curious approach to life and an unrelenting quest for continued learning.

Dimostrazione – A commitment to test knowledge thought experience, persistence, and a willingness to learn from mistakes.

Sensazione – The continual refinement of the senses, especially sight, as the means to enliven experience.

Sfumato – Literally “Going up in smoke” – A willingness to embrace ambiguity, paradox, and uncertainty.

Arte/Scienza – The development of the balance between science and art, logic and imagination. “Whole-brain” thinking.

Corporalita – The cultivation of grace, ambidexterity, fitness, and poise.

Connessione – A recognition of and appreciation for the interconnected ness of all things and phenomena. Systems thinking.

Hopefully, many of these do not seem foreign to you. They should seem like common sense. You possess all of these. The key is to develop each one every day.

What are some habits you need to work on? What are some that you excel at?

What do you need to do to be more intelligent?