“Creativity is about far more than generating new ideas. It’s about opening to your full life energy, which then circulates the passion and gusto that give your life meaning and sparkle.”
That quote is from the website for the Mastering Creativity program by author, teacher and consultant Michael Gelb – see information about the program further down the page.
One of the leaders of creative thought and expression Gelb often references is Leonardo da Vinci:
“Leonardo lamented that most people ‘touch without feeling.’ The secret of sensitive ‘feeling’ touch is an attitude of receptivity, learning to ‘listen’ deeply with your hands and whole body.”
[From DVD companion booklet to How To Think Like Leonardo Da Vinci – see link below.]
For those of us who live so much in our heads, that kind of connection with body sensations can be particularly challenging. Maybe personal growth practices like meditation can help.
video: How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci
The description for his online course based on this book notes:
“Anatomist, architect, botanist, city planner, chef, engineer, equestrian, inventor, geographer, geologist, musician, painter, and philosopher, Leonardo da Vinci helped bring the Western world out of the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance.”
The course promises to apply seven principles “for thinking like Leonardo, through a proven series of practical exercises, to your deepest life questions” – These da Vinci principles are:
• Curiosità – An insatiable quest for knowledge and continuous improvement
• Dimostrazione – Learning from experience
• Sensazione – Sharpening the senses
• Sfumato – Managing ambiguity and change
• Arte/Scienza – Whole-brain thinking
• Corporalità – Body-mind fitness
• Connessione – Systems thinking
For more information, visit the site for the course:
How to Think Like Leonardo Da Vinci.
In her INC Magazine interview with Gelb, Christina DesMarais covers some of the key topics in the book. She writes:
“Gelb says the fodder for his book came from studying Leonardo’s notebooks. In addition to all his other talents Leonardo wrote copiously and put to paper 13,000 pages of notes and drawings, much of it in mirror-image cursive.
“Here’s what Gelb learned from the Italian master about what you need to be most creative.”
“By nature children are curious, but as we grow up much of our inquisitiveness ebbs.
‘Almost all children in their natural state ask lots of questions. That’s how they learn so much in the first five years of life. But then we send them to school where they learn that answers are more important than questions,’ Gelb says.
“Geniuses like da Vinci, however, maintain a passionate curiosity throughout life.
‘When you work with an organization you can often tell, especially when you come in from the outside as I do as a consultant, whether the spirit of curiosity is really alive, whether people actually have a questing open mind or whether they’re a bunch of stuffy know-it-alls.’
“Diversity is critical for creativity and innovation, which is why it’s important to seek out points of view different from your own.
‘The problem is the more senior someone becomes the more likely they’re going to believe their own publicity and surround themselves with people who always agree with them. So the more senior you become, the more concerted effort you must make to seek out different opinions. Then you have a chance to think independently,’ Gelb says.
Sharpen Your Senses
“In business this translates into listening well and being observant, simple advice that’s difficult to heed in an increasingly distracted world.
‘The Italians have la dolce vita, the sweet soulful life. The French have joie de vivre, the joy of living and in the States all we have is happy hour,’ Gelb says.
“He’s really talking about mindfulness, paying close attention to what’s happening right now. Not only can it help you be more creative, it’s the key to enjoying life, he says.”
From 7 Things Leonardo da Vinci Can Teach You About Creativity [on Gelb’s site].
Self-portrait from my post Thinking Like Leonardo Da Vinci, which starts off with two quotes:
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Leonardo da Vinci
“We tried to make something much more holistic and simple.” Steve Jobs
Painting: “The Soul Of The Rose” (detail) by John W. Waterhouse, 1908 – used on the cover of the hardback version of Diane Ackerman’s book “A Natural History of The Senses.” See my article Making More Calm and Less Stress.
More on sensation and creating
In her article Awakening the Senses, Linda Dessau notes the “Sensazione” chapter of the book ‘How to think like Leonardo da Vinci’ is “dedicated to re-awakening and sharpening each of the five senses: sight, sound, smell, taste and touch.
“As artists, we get to play in the land of the senses as often as we allow ourselves to. And our gift to the world is that we help others to engage their senses through what we create.”
But Gelb also addresses being overwhelmed by sensation – a challenge especially for us who are highly sensitive:
“Every sound and every silence provides an opportunity to deepen auditory attunement; but city sounds can be overwhelming and cause us to dull our sensitivity.
“Surrounded by noises from televisions, airplanes, subways and automobiles, most of us ‘tune out’ for self-protection.”
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A 7-Week Program with New York Times bestselling author Michael Gelb – Live Training Starts Thursday, March 26, 2015
Course materials include audio recordings of each class; transcripts; live 30-minute interactive practice sessions; an exclusive Facebook online community; bonus interviews with other teachers, and more.
From the site:
“When you believe creativity is only for other people – artists, musicians or rebels – you hold yourself back from expressing YOUR creative genius, which is unique and can be beneficial to others.” …
“Creativity is also a vehicle for spiritual awakening because at the deepest level, you are an antenna for universal energy – the creative force of the cosmos – but right now there is probably too much interference in the way of you receiving the broadcast. What you need to do is turn down the static and open to this energy that is your divine birthright.” …
“Creativity is about far more than generating new ideas. It’s about opening to your full life energy, which then circulates the passion and gusto that give your life meaning and sparkle.” …
“Psychologists have known for many years that mindsets have a huge impact on your mood, your perceptual abilities and your general level of happiness. And mindset is probably the most important influence on your creative ability.”
Michael J. Gelb is “an author and public speaker specializing in creativity and innovation. He is the founder and president of The High Performance Learning Center, a firm specializing in consulting and training for organizations interested in developing more innovative cultures.” [Wikipedia]
Gelb is the author of 14 books on creativity and innovation… “In 1999, he won the Brain Trust Charity’s “Brain of the Year” award; other honorees include Prof. Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates, Garry Kasparov and Gene Rodenberry… He co-directs the Leading Innovation Seminar at the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business with Professor James Clawson. Gelb has also served as the Director of Creativity and Innovation Leadership for the Conscious Capitalism Institute.”
“Michael Gelb is an authentic source of practical wisdom for those who seek to develop their creative powers.” Murray Gell-Mann (Nobel Prize Physics)
[Bio and quote from michaelgelb.com.]
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Books and other titles:
DVD companion booklet [PDF] to the above book.
The Spirit of Leonardo [Audible Audio Edition].
Gelb writes about this title of his:
“Creative energy is our ultimate resource. Throughout history geniuses such as Leonardo da Vinci, Marie Curie, Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, etc. had an intuitive understanding of how to connect with this energy.
“The practices for accessing energy have been developed for thousands of years in yoga, martial arts, and Chinese medicine.”
At the beginning of the book, he quotes Judith Orloff, MD:
“Creativity is the mother of all energies… it is the nurturer of your most alive self. It charges up every part of you.
“When you’re plugged in, a spontaneous combustion occurs that ‘artists’ don’t have a monopoly on.”
Gelb writes about being more attuned to nature as a way to be more alive and creative:
“The practices that I will share all originated at a time when the rhythms of nature had much more influence on daily life than they do today.
“People rose at dawn and retired at sunset. They planted and harvested in harmony with the change of seasons and the movements of the moon and planets…”
~ ~ ~
Another source for Gelb’s teachings:
Online presentation in March, 2015 – free recording available.
“When your creative channel is open and flowing, you feel aligned with the sacred flow of life; challenges transform seemingly magically into opportunities as you realize more and more of your soul’s potential.
“And yet, so much of our culture conspires against creativity — asking you to behave in ways that squash your natural exuberance, subdue your natural energy and diminish your creative range… Fortunately, there’s an antidote.”