Leonardo Da Vinci had many accomplishments, architect, anatomist, botanist, cartographer, engineer, geologist, inventor, mathematician, musician, painter, scientist, sculptor and writer. His work and inventions touched many areas, such as civil engineering, chemistry, geology, geometry, hydrodynamics, mathematics, mechanical engineering, optics, pyrotechnics and zoology. The inventions that he is credited for are numerous, most notable an early form of the helicopter, a parachute, underwater diving equipment and the armoured car. His notetaking was prolific, and his notebooks were exquisite and beautiful examples of a truly genius mind poured all over the pages of a book. Without a doubt, he is the epitome of a polymath and widely known as a Renaissance Man. It could confidently be said, the greatest mind the world has ever seen.
Da Vinci attributed his astounding creative input to seven principles that he lived his life by. One of those principles was Curiosita, to be insatiably curious and forever asking questions. By constantly challenging the world through questions the mind expands inwardly searching for answers. The mental process stimulates the mind and nascent ideas are teased and nurtured into life.
Children are incessantly chattering question machines. With no fear of asking the obvious, the urgent information sponge minds soak up every scrap of input they can inhale. As we grow older, we ‘learn’ to keep quiet to avoid being different, awkward or ignorant and that special ability to question the world gets smothered in a grey blanket of stifling conformity. And with it, creativity is shrouded and obscured.
“He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever.” Chinese proverb
A creative urge and passion may be smothered, but it can never be extinguished. It will begin its beat in your heart like a drum until one day, like me, you shout out loud ‘enough’. From the depths of your soul, with absolute conviction and meaning. Enough. Something must change. No more.
What you focus on you become. If you have sunk into a bleak space where passion for work and ideas have been sucked out of your soul, and you feel frustrated and stuck; then you are surely focusing on the grey of your life, not the gold. And, what you focus on you attract more of. More grey; more stuck.
Questions have the power to change anything and everything.
“Successful people ask better questions and as a result, they get better answers. Quality questions create a quality life.” Tony Robbins
Imagine that your business is losing a big client, the one big enough to have seismic consequences. It’s serious. Scary. You feel the suffocating coldness of fear as you lie awake at 3 am in the dark feeling completely alone. This time it might just all fall apart.
Why does this keep happening?
The very nature of the brain is that it is inherently programmed to find answers to any question you should ask. The subconscious will be whirring away in the dark long after you have forgotten what, or can even relate to, the question that you asked. And then, as if by magic, your ever helpful intelligence will offer forth an answer and whisper quietly in your ear. Because you’re not good enough. Because you didn’t do a good enough job. Because you’re never going to be the creative genius that you seem to insist on thinking you are. Give up. It’s hopeless.
It’s time to take back control of your malignant mind and start impressing some discipline. Start asking better questions:
- How can I see this as an opportunity?
- What clients would I love to have?
- What can I learn from this so I can rediscover my passion for the work that feeds my soul?
Once-upon-a-time, not so long ago, upon waking I would literally clench with anxiety at the thought of facing my day of constant pressure and perceived stress. Now, every morning I start the day with a series of questions:
- What can I achieve today?
- What can I learn today?
- What can I choose that will help me grow and push my potential?
Mentally I now look for answers instead of seeing problems and my life has genuinely changed. I can approach a creative problem and allow myself to wrangle through the discomfort knowing that I will get to the other side. My passion has dusted itself down, shook my hand in thanks and taken back control.
What you focus on, you really do become. It’s much better this way.
“Asking the right questions takes as much skill as giving the right answers.” Robert Half