The fact that Leonardo was not only a genius but also very human — quirky and obsessive and playful and easily distracted — makes him more accessible. He was not graced with the type of brilliance that is completely unfathomable to us. Instead, he was self-taught and willed his way to his genius. So even though we may never be able to match his talents, we can learn from him and try to be more like him. His life offers a wealth of lessons.
This is actually the second to last part of the Isaacson biography and well worth a read on it’s own. The whole book is fantastic, but this section might inspire you and help you to be a bit more curious.
Finished reading: Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson 📚
“Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.”Arthur Schopenhauer via Leonardo Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson
A lot of my internet friends seem to really be struggling at the moment and the issues and the root causes seem similar. - they feel overwhelmed - they feel like they aren’t doing enough - they feel lost and direction less - they feel guilty for not doing more - they feel everyone else is doing much better than they are - they feel they need to be consistent in their output (or they will fail) - they feel they are imposters and shouldn’t be doing what they are - they feel everyone is negative these days - they feel they are hearing the same things again and again - they feel hurt by critiques they have received (recently or in the past)
I wish there was an easy answer but I can tell you that you’re not alone, others feel these things too and it does get better.
(and I’d like to suggest that productivity books/podcasts often make those feelings worse.)
As I concluded the Isaacson biography of Da Vinci he referred to the Mona Lisa as “Da Vinci’s pièce de résistance”. A term many are familiar with, but one I had never considered. The words are literally a piece of resistance.
This term – synonymous with the greatest work created by a group or the highlight of someone’s work – highlights the struggle that is present in creating.
Great work requires struggle and perseverance.
This sees very present in Da Vinci’s work. He left so much unfinished, yet Mona Lisa is one of his few finished products.
If Da Vinci hadn’t persevered, he wouldn’t have created his pièce de résistance.
P.s. If a french speaker would like to correct my translation, I appreciate that but I think the point is still valid.
Disagreeing is fine, just remember to be kind. (this is a reminder to myself)
It bears repeating: Miserable human beings who you wouldn’t want to spend a second with in real life are capable of making something great that is beautiful or useful to you. That is, in fact, the whole point of art. (It’s currently an unfashionable belief, but it’s true.)
Whatever you love about a writer or an artist’s work, that really is the best of what they have to offer you. You don’t want the whole human, trust me. You really want that thing they offered up to you: The art.Austin Kleon - Assume Away
Oh dear, this could be a rabbit hole! Seems like the majority are writers. I find it curious how often productivity stuff focuses on writers. Maybe we just notice writers more 🤔