3 Habits that made Leonardo da Vinci, the greatest genius of all time

Genius is made, not born.

Leonardo Da Vinci wasn’t just an amazing artist known for his stellar creations such as the Mona Lisa and the Last Supper, but he was also an incredible inventor, musician, top-end athlete and a scientist. An amazing, all-rounded guy.


leonardo da vinci profile

Michael Gelb, the author of "How To Think Like Leonardo Da Vinci" tells us that, "the genius of Leonardo resides not just in what he created by in what he can inspire us to create. Beyond all his stellar achievements, Leonardo da Vinci serves as a global archetype of human potential, giving us intimations of what we ourselves may be capable of doing." 

Sure, Leonardo's works are indeed fascinating and sometimes even mind-numbing. But something that we should be more excited about is not his creations he left behind, but the fact that we can also be like Leonardo himself. We all have endless capabilities and are gifted with unlimited potential for learning and creativity.  But the biggest obstacle that stops us from liberating our unique intelligence and creativity is that, we simply don't know how to uncover our hidden talents. Below are the top three habits of Leonardo himself that made him the greatest genius of all time. 

Your brain is hard-wired for genius
— Tony Buzan


1. Write a journal

“Leonardo da Vinci carried a notebook with him at all times so that he could jot down ideas, impressions, and observations as they occurred. His notebooks contained jokes and fables, the observations and thoughts of scholars he admired, personal financial records, letters, reflections on domestic problems, philosophical musings and prophecies, plans for inventions, and treatises on anatomy, botany, geology, flight, water, and painting.”

Writing a journal is an healthy habit -- both physically and mentally, that all of us should develop. Scientific evidence supports that journaling provides us with benefits beyond our expectations. Other than helping us to clarify our thoughts, feelings and declutter our lives, it is also known to reduce stress, boost immunity and help to solve problems more effectively. 

Writing a journal is a morning ritual of mine, and you should try writing a journal too. It's a beast that helps you become better in so many ways. (The indescribable feelings you experience when you read your journal in 10 years time is a bonus!) 



2. Recite self-Affirmations

“Although he experienced self-doubt and questioned the value of his efforts, he never gave up. Leonardo’s courage and persistence in the face of adversity are tremendously inspiring. He strengthened his will to continue his work through affirmations that he wrote in his notebook, such as:

‘I do not depart from my furrow.’

‘Obstacles do not bend me.’

‘Every obstacle is destroyed through rigor.’

‘I shall continue.’

‘I never tire of being useful.’”

Self-affirmations are a powerful tool that keeps you focused on your goals in life. Just like Leonardo himself, many leaders and entrepreneurs today are religiously following his habits of self-affirming. Self-affirmations come in many different techniques but they all serve a single purpose; to send positive energy out to the world, stay focused and achieve set goals. 

I don’t necessarily believe that someone can achieve their goals by simply reciting affirmations, there is a difference between a day-dreamer and a visionary. But every morning as I recite my affirmations, I am able to gain clarity and focus on my values and goals in life. Like mission statements, affirmations are very personal things and there aren’t necessarily right or wrong ways to do them. 

Don't be a day-dreamer like the rest of them, be a visionary. Recite to yourself your goals and purpose in life and be persistent. The question isn't "Can You?" It's "Will You?" 



3. Athleticism

Leonardo was also an incredible athlete. It’s almost hard to believe a man excelling in so many ways. (But remember, this is how we are ALL created to be, not just Leonardo. Why settle and be good at one thing, when we can be great in EVERYTHING?)

Leonardo knew that a healthy body equates to a healthy mind and exercising was a strict routine in his life. In fact, being physically healthy is scientifically proven to give you improved mental capacity:

Aerobic (‘with oxygen’) exercise strengthens your cardiovascular system, improving blood and therefore oxygen flow to your body and brain. Your brain is, on average, less than 3 percent of your body weight, yet it uses more than 30 percent of your body’s oxygen. As you become aerobically fit, you double your capacity to process oxygen
— Michael Gelb

Furthermore, being fit is not just a matter of one's health and longevity; it's about discipline.

The first law to financial freedom is to always pay yourself first. It's the same principle. To own an extraordinary body and mind, you must learn to care about yourself first. If you cannot change yourself, how will you ever change the world? 


everything is a choice

Thomas Edison once said, "If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would really astound ourselves." 

We are all hard-wired for success and our potential is limitless and yet, only a small percentage of us succeed. 

Tomorrow is another chance where you are given a choice to live your best life, no matter the circumstances. The only question is will you?