Leonardo da Vinci

Becoming a Life Long Learner


da Vinci Principle #1: Curiosity

Last week I started the da Vincian Life Series. The first principle of the da Vinci Series is curiosity. Webster defines curiosity as “desire to know”. It was the desire to investigate and learn that drove da Vinci. When presented with ideas he evaluated them before making an opinion. This is why da Vinci was able to contribute to fields outside the one he was trained in.


Edward de Bono describes it best in his book “de Bono’s thinking Course.” Our minds are drawn to patterns. When presented with something new, after evaluation and investigation a pattern is formed. Once he pattern has been formed then the mind no longer has to analyze or sort information. All that is required is enough information to trigger patterns.Instant pattern recognition is the foundation of the book “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell.  However, the fewer patterns we have the more often we are going to use the wrong ones to assess an idea. The expansion of our pattern base is what we are doing when we commit to a life of learning.


There are several ways that I have integrated learning into my life:


I read to learn as well as for entertainment. I always have a book on me I’m studying. My freshman year of college, I learned to read books 5 minutes at a time. While standing in the hall waiting for my next class, most of the time I had an Isaac Asimov book in hand reading a few pages. By that time I entered grad school the book I whipped out in the hall was a textbook or journal article.  There are plenty of times we still wait today.  If I’m alone, I read.

Watching TV

We now have whole channels are dedicated to learning.  We have The Science Channel, The Discovery Channel, History Channel, History International Channel, National Geographic Channel  and HGTV – I plan on buying a home soon!  Even if you don’t have the full blown cable package. There are always educational programs to watch on any channel. TV doesn’t have to be just entertainment anymore. It’s an opportunity to learn something new.

Take a class.

I enjoy taking continuous learning courses at the local community college. The last one I took was a calligraphy course.  I’ll never look at fonts the same way again.

Of course, I am active in organizations to help improve my skills as a project manager, writer and blogger.

Committing to a life of learning will:
  • Make you adaptable. Have the ability and reputation as a quick learner will enable you to survive and thrive in all circumstances.
  • Provide you with greater career opportunities, by keeping you current in your field and other interests.
  • Keeps you youthful. When people stop learning they become stuck, grouchy and start acting old.  This is my opinion.
  • Improve your conversational skills. You have a lot to talk about when you have a constant inflow of information. Your outflow will also increase.
  • Ensures you lead life of humility.  To be teachable you must be humble.
Making a commitment to learn doesn’t take hours out your day.  You can begin with just 15 minutes a day; it’s worth getting up early and having those few moments of solitude if that’s the only time that works for you and your family.

What are the ways you integrate learning into your life?