for Christmas I got the book How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci,
by Michael J. Gelb. After reading the chapter chronicling da Vinci's
life, I found that what impressed me the most were the number of projects
that da Vinci left undone.
all, his journal entries outline plans for a bronze statue of the perfect
horse-- a statue which was never completed. He also did a series of sketches
for a commissioned painting that was never realized. In addition, because
da Vinci couldn't bring himself to paint the face of Jesus Christ, he
was never able to finish painting The Last Supper. Amazingly, of the seventeen
paintings of da Vinci's still in existence, a number of them are incomplete.
all this fragmented work, Leonardo da Vinci is still considered to be a man
of genius, typifying what we call the "Renaissance Man;" a person
whose incredible imagination and creativity spanned a broad range of disciplines
in areas such as engineering, architecture, art, and science, to name just
As it turns
out, I have a lot in common with Mr. da Vinci, and you probably do too. Consider
the broad range of disciplines in areas such as child rearing, culinary arts,
domestic engineering, personal management, and psychology (to name just a
few) many of us are expected be proficient in. And who among us wouldn't
welcome the opportunity to be paid for simply sitting in the garden and discussing
philosophy and art the way da Vinci did in the later years of his life.
know about you, but I find it reassuring to think that da Vinci left unfinished
projects scattered across France and Italy. No one considers these works
to be "failures." And they certainly never stopped da Vinci in
his quest to find truth and beauty in the world around him.
your inner critic berates you because you've started Project B before
finishing Project A, or when you feel guilty for buying art supplies for
both scrap booking and jewelry making, or when you're torn between gluing
down just one more image or unloading the dishwasher, remember Leonardo da
Vinci. Look in the mirror, honor all your efforts to find truth and beauty
in the world, and reward yourself with your own Mona Lisa smile.