What does it Mean to Think Like Leonardo de Vinci?
He combined art and science in everything he did. His sculpture and paintings incorporated science and his knowledge of the human body, muscles, and structure.
And his exploration of scientific topics was documented with beautiful, artistic drawings.
You can combine art and science in your own thinking. You can also combine your analytical left-brain thinking and creative right-brain thinking by taking notes using a mind map.
Business expressions are often borrowed (or maybe stolen) from sports.
In baseball, the curve ball is one of the hardest pitches to hit and hit accurately. The pitch itself is thrown with a hard spin of the ball, causing the ball to drop or veer suddenly when it approaches home plate, while also maintaining a high speed (unlike the standard changeup). Its purpose is to “throw” the batter off or come as a surprise when not expected, causing them to swing and miss. Some of the best and hardest hitters in the game can train their whole life to be a great ball player, but the curve ball can slow them down very quickly when not prepared [just ask Pedro Serrano in the movie, “Major League”].
In business [and life], we use the expression to mean something unexpected, difficult to deal with, an obstacle, or a problem, especially a problem not foreseen. We can be really good at what we have in front of us, our daily routines, our normal tasks [the fastballs in life]. But those curve balls are what can really change our perspective and force us to take a step back, re-analyze, re-evaluate. That curve ball can be any size [or speed], from a slight change in a project, a cancellation of an event, or a big as a job loss, or a pandemic that changes the entire focus of a business.
We can also learn from the legal field and negotiation methods, just like those successful baseball players who practice hitting any and every form of a curve ball that is possible. A lawyer getting ready for a trial prepares for any and every question the opposition may ask. In negotiations, one brainstorms (see brainstorming techniques in several of my blogs on the subject) a list of every adverse possibility to be ready.
Now, in baseball and in business, a curve ball is expected and is more commonly thrown. It’s also evolved, with multiple versions, speeds, and occurrences. It’s extremely important to study each player, person, and scenario to know who can throw that curve ball, and when. Today, the best hitters in baseball, and the best business professionals, have made their way to the top by not only being able to predict when a curve ball will be thrown, but also being prepared and ready to “hit it out of the park” and continue to be successful.
Just as the term comes from baseball, we can learn from the sport on how to be more prepared for a situation coming ‘out of left field’; again, a baseball term. If we can be more prepared and ready for when a curve ball is thrown our way, we will be more successful as a person, a professional, and a business.
This blogpost was jointly written by
Baseball and sports marketing expert Riley Wancket
Author, Speaker, Business Brain Booster,
Hazel Wagner, PhD, MBA, BBB
The late Tony Buzan called mind maps the Swiss Army knife for your brain
Mind maps turn ideas and thinking into a colorful diagram. It is a way to transfer your thoughts to paper (or your screen) and then imprint it more visually and permanently to your memory.
You can use mind mapping for organizing, presenting, explaining, planning, learning, negotiating, taking notes, and making notes.
All you need is a piece of paper turned horizontally and some pens or pencils, preferably, but not required, in several colors. The different colors make the process more fun and the resulting drawing more memorable.
Data may prove your point and drive away your audience at the same time
When we are trying to make a point, attract followers and support for an idea, we don’t want to appear to be expressing only our unsubstantiated opinions.
What to do? Use diagrams, not graphs and charts, use diagrams, simple drawings that make your point quickly and easily.
Grab a piece of paper or paper napkin if you are sitting in a restaurant, explain with a quick drawing. This is how it looks, this is how to get there, here is how I think it will fit, this is one way we can accomplish the goal, here is a mind map of the options we have.
Mental shortcuts, we all make them throughout the day. In a sense, they are necessary coping mechanisms your brain has been developing your whole life. Because there is no way to pay equal attention to everything within eyesight, earshot, and close enough to touch, our brain has developed filters to let in what it believes you need to know and leave out a large majority of what is going on around you.
Consider for a moment how you function during your daily drive or ride, or even walk, to work.
Most of what you pass by is a blur. Most of what you pass you take little or no interest. So much so that when you arrive at your destination you will not remember seeing or hearing most of what was actually there.
Your cognitive bias made those decisions for you. The filters you have built up to protect yourself from over stimulation and clutter worked.
But, and that is a big but, did you miss something that in the past wasn’t important but now is? Did you assume you knew what happened but really didn’t?
We can’t function in a busy world without our filters and we can’t take for granted that we didn’t miss anything important.
So what can you do? Ask others what they saw and heard. Ask for other viewpoints, other experiences, to add to your own. Be open minded about what you might have missed or added into a scene because of your filters, your own cognitive biases. They, too, have biases. Together you may both get a more complete picture.
Ask open questions and listen openly to the answers.
Your best ideas will come to you unexpectedly. Keep an old fashioned pen and paper handy or type into a notes section on your smart phone.
Just make lists at first. Don’t discard anything because a seemingly ‘bad’ idea can be the trigger a whole raft of better ideas.
If your job is to get a whole team of people brainstorming, let everyone work on their own first. One way is to challenge everyone with a required number of ideas that is bigger than anyone thinks they can do. This forces writing down everything that comes to mind just to meet the requirement.
Then bring all the ideas together. List them all. Organize them into natural categories to discover what categories have the most promise.
Only then start to combine and build on the ideas offered.
Is this a compliment or an insult?
If you are truly one of the knowledgeable ones in a particular field, others may be looking up to you, expecting you to know more than they do. They may come to you with questions and take what you say as truth.
We can learn from what we know about Socrates (470 – 399 BC), after all these years, not to jump in with a solution, an answer. First ask many questions so that you both are thinking more deeply about the problem. In many cases the person with the problem will discover the answer.
One of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, “seek first to understand before seeking to be understood,” is a more current reminder to listen, ask questions, learn, before offering your thoughts, even if you are considered a thought leader.