One of my fellow members in the Difference Makers Community Roshanna Evans shared a post from the Business Insider blog on 15 quotes from Leonardo da Vinci (who’s birthday was apparently on the 15th of April).

As I read through the quotes, I wondered whether living in the ‘twitter world of shorten everything’ and the ‘tuned out’ world of an ear plugged-in life might cause many people to pass over this wonderful ‘old wisdom’ as not being relevant because you actually need to think about what it is really saying to have any impact or relevance.

So here’s my attempt to twitterise  (with all respect to da Vinci) the quotes:

1.      Progress: “Poor is the pupil that does not surpass his master.”

Be better than your boss.

2.      Mental waste: “Iron rusts from disuse; stagnant water loses its purity and in cold weather becomes frozen; even so does inaction sap the vigor of the mind.”

Use it or lose it.

3. Perception: “All objects transmit their image to the eye in pyramids, and the nearer to the eye these pyramids are intersected the smaller will the image appear of the objects which cause them.”

It’s not always as it seems

4. Patrons: “The Medici created and destroyed me.”

Be your own person

5. Modern art? “Many are they who have a taste and love for drawing, but no talent; and this will be discernible in boys who are not diligent and never finish their drawings with shading.”

Finish the job

6. Hierarchy of sensation: “The eye, which is called the window of the soul, is the principal means by which the central sense can most completely and abundantly appreciate the infinite works of nature; and the ear is the second, which acquires dignity by hearing of the things the eye has seen.”

Turn off your iTunes

7. Truth endures: “Truth at last cannot be hidden. Dissimulation is of no avail. Dissimulation is to no purpose before so great a judge. Falsehood puts on a mask. Nothing is hidden under the sun.”

Over time, people get your truth

8. The sanctity of life: “O Man, who will discern in this work of mine the wonderful works of Nature, if you think it would be a criminal thing to destroy it, reflect how much more criminal it is to take the life of a man; and if this, his external form, appears to thee marvellously constructed, remember that it is nothing as compared with the soul that dwells in that structure; for that indeed, be it what it may, is a thing divine. Leave it then to dwell in His work at His good will and pleasure, and let not your rage or malice destroy a life – for indeed, he who does not value it, does not himself deserve it.”

Respect life

9. Be reasonable: “The senses are of the earth; Reason, stands apart in contemplation.”

Think things through

10. The scientific method: “Science is the captain, and practice the soldiers.”

Test things out

11. The fallacy of opinion: “The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions.”

You’re not always right

12. Keep your eyes on the road: “He who walks straight rarely falls.”


13. Humility: “We see the most striking example of humility in the lamb which will submit to any animal; and when they are given for food to imprisoned lions they are as gentle to them as to their own mother, so that very often it has been seen that the lions forbear to kill them.”

Respect others

14. The artist’s dilemma: “It vexes me greatly that having to earn my living has forced me to interrupt the work and to attend to small matters.”

Pursue your passion

15. Put it in perspective: “Perspective is to Painting what the bridle is to a horse, and the rudder to a ship.”

Be guided by your values

Please understand this is not to ‘dumb down’ da Vinci’s wisdom, it’s just to provide a different perspective and of course, I realise that my interpretations may not be yours.

I do personally find these types of quotes on a page of such value, in that they provide a quick checklist to ask yourself… “OK, so you know it, but are you living it?”