“Nothing limits achievement like small thinking; Nothing expands possibilities like unleashed thinking.” –William Arthur Ward
Italy’s Leonardo da Vinci was a veritable walking encyclopedia, and may very well be unsurpassed for his creativity and depth of focused thinking. He’s considered to be one of the greatest painters of all time; the Mona Lisa and the Last Supper were among his most notable works.
His inquisitive mind and creative thinking genius is attested to by his contributions to society as a sculptor, architect, musician, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer (one who produces maps), botanist, and writer. He produced his amazing body of works in all these fields during his 67 year lifespan.
I’m writing this because da Vinci’s life is a testament to the incredible power and value of focused creative thinking. It only takes a single well thought out idea to change how an entire generation lives and goes about their daily lives, and da Vinci had thousands.
“Good thinking can do many things for you: generate revenue, solve problems, and create opportunities.” – John C Maxwell
What do Apple, General Electric, and Walmart have in common?
These companies began doing business on the premise of a great creative idea. Some people were engaged in some serious creative think time, and hit the ground running, even before they had a business plan! For these companies, it was the power of focused creative thinking that generated revenue, solved problems, and created opportunities for millions.
They proved that creative and innovative ideas can set leaders apart from their very good (would be) competitors. Some of the biggest companies around began with a great idea, and an entrepreneurial spirit, in spite of the fact that the odds for success were overwhelmingly against them.
Productive creative thinking embraces all possibilities regardless of the obstacles and competition it will face. Seasoned creative thinkers welcome the challenges and thrive on finding solutions. How many hours of problem solving do you think da Vinci engaged in over his lifetime? And he was working on hundreds of ideas!
Learn to Think Outside the Box
Alison Doyle writes; “Creative thinking means thinking about new things or thinking in new ways. It is “thinking outside the box.” Often, creativity in this sense involves what is called lateral thinking, or the ability to perceive patterns that are not obvious. The fictional detective Sherlock Holmes used lateral thinking in one famous story when he realized that a dog not barking was an important clue in a murder case.”1 Focused creative thinking involves an actively creative imagination to produce original ideas.
“For the Flower to blossom, you need the right soil as well as the right seed. The same is true to cultivate good thinking.” - William Bernbach
Focused creative thinking takes time and it will:
Channel your energy toward your objective
Bring clarity to your ideas
Allow your ideas time to develop naturally
Good ideas never emerge fully developed, so find a quiet place free of distractions. Take time to do some serious thinking and learn how to develop your thoughts. Share your thoughts with some valued trusted leaders who can offer you some guidance.
1 From “Creative Thinking Definition, Skills, and Examples” by Alison Doyle,
*** This article was authored by John Picarello, Chief Leadership Officer at Lions Pride Leadership Co.***