Lonardo Da Vinci's To-Do ListToday’s Word: ‘CURIOUS’ as in… The power of curiosity is rooted in the ability to ask questions.

Curiosity always leads to learning, knowing, wisdom, and enlightenment. The journals of Leonardo da Vinci are known to “sparkle with curiosity” and his To-Do Lists are no exception. On just one list for one particular day in 1490, Leonardo wants to learn “The measurement of Milan and its suburbs.” Not bad for a morning’s work. After lunch he’ll go on to “Draw Milan.” On other lists he’ll pick the brains of some people we’ve never heard of who know things we never knew we needed to know: “Ask Giannino the Bombardier about how the tower of Ferrara is walled … Ask Benedetto Portinari by what means they walk on ice in Flanders Italy.” But wait, there’s more: ‘Get the master of arithmetic to show you how to square a triangle, the master of hydraulics to tell you how to repair a lock, canal and mill … Get the measurement of the sun promised by Maestro Giovanni Francese.’ (The measurement of the sun? Really?!)

“Draw Milan.”

Day after day Leonardo creates lists of things he wants to learn about things we never think about: “Observe the goose’s foot: if it were always open or always closed the creature would not be able to make any kind of movement.” And then this: ‘Describe the tongue of the woodpecker.’ Who on earth puts that on their To Do List? Leonardo does. Why? Because he’s Leonardo and he’s curious.

In our western culture we are driven to know. Google reports that searches beginning with the words “Who, What, Where, When, Why and How” followed by the word “Is” numbers in the millions, if not more. Cultivating curiosity will, I am convinced, bring a deeper sense of thriving to our lives. So, what’s on your To-Do List today? Add this one: Notice how many questions you ask today. Is that number greater than or less than the number of demands or statements you make?

The key is to ask more questions. In the words of a famous person, “Stay curious my friends.”


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