An Endless Curiosity Adventure and why it is the Secret to Success
It was an early brisk morning. My tired tourist family was still asleep. It was my turn to venture out to our favorite bakery in Florence
The sun was still hiding behind the Tuscan hills. The sky was a mixture of darkness, red, yellow streaks of light, forecasting another great Italian holiday ahead.
I was the first to arrive at our special bakery and found the door still locked. The culinarians inside were busily filling the bakers’ racks with the sweet treats. An amazing delicious sugared aroma permeated the air outside the store.
Impatiently I paced outside. One minute, three minutes, past opening time. When are you going to open this door? The family has a busy day ahead.
Cultivate Your Passions
First in the door, purchased those delicious morning treats and scurried back towards the hotel. An Italian café en route was too tempting and an espresso was now calling. The elegant dark wooden coffee bar was a testament to the 100+ years old sign that I observed at the entrance.
I asked the barista for my double espresso to go. Could see it in his Italian eyes and heard it in his low rambling voice, there goes another hurried tourist not taking the time to enjoy life.
The bakery and café were located near the main Florence train station. This particular morning decided to take the tourist track back to the hotel, past the Duomo, reaching the Palazzo Vecchio in front of the Piazza Della Signoria.
Florence: Piazza della Signoria and the Loggia dei Ranzi
The sun was higher in the sky, but it was still early. Checked my watch; just enough time to amble in this charming piazza to enjoy my still warm strong coffee and one of those delectable pastries. After all, the family would benefit for the additional rest.
The piazza was fairly empty with just a few locals scurrying to get to work. Probably not following local police tourist protocol, I sat on the wall in the Loggia dei Lanzi. Built between 1376 and 1782, the covered three arches are open to the old square.
Across from where I was sitting, a stone cold replica of the statue of David was waiting for the tourists to arrive. Specs of morning sunlight trickled through the piazza, some touching all the artwork around me. Amazing the amount of detail in that hand, that foot, the medusa defeated monster staring at me.
Cherish Those Mindfulness Moments
Maybe it was all the colorful sky, maybe it was the detail in those polished marble statues in front of me, but this morning felt different. I looked up to the heavens and like a bolt of lightning new thoughts started swirling through my mind.
Reflectively, the 20th Century melted into the 16th Century. Did I just walk the same streets, admired the same artwork, maybe even sat in the same place as personal heroes and masters of my heritage Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo and Michelangelo?
In Florence, probably not far from this same square, da Vinci painted the “Mona Lisa”, Michelangelo sculpted “David”, and Galileo studied at the local “Academy of the Arts of Drawing”. This special piazza carries the spirit of the two greatest quintessential Renaissance Men - Leonardo da Vinci & Michelangelo – and the “Father of Science” Galileo.
How often did they travel through this old square? What were they thinking – the next invention, painting, or what science discoveries were in the heavens above? Did they contemplate their future, their careers, their families, or their legacies? As they aged, how did the perspective change?
We Are All Interconnected
That unusual morning, I quickly realized that I was having a silent conversation with history. Staring at the Piazza’s cobble stones started thinking what I would ask each of these individuals, if they were sitting next to me.
That catharsis internal conversation several years ago brought forward the endless curiosity journey that I am still traveling today. The inexhaustible thirst for knowledge was the success formula followed tenaciously by my historical brethren.
In that extraordinary reflective moment, my life changed forever. Doubts about the future faded as I knew that an amazing life was ahead. The smiles and love of my family brought tears to my eyes.
This memory was re-awaked in early January this year during a management team meeting when I was asked to pick a picture that reflected my life. Florence and specifically that square is now my favorite place on earth.
Think Like a Genius
Post the January awakening, I re-read an article that I had saved on the “Seven Steps to Think like Leonardo Da Vinci: The Guide to Everyday Genius.”
Curiosity – “An insatiably curious approach to life and an unrelenting quest for continuous learning.”
Independent Thinking – “A commitment to test knowledge through experience, persistence and a willingness to learn from mistakes.”
Refining your Senses – “The continual refinement of the senses, especially sight, as the means to clarify experiences.”
Embrace Uncertainty – “A willingness to embrace ambiguity, paradox, and uncertainty.”
Art & Science, Whole-Brain Thinking – “The development of the balance between science and art, logic and imagination.”
Mind-Body Care – “The cultivation of grace, ambidexterity, fitness, and poise.”
Interconnectedness – “A recognition and appreciation for the connectedness of all things and phenomena. Systems thinking.”
Wish You an Insatiable Thirst for Knowledge
As the biographies of Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Galileo clearly illustrate, there is no perfect life. As humans we all make mistakes and fail at times. How we react and where we go next is totally up to each of us. What we think about, we will become.
You are not alone. Focus on the possible, ignore the impossible, for the glass is always half full. Be endlessly curious. Find your special place and have that quiet conversation with history to build an amazing fulfilling successful life.