How To Party
Like Leonardo Da Vinci
by: Maya Talisman Frost
After studying scores of great
thinkers like Leonardo Da Vinci, I think I've stumbled upon what really set
them apart from the rest of the folks living (and thinking) at the same time.
It's remarkably simple. They
learned how to entertain a thought.
Aristotle said, "It is the
mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting
Hmmm. To entertain a thought
without accepting it.
We need to do that. Everyone
needs to learn how to be a good host or hostess to new ideas. In fact, our goal
should be to become the Martha Stewart of mental entertaining!
What if you treated a new
thought like a guest?
It's easier to think about
mental entertaining if we put together a to-do list, just like Martha. Here it
#1 Make the first move.
First of all, you issue an
invitation. Nothing fancy. You don't have to make any major investment or
lifelong commitment. You're simply inviting this person in.
It's the same with initiating
the entertainment of an idea. You might see a quote on the side of a bus
somewhere, and decide you'd like to explore that concept more deeply. Or, maybe
you find yourself bumping into the same topic all the time, and so you make up
your mind to learn more about it. Either way, you need to be ready to initiate
the process. Don't hide--you won't meet new ideas if you scurry away whenever
the doorbell rings.
Uh-oh. Your house is a mess.
You'd better do some cleaning. You're not really trying to impress, but hey,
you could certainly do some sprucing up and get the place looking neat and
Prepare for a new thought in the
same way. Make some space in your mind to think about something new. According
to Deepak Chopra, the well-known author on health and longevity, the average
human has 60,000 thoughts a day. Pretty impressive? Well, here's the kicker:
57,000 of those are the same ones you had YESTERDAY! Now that's some serious
clutter! Get rid of a few of those dusty old thoughts and make room for new
#3 Offer a warm greeting.
When your new guest arrives, be
warm and inviting. After all, you're hoping to start a friendship. Put your
best foot forward.
It's the same with an idea. If
you confront it with skepticism, fear or detachment, you won't be entertaining
it for long. You'll be eyeing your watch, yawning, or looking for a way to end
the discussion early. You've got to be open and full of anticipation to prepare
an environment in which new ideas will be explored and integrated fully. Just
as it's no fair making lame excuses or having your friend call to interrupt the
visit, it's also cheating to cut out too soon when it comes to entertaining an
#4 Make introductions.
This is the big one. You would
certainly introduce your guest to everyone at the party, with a special effort
to connect them to those with whom they may have something in common.
Any new idea you consider will
be more likely to be welcomed if you actively and intentionally introduce it to
your other ideas and interests. Look for unusual and inspired pairings. How
does it fit? Where does it fit? DOES it fit? You won't know until you try.
Picture Leonardo Da Vinci's
mental entertaining. His new idea, Human Flight, arrives, and immediately Leo
sets about introducing him to others. "Human, meet my good friend,
Engineering, and his lovely wife, Fabric Design. Oh, and have you met Bird
Anatomy? She lives just around the corner from you. Oh, Dr. Entomology has
arrived! Listen, Dr. E is absolutely brilliant, but a bit hard of hearing. Ask
her about her recent work on the wings of insects! Now, you all make yourselves
comfy and I'll go get some more wine."
What happened at that party?
Leonardo threw these ideas together, and BAM! What emerged was the idea for a
perfectly designed parachute as well as a remarkable helicopter--hundreds of
years before the Wright brothers started building their flying machines! Talk
about a soaring success! Don't you wish you'd been there?
#5 Offer the best seat in the
You usually sit in that nice
chair there by the fireplace, but when a special guest comes over, you
graciously offer it.
When you are entertaining a new
thought, give it the consideration it deserves. Every time you think a new
thought, your brain is actually creating a new neural pathway. It's like a
jungle in there, full of nerve endings and ganglia and all kinds of
connections. Help it along. Make it comfortable.
Once you've considered an idea,
that pathway is there. All you have to do to keep it "live" is to
keep going down that path often enough to clear the trail, but not so often
that it becomes a rut.
#6 Listen, inquire, and show
Ask questions. Dig a little
deeper. Find the connections to other people, places, and activities. Learn as
much as you can about your new idea.
#7 Relinquish control.
Just like when you introduce
guests to each other, you should not try to control the outcome. Some guests
might hate each other on sight, while others click instantly. People might
argue, or a married guest might sneak off to a back room with someone other
than their partner. Anything can happen!
That's not up to you. You're
having this party to offer an opportunity for people to connect. Make
introductions, insert a few comments, smile and acknowledge everyone, but for
the most part, just let things happen. Don't direct the flow of ideas.
#8 Leave room for future
Even if you decide this new
acquaintance of yours is insufferable, you don't want to burn any bridges. Be
gracious, and be glad you were excellent enough to offer the invitation.
You're not going to like every
idea that comes your way. And you might not find any other interest or idea
that connects with it initially. That's fine. You need to develop the ability
to recognize useful concepts and distinguish valuable and valid ideas from
those lacking a strong foundation. That's what critical thinking is all about.
But you also need to file that
idea away so that you can look it up if and when you DO meet a likely candidate
for another gathering of thoughts.
There is a great deal of room
for different styles of mental entertaining. Maybe you're best at dealing with
only two ideas at a time, or maybe you want to throw a huge bash and welcome
Entertain in whatever style suits
you. Tete-a-tete or bacchanal--it doesn't matter, as long as it's happening.
Learn how to entertain a
thought. With a little effort, you'll become a perfect host or hostess to new
ideas that come your way. And guess what? You'll have no hangover, no cleaning
up, and no regrets.
About The Author
Maya Talisman Frost is a mind
masseuse. Her course, Massage Your Mind!: Defining Your Life Philosophy, has
inspired thinkers in over 70 countries around the world. Maya publishes the
Friday Mind Massage, a free weekly ezine serving up a satisfying blend of
clarity, comfort and comic relief. To learn more, visit http://www.massageyourmind.com or http://www.mindmasseuse.com today!
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