You ever just realize something so big, that you just have to sit and write it all down at once? Just to get it on a page where you can then try to process it again? I'm having one of those... Will try to summarize it all for you later.

ok, I can process it now.... I've been reading all these overviews of productivity books analyzing artists and inventors etc. and they all focus on the productivity tools. They all focus on the 10,000+ hrs to mastery. They all think that people can only master 1-3 things in their lifetimes and nothing more. That the genius or 'renaissance man' was essentially something of the past.And it got me thinking...

That just can't be true! So I looked over them again and they kept bringing up Leonardo da Vinci and this one guy who just mastered nearly everything and they couldn't figure out how he did it. So they focused on his journals (his productivity system). But then it hit me... All these people have been told in their lifetime that they can get more done if only they put more work into what they are doing and if they are organized enough...


Then I remembered that whole analogy or whatever of the 3 legged stool standing for a well rounded person etc. I see where they got their assumptions. But... When I looked at da Vinci's work, that's not what I saw. I saw something like the picture I'm gonna attach here.

That's not a stool. Leonardo da Vinci had interests that spanned sports, engineering, anatomy and art. Just to go into specifics... What does that all have in common?


Body Mechanics>Sports>Anatomy>Engineering>Drafting>Art

They're interconnected only in the fact that they revolved around one another with a core interest. The productivity sytem, the skills? That's just the bolts holding it all together.

If that's true, da Vinci didn't have to spend 10,000+ hours to master each thing. He spent all of his time mastering one. The rest came from it or were tools learned to become more efficient.

So, really. Almost all that productivity stuff is bullshit. As long as you know what tools for learning work for you and you know what your core interest is. You could be a da Vinci too.

That's it. That's was my huge realization of 2022. I probably won't get another one but I'm glad I figured this one out.

It was never about a field, a job, etc. it's about that one little core thing that keeps dictating all your interests. It might be so small you don't even realize it... But it's there and that is essentially what you have to focus on to be really amazing at something.

It makes me wonder... What other people we label genius could really have been good at. Would Beethoven have been good at math or chess in addition to music? Would it have helped him create more interesting pieces? Or is there a division between those who interlink interests through mastery of a core concept and those who dedicate themselves to a single field?

@RadioAngel Bob Ross said "talent is a pursued interest." I believe that

@RadioAngel I see a lot of it as being about the realization that expertise is just a do-the-thing away. Too many times in the last year I've found out about people who trained to olympic level fitness, on the side, within a span of a few years. Or performed similar feats of skill attainment, again, just by utterly doing it. The idea that we get one in a life... how could that be? how? Lives are so long. Even before the composition effect, and how glorious it is, but even if it took the full learning for each, a life is so long. Yet as you point out, they compound and build upon each other and are all one thing, so the possibility is even greater.

@RadioAngel I think this is right. The key thing is to learn how to learn (which everyone does differently). Anything can follow from that

@RadioAngel There'a whole lot of truth to this. If you can find a core principle or system that relates to numerous other areas, then it is the structure which supports knowledge or expertise in many areas.

I think of it as a framework or tree from which you can hang any number of elements. So long as the framework itself is there, what you hang off of it (so long as they fit on the framework) really doesn't matter. So if for Da Vinci as you say the core was mechanics, then the rest just follows from that.

@RadioAngel A tree (or river network, or any other sort of vascular / dendritic system) also conveys the sense of more central and foundational concepts, and more developed and specialised ones.

There are some very good reasons to think that ideas and concepts actually strongly resemble biological evolution (another tree) in mechanism and results, and hence, would give rise to similar structures.

A distinction is that in thought and ideas, there can be multiple intersecting trees which grow both together and apart. Such that a specific concept or idea my be traced from multiple origins. (See James Burkes's Connections and Web of Knowledge concepts for this, especially.)

@RadioAngel A bit of a coda to this.

I was talking with a friend about the notion that "everything is connected to everything else".

I'd remembered that from Barry Commoner. My friend had attributed it to John Muir. Looking it up, both did use the concept, though were preceded by Leonardi da Vinci:

To develop a complete mind: Sutyd the art of science; study the science o fart. Learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.

Which I think ties back to your initial observation.

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