“I know that I know nothing” is a famous quote by Socrates. Leonardo was of a similar viewpoint throughout his life. What does this actually mean? The more we know, the more we understand that we don’t know. Let that sink in for a minute.
This is a tremendously humbling feeling which I get quite often. I am in no way comparing myself to Socrates or da Vinci, but this journey to constantly learn more often gives me perspective. It also motivates me to learn even more which becomes an extremely frustrating catch 22… regardless I still love it.
Speaking of Leo (we’re on a first name basis), I am currently finishing up his Biography by Walter Isaacson. It’s phenomenal! In fact anything by Walter (with whom I am also on a first name basis with 😉) is amazing. His Steve Jobs Biography is a must have, and I will hopefully be able to give a feedback on his Biographies of Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein within the coming months- they’ll have to get in line.
Back to da Vinci. Known as a genius, painter, engineer, architect and the ultimate renaissance man, etc. etc., he was also king of the Startups! Hear me out on this one: he was not known for always finishing his works and mostly started projects which only interested him. Those left unfinished were often because he saw massive headwinds in the future (political, technical, funding etc.) so he simply dropped his brush and moved on. Headwinds so large that moving forward made no sense. Which equates to either failing fast or pivoting hard. Either way, he did a damn good job at it.
What can we as entrepreneurs take from this? (now you see where I am going) Do as Leo did – fail fast and pivot hard! This does not mean you can constantly change or give up when it gets tough. It will always be tough. Leo would sometimes spend years on a project before abandoning it for another. You have to invest that time and sweat. But at some point you realize it’s going no where.
So drop the brush, have a drink, and start working on the next unicorn.