Using Your Senses to Open the Doors of Experience and Learning

Leonardo da Vinci was the probably greatest genius in history. In his life he was recognized as an artist, sculptor, musician, scientist, writer, architect, inventor, and military engineer. If you wanted to learn how to be a creative design thinker, then studying the life of da Vinci would certainly be a great start.

If you begin to think like da Vinci, you would soon realize that the five senses – sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell – are the keys to opening the doors of experience and learning. Of these, he viewed sight as the most important. Da Vinci was most dramatic in describing the power of vision:

He who loses his sight loses his view of the universe, and is like one interred alive who can still move about and breathe in his grave. Do you not see that the eye encompasses the beauty of the whole world: It is the master of astronomy, it assists and directs all the arts of man. It sends men forth to all the corners of the earth. It reigns over the various departments of mathematics, and all its sciences are the most infallible. It has measured the distance and size of the stars; has discovered the elements. It has created architecture and perspective, and the divine art of painting.

Visualization is a marvelous tool to sharpen all your senses, improve your memory, and prepare for accomplishing your goals in life. The ability to visualize a desired outcome is built into your brain, and your brain is designed to help you succeed in matching that picture with your performance.

Want to learn more about visualization, and even develop exercises that will improve your visualization skills? Check out How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci by Michael J. Gelb. Drawing on da Vinci’s notebooks, inventions, and legendary works of art, Gelb introduces Seven Da Vincian Principles – the essential elements of genius.

With da Vinci as your inspiration, you can learn the art of visualization and how it can help your problem solving and design thinking in your Guest Experiences.


Conduct a sense audit – what should your Guest Experience: smell like – sound like – feel like – look like – taste like – if you wanted to excite Guests’ memory with a WOW! experience? Check out the Be the Guest worksheet developed by Mark Waltz of Granger Community Church for a fun exercise while out and about. Now, come back to your church and do it again – and compare!


inspired by and adapted from How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci by Michael J. Gelb

How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *