"Genius is in-born, may it never be still-born."

"Oysters, irritated by grains of sand, give birth to pearls. Brains, irritated by curiosity, give birth to ideas."

"Brainpower is the bridge to the future; it is what transports you from wishful thinking to willful doing."

"Unless you keep learning & growing, the status quo has no status."

Thursday, March 12, 2009


[continue from the Last Post.]

In his wonderful book, entitled 'Building Brainpower: Turning Grey Matter into Gold', Dilip Mukerjea has dedicated 28 pages of elaboration, plus 5 hand-crafted mind-maps on 'Our Amazing Senses', namely, & in order of their appearance in the book, 'Sense of Touch', 'Sense of Taste', 'Sense of Smell', 'Sense of Hearing', & lastly, 'Sense of Sight'.

Among the da vincian Principles, as mentioned in my earlier post, our amazing senses constitute an important part of having a complete mind.

Why is that so?

Our amazing senses are the sensory pathways to what we see, what we hear, what we taste, what we touch, what we smell & in fact what we feel & do in the world out there.

The sensory information that we receive through our amazing senses go into a 'combinatory play' - drawing my cues from Albert Einstein - from which we draw our first insights, which lead to our productive thoughts.

Using our ingenuity, imagination & creativity, we then turn these thoughts gradually into our ideas.

Today, we live in a visual society. Marketers & purveyors certainly know how to exploit our visual culture in order to get to our personal attention.

Interestingly, vision happens to be our primary sense.

In fact, from birth to death, or womb to tomb as my good friend Dilip Mukerjea likes to put it, we interpret the world through images.

Our brains are stimulated more by visual cues than any other senses.

As a matter of fact, neuro-scientists have confirmed that, more than three-quarters of our brain structures, especially the occipital cortex & its associated elements, work in tandem to process all the incoming visual information.

Particularly for the male species, sexual attraction relies greatly on vision.

More importantly, as much as 90% of the learning in our lifetime enters through our eyes.

So, Leonardo da vinci was absolutely right when he advocated - remember, more than 500 years ago:

"Develop your senses, especially learning how to see."

In fact, this was his principal premise:

“The eye, which is called the window of the soul, is the principal means by which the central sense can most completely & abundantly appreciate the infinite works of nature.”

If you look through all the success literature that has been published over the years, the power of vision is always mentioned as an important attribute to successful living.

A case in point: productivity guru Stephen Covey has summarised his brilliant synthesis & accurate analysis of the success literature stretching across more than 200 years of American history in his '7 Habits', especially with #2: Begin with the end in mind!

Change & innovation strategist/futurist Joel Arthur Barker has touched on this subject in his wonderful training video production, 'The Power of Vision'.

[He talked about the great work of & the influences from Fred Polak, Viktor Frankl, James Collins, Benjamin Singer & Martin Seligman, pertaining to the power of having a positive image of the future, irrespective of nations, societies, children, companies & individuals.]

For me, enhancing perceptual sensitivity is always a prerequisite to creativity & innovation.

Leonardo da vinci put it best:

"If you wish to gain knowledge of the form of problems, begin with learning how to see it in many different ways."

So, how does one develop this capability?

First, adopt a mindful attitude towards the world we live in.

Here are some other practical suggestions:

- recognise patterns;

- make new connections;

- think possibilities or unusual combinations;

- challenge assumptions;

- break ingrained habits;

- seek out novelty;

- adopt new perspectives;

- develop wide angle vision;

- use peripheral vision;

- be playful (i.e. be child-like, but don't be childish!);

- play with metaphors & analogies;

- generate lots of ideas as well as alternatives;

- ask naive as well as intentional questions;

- take some risks;

- learn to notice & respect uncertainty;

- embrace ambiguity & paradox;

- look at what's not there (& also listen to what's not said);

- focus on relationships;

- regard for process;

In concluding this post, I like to quote from the book, 'Mindfulness', by Dr Ellen Langer of Harvard University:

"Learning to see the same old world from different perspectives is the first step toward mindfulness or a mindful attitude.

Changing requires two things: learning to think about old situations in new ways, & opening up & enlarging our frames of reference."

[To be continued in the Next Post. All the images in this post are the intellectual property of Dilip Mukerjea.]

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