I don’t think there’s a figure in history with talents as diverse as Leonardo Da Vinci’s. He was cool. A true renaissance man. If you require proof of this coolness – you need look no further than the fact that he has been featured in popular cultural texts as diverse as Ever After (the Cindarella Story) and Assassins Creed 2. Because his coolness is transcendent.
He was, it appears, an incredible self promoter. Here is a letter he sent to the Duke of Milan when he was thirty years old.
There are eleven points. You can read them all here. But my favourites are:
Where the operation of bombardment might fail, I would contrive catapults, mangonels, trabocchi, and other machines of marvellous efficacy and not in common use. And in short, according to the variety of cases, I can contrive various and endless means of offense and defense.
He was, it seems, a ninja.
I have means by secret and tortuous mines and ways, made without noise, to reach a designated spot, even if it were needed to pass under a trench or a river.
A ninja who made tanks.
I will make covered chariots, safe and unattackable, which, entering among the enemy with their artillery, there is no body of men so great but they would break them. And behind these, infantry could follow quite unhurt and without any hindrance.
It’s funny that Einstein is remembered for his contribution to weaponry though he set out to be a scientist – and Leonardo is remembered for his contribution to art though he set out to be a weapons developer.
Item number 11 on the list says:
I can carry out sculpture in marble, bronze, or clay, and also I can do in painting whatever may be done, as well as any other, be he who he may.
The promises even come with a satisfaction guarantee and demonstration…
“And if any of the above-named things seem to anyone to be impossible or not feasible, I am most ready to make the experiment in your park, or in whatever place may please your Excellency – to whom I comment myself with the utmost humility, etc.”
Clearly, in hindsight, he was both competent and capable. Which is probably the key to being successful. If you’re justone of these things without the other you’re doomed for failure.