Ok, maybe this is not a real malady, but there is a reason it is named, even if only in urban legend, after Leonardo Da Vinci. He is a man revered as a genius, brilliant, and talented. He is often spoken of as the premier Renaissance man. He was a sculptor, painter, engineer, and inventor, but he is also known to history as a man who often left projects undone or took longer than needed to complete.
Once, a large amount of bronze was donated to him to complete a cast of a horse as a tribute. It would have been the third largest equestrian statue of his time. He never completed it. War was raging in Europe, and the battle was getting closer, so the bronze was used for making cannons for the defense of the city. Of this very cast, Michelangelo, Da Vinci’s contemporary, allegedly implied that Da Vinci would never complete it.
Pope Leo X commented of Da Vinci, “This man will never accomplish anything! He thinks of the end before the beginning.” Unfortunately, Da Vinci had to be threatened by many of the people he contracted with to finish the project or find his funds cut off. So was Da Vinci’s reputation.
According to the Free Online Dictionary, Medical Section, the definition of the Da Vinci Syndrome or DVS is thus:
“A popular term for a possible “condition” that may affect a highly creative person who gets new idea and visions faster than he or she can implement them, or even fully record or describe, leading them to constantly start new projects without finishing the old ones.”
Hmm. As I explored this further, I could not find this listed as an actual medical condition with diagnosed symptoms. However, as a fellow sufferer, I feel I am qualified to offer some possible indications and side effects of the condition. Some of these are based on the above-listed definition, some from personal experience, and some from “research” into this malady. See if any of these apply to you or someone you know.
- Highly creative
- Loves learning something new, has an inquisitive mind
- Has many interests
- Has many ideas
- Starts many projects
- Leaves projects undone
- Wants to make sure projects are completed correctly
- Sometimes cannot sleep at night because they just cannot get their brain to shut down
- Lose interest in projects if they lose their challenge…. Squirrel!
- Are frustrated if they forget their ideas or when reminded of their unfinished projects
Though this is not a complete list, it does serve as a starting foundation, and identifying a problem or condition is ninety percent of the cure. So, what is one to do in combating this syndrome? One option is to put it off until you can do it right. For example, I thought about finishing this article later when I was able to come up with a better answer, but that would be enabling myself to continue down this DVS road. The struggle is real. I’m just saying.
There is help
Here are my suggestions to combat, or help your loved ones combat DVS:
- Accept that this is how God made you. He has a reason for it.
- Write down your ideas as they come to you. If you can’t sleep, write down enough of what is in your head to get your mind clear enough to sleep. (That is what I am doing right now, even though I have to get up at 5:00 am, and it is midnight).
- Find time to think. Your thoughts will ruminate in your brain. If you take time to be still and ponder your ideas, then you will strip away all the dead wood and keep the good stuff.
- Realize that just because you think it is a grand idea that not everyone else will, because it really might not be.
- Set goals and stick to them. Review them regularly and get rid of unrealistic ones.
- Break the big tasks down into small tasks and stay with it until it is done, even if it is in small increments. Focus on one task at a time. The way you cover a roof is one shingle at a time (I don’t eat elephants, so I never really liked that analogy). Another one is, you cover a floor one tile at a time.
- Set a deadline for it to be done and stick to it.
- Set a reward to celebrate the achievement.
- Realize that completion will take hard work, but it will be worth it.
- Learn to say no.
Yes, there was a bit of whimsical and creative license in the way I wrote this article. It was in no wise meant to make fun of anyone in particular – well, maybe myself. If this hasn’t helped you in some way, maybe it successfully brought a smile to your face. If that was the case, then I successfully completed that project. Of course, I don’t know if you don’t tell me, especially if you put it off to a better time.