If you’re a parent, and particularly if you’re one who has been known to randomly take a toddler to class or on a field trip, you’ve probably heard about Leonardo da Vinci’s admonition to be kind to others. According to the book, The Da Vinci Code, he said, “Being kind to others is more important than mastering magic or learning anything.” They have plastered this quote in movie theatres across the country, often in the name of fairytale heroes and heroic knights, like the soldier-dutiful Knight in Shining Armor and the knight-paragon Saint Lucia in The Three Musketeers.
Leonardo wrote those words in 1509, shortly after being commissioned by the Prince of Florence to design a statue of the Madonna, but no one took him seriously. He lived his life of intrigue and mystery, and was known to be arrogant and difficult, but his reasoning behind his philosophy has been debated by scholars. But still, the concept of being kind to others and making your mark on the world makes for an inspirational quote. And all of Leonardo’s quotes are worth the effort of cracking open a book and reading from cover to cover.
1. “To be gentle is to be human.”
Leonardo is a man of ideas and curiosity, so he was fascinated by the human mind and desire to make the world a better place. Leonardo was always very curious, so he loved to learn about a wide variety of subjects, which he put to use in his life.
2. “To be simple is to be cruel.”
Some people might be shocked to hear a thinker like Leonardo exist, but today we feel quite comfortable doing exactly what he advised: being kind to others and being thoughtful in your actions. What’s more, it’s fun!
3. “Don’t be jealous. Don’t be a pretender.”
When you start feeling bitter, jealousy starts to creep in, but remember that your outer world is populated with characters who are also prone to jealousy. It’s important to remember that a good character is more than a body of work — it’s an inner self.
4. “It is always better to be a perfect citizen than a perfect soldier.”
Unfortunately, more and more of us seem to believe that we need to be perfect and that we should sacrifice everything for our ideals. This type of idealism can be a death sentence, so it’s important to be aware of the limit of your own desires and to focus on helping others.
5. “We should only choose what is good.”
This is another great quote that encourages you to take care of others and embrace your personal strengths. Whether it’s taking care of a family, helping others overcome a chronic illness, or simply using your abilities to make the world a better place, your own worth should never take a backseat to that of others.
6. “One day we will learn to do right, not because it is easy, but because it is right.”
People sometimes take things for granted. Once you understand why it’s important to be kind to others and to help others as much as possible, you’ll find that it’s not as hard as it might seem. A little common sense and mindfulness go a long way.
7. “Be happy! Being happy makes your mind firm, too.”
It’s not easy to be happy, but it’s important. When people who don’t have much happiness feel misunderstood and guilty, they can become stressed and depressed. Saying “I’m not perfect” can be a great way to try and make sense of the world — you can always strive for more.