I am very selective with whom I spend my precious free time. If it is not the obligations of family (to which this piece does not apply) then it has to be friends, but when I think about it, I do not spend that much time with friends either.  This is mainly because I am too easily bored.  A friend for me is not just a fine companion, he or she must also be very interesting.  But what exactly is it that makes someone interesting rather than boring?

An interesting person fills me with new ideas. They challenge the way I think, they have a deeper knowledge than I, on a whole variety of subjects. They constantly come up with interesting conundrums or theories. They have always just discovered something, not necessarily at work but perhaps in a new book, or play, or piece of music or work of art. They are always very busy with a wide variety of hobbies and interests which exercises their intellect. An interesting person needs also to be funny too. Not necessarily by telling jokes but simply by finding comical connections with themselves, the world and their subject matter. They should not take themselves too seriously, after all we are all only passing through, our time is now, but it will fade and for that one needs a sense of humor!

In much the same way leaders, like friends, need to be interesting too. Leaders need to be inspiring, but how can they be if they are boring? When I think of the leaders I enjoyed working for, they were all inspiring. Every one of them had the ability to plant a new seed or idea in my mind to motivate me further on my journey.

I do not suppose there is anyone on the planet today that can be interesting to everyone, all of the time. Perhaps even Leonardo Da Vinci was boring once in a while? And this is one reason why leaders need to restrict the amount of time they spend with any one person.

The question is: where do interesting people get their ideas? This is easy; from life, from others, from books, from newspapers, from research, from self study, from travel, from exploring new ideas, from trying new hobbies. By ensuring that all their senses are stimulated as much and as often as possible, by ensuring that they are alive and living life to the full.

My book of the month for February is ‘Think like Da Vinci’. I found it interesting not only because it takes as its subject probably the most brilliant person that ever lived but also the author Michael J. Gelb brings Da Vinci to life and then gives us exercises to do in order to learn how to think more like the great man himself, to understand how he saw the world and how it shaped his life.

Just this weekend a friend of mine reminded me that in the fifteenth and sixteenth century it was normal for a man to study everything. That a scientist was measured by the depth and breadth of his knowledge, and that it was only in the 18th and 19th century that narrow research papers became the normal output from our universities.

A question: on a scale of one to ten (compared with Leonardo Da Vinci or Francis Bacon) how interesting are you?

Have a good week