How to Develop Sherlock Holmes-Like Powers of Observation and Deduction
It's rarely worth it to condense your knowledge into a specialty.
You should be broad in your knowledge. Holmes says that you should have a clean "brain attic," but he's also a walking encyclopedia of knowledge. He reads incredibly broadly—he reads about art, music—things that you would think have no bearing on his detective work. I think that's an important lesson that we can take. It's bad to overspecialize, and we should try to remain as curious about all the different types of things you want to learn. -- Konnikova
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Observing people and situations is an incredibly valuable tool.
It gives you the ability to notice subtle cues during conversations, job interviews, presentations, and anywhere else so ...
It gives you the ability to notice subtle cues during conversations, job interviews, presentations, and anywhere else so you can react to situations more tactfully.
Learn how to notice small details.
It's not a superhuman ability. It's important to note when talking about Holmes that he has spent a lifetime cultivating the habits of mindfulness. So it's not like he was just born with this ability to be in touch with the world. What we choose to notice or not notice is a way of framing it in our own mind. We have a lot of bad habits in our mind, and we have to retrain ourselves to really notice the world. Everything we do rewires the brain, but we can rewire it in a way that mindfulness eventually becomes less of an effort. -- Konnikova
Give yourself monthly or daily challenges to form a new habit of observation.
Ideas could include trying new foods weekly and writing about them, noticing the color of a co-worker's shirt every day, or even just looking at a new piece of art closely once a day.
The idea is to gradually teach yourself to notice small details in your environment and daily life.
If you're really struggling to pay attention and personal challenges aren't working, try field notes: writing descriptions and drawing pictures of what you see.
If you're at work, dedicate 10 minutes to observing one person's behavior. Jot it down on paper.
This will help you to start paying attention to the tiny details.
Meditation is all about teaching yourself focus.
There's this whole area of mindfulness training that teaches you to pay attention to yourself and what's going through your head more. ... just taking a couple minutes at your desk. -- Konnikova
When you're asking a lot of questions, you're thinking critically, and that improves your skills at deduction in general.
It's not necessarily that Holmes remembers more, but that he can see connections that people usually miss. People think Holmes is this paragon of logic, but that logic is innately imaginative at its core. He doesn't think linearly, he engages his entire network of possible connections.
The more connections you make, and the more often you think critically, the better you're going to get at making deductions
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