It’s hard not to be impressed by his detective skills and unusual approach to perceiving information, and many would like to have this way of thinking. Actually, it’s not that hard. You can become Sherlock Holmes too.
First, let’s debunk the biggest myth surrounding Sherlock Holmes. We’ve all read (or seen in a movie or a TV show) that Sherlock uses deduction. But did you know that it’s not actually true?
There are 2 ways of perceiving and processing information: deduction and induction. The deduction is about taking a bigger picture and taking it apart by smaller bits. The induction is about noticing the small details and gathering them to compose a bigger picture.
So, naturally, Sherlock Holmes uses induction to draw his conclusions and solve mysterious cases.
Still, what do you have to do to think like him? How does that work? It’s easier than you think.
Build your way up to the conclusion
Before making a conclusion, try to gather the little details. Imagine you are meeting a person for the first time and you don’t know anything about them. What are they like? What are their physical features? What do they wear? How firm is their handshake? What about their voice?
Little things can tell you a lot about a person. The skin on their hands can show you whether they are doing manual labour or not. Their manner of walking can reveal whether they have any injuries or peculiarities. Their choice of clothes can tell you how long the person is planning to spend outside, whether they use public transport or a personal vehicle, even confirm the fact that they didn’t check the weather report in the morning (we’ve all seen a person drastically unprepared for pouring rain at some point of our lives).
Be careful not to draw hasty conclusions, though. You need a lot of details and experience to do it right away. Take your time to notice little things around you.
Learn about things from different things
Everything is connected. Just like all people on Earth know each other through 5 mutual acquaintances, different spheres of life are linked to each other. It’s important that you learn basic things about each sphere.
There is no such thing as knowing too much. You never know when you will need something you have learned unintentionally, but it might be extremely useful.
Learning doesn’t have to be all about textbooks and long lessons. Pay attention to short educational videos or podcasts. Modern media knows how to make information both useful and entertaining, so don’t worry about being bored in the process. Just a few minutes while you are getting to work or after dinner, and you are already closer to become as skilful as Sherlock Holmes.
Learn to listen
Hearing and listening are two different things. It’s easy to lose track of the conversation or get distracted. Some people even manage to keep up the conversation without actually paying attention to it. But if you want to learn how to ‘read’ people and situations, you need to stay focused.
Pay attention to non-verbal signals: gestures, poses, body language.
Pro-tip for you: if you mirror the body language of a person you talk to, they will be more friendly towards you!
Take your time thinking
Remember that we take one step at a time. You can’t just draw a conclusion within a few seconds of observation. Even Sherlock Holmes needed some time to go through some facts he discovered and to rearrange information. Same applies to you.
Sherlock might have used some unconventional methods to distract himself from thinking too hard, like playing violin or smoking pipe, but you don’t have to. A simple walk or a change of scenery might help your thinking process and stimulate your brain.
Struggle with coming up with ideas? Forget about your desk and chair. Go to the kitchen. Sit on the floor. Do a few laps around your house. Go up and down the stairs. Anything unusual makes your brain think out of its comfort zone, so it will help you with your induction process as well.
Sherlock Holmes is a fictional character who saves the day even in the most complicated situation. He is smart, brilliant even, and extremely quick-witted. But it doesn’t mean that we can’t use him as a role model to learn a few tricks to help us out in our everyday lives.