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How to develop your observation and deduction powers like Sherlock Holmes



Sherlock Holmes had this uncanny ability to draw inferences and consequently, solve cases with great perspicacity. He could see and observe things that others could not. Of course many times you believe that sometimes he just makes wild guesses, but they are not. All the observations and deductions are based on his ability to see the unseen.

Sherlock Holmes

For instance, by the fingers of a person Sherlock Holmes could tell whether that person smoked or not. By the tip of someone’s stick (those days people used to carry sticks while walking) he could successfully conclude where that person had been recently. The qualities were those of like King Solomon (remember the camel story?)

Anyway, this Life Hacker blog post says that you too can develop immense observation and deduction powers just like Sherlock Holmes. Our brain functions the way we use it. Why do detectives solve cases? Because they are constantly looking for clues.

Over a period of time the part of the brain that detects clues grows stronger and they gain a competitive edge over the others. The same thing must have happened with Sherlock Holmes. Of course he was known to be very smart and focused and this also helped, but more than that, he had developed an ability to focus and look at things from uncommon perspectives. Practice is the key here. Here are a few things you can do (mentioned in the above-presented blog post) to become as observant and smart as Sherlock Holmes:

  • Get used to observing things: You can increase your observation powers only by getting used to observing. Why do cab drivers have a greater sense of direction? Because they are perpetually manoeuvring on the roads all the time. Why do parents understand their kids better? Because they are always with them and constantly observing them, consciously and unconsciously. Choose a subject and observe it keenly. It doesn’t mean you observe every pebble that comes your way, but after a while you will learn to distinguish between what to observe and what not to observe.
  • Slow down your life: Are you always running around? Slow down a bit if you really want to observe things around you. Don’t rush into things. Get visual cues and let them be processed by your brain. Look at things from different angles.
  • Make notes to remember things: You will observe that in the old detective movies the detectives are constantly taking notes. It’s not that you’re going to become a detective, but taking notes helps you remember better and whenever you need to cross check the facts you can quickly take out the notes and go through what you have jotted down.
  • Meditate daily: You don’t need to levitate or anything, just meditate briefly everyday so that you can focus and get rid of the noises constantly barging at your intellect. For clear thinking you need a clear mind. In order to focus better you need to get rid of all the noises constantly playing inside your brain, and this can be achieved by regular meditation.
  • Pose yourself intellectual challenges: Brain becomes what you feed it. If you think it cannot be done, then do some reading on plasticity which proves that you can train your brain to do anything. So even if you have never given yourself intellectual challenges, you can start now. Take an interest in philosophy, basic science and biology. Start reading and gaining knowledge. Engage in intellectual conversations with people who would be interested in such dialogs. Solve puzzles.
  • Start associating the information you have with what you are observing: Don’t you sometimes feel amazed how some people can say exactly the thing that needs to be said by referring to something that has already happened in the past? They have this ability to associate the facts they have with the events that are just taking place. You too can do that with practice.

Read more on the original blog post.