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How to Develop the 'Sherlock Holmes' Intuition

The quick wit and sharp observational skills of Sherlock Holmes used to analyze and solve the greatest mysteries is legendary. And even though Sherlock Holmes often expressed a need for the sleuthing to stick to the facts his actions would often demonstrate that he was very reliant on his intuition as well and clearly saw both logic and intuition as equal partners in solving the mysteries before him. !hile it isn"t possible to intuit everything in life there are times when listening to our intuition is both sensible and helpful in reaching conclusions about such things as relationships connections with others and the suitability or otherwise of certain life choices. As for being able to work out what makes other people tick there are some intuitive tricks you can rely upon to help you guess reasonably accurately and your intuition can easily be developed with a little practice and perseverance by following these easy steps.

#$e accepting your intuition. Holmes summarized his intuition thus% "It was easier to know it than to explain why I know it. If you were asked to prove that two and two made four, you might find some difficulty, and yet you are quite sure of the fact."&#' (et many people who consider themselves as )concrete) thinkers are reliant on evidence*based thinking processes tend to dismiss intuition as a folly and unreliable. +t hasn"t helped that intuition has long been attached to the supernatural , the oracles seers witches wizards and other mystical sources in history.&-' +t is unfortunate that the misuse of intuition by charlatans has tarred its reputation but that doesn"t mean it isn"t a valid part of our thinking and decision* making processes provided it is balanced with examination of the facts and evidence before you. .any human beings have experienced making decisions on a )gut feeling) from time to time and have found the outcome to be satisfactory and sometimes even life*saving. /iewing intuition as )an educated counselor)&0' is a helpful way to perceive it1 we receive guidance from our subconscious drawing on experience accumulated over the years often in times of danger or problem*solving. And while the inexactitude of intuition simply means it cannot be relied upon alone as a source of reaching any conclusion this means that all initial suppositions theories and hunches must be tested by logic and analysis of facts not that it must be removed altogether from our processes of deduction. .uch good intuition is simply drawing from lengthy experience and proven habit. +ndeed Holmes summed this up when he stated% "From long habit the train of thoughts ran so swiftly through my mind that I arrived at the conclusion without being conscious of intermediate steps"&2' 3emember that the easiest person to fool is yourself.&4' As such never make unfounded accusations allegations or deductions at any stage of your process of reaching conclusions , about anything. +t"s also wise to find yourself someone trustworthy and independently minded to sound out your conclusions5

-6earn how to deduce things from studying a person. +t is possible to work out quite a bit about how a person is feeling whether or not they"re lying the things left unsaid etc. by keen observation of the person before you. !hile some people are more attuned to reading the body language of others everyone can learn this art if willing. Some of the things that you can do to improve your people reading skills include% 6earn to read body language. There are plenty of books and online sites devoted to reading body language. 7heck out bestsellers such as A efinitive !uide to "ody #anguage by Allan 8ease and $arbara 8ease and others. 9ust be aware that reading body language does have its limitations because some people are good actors or deceivers and sometimes you simply make terrible mistakes and misread the signals. $alance body language reading with other sources of intuition and the facts. !atch for the signs of lying and honesty. +f you"re going to be sleuthing or deducing like Sherlock Holmes then you"ll definitely need to know how to spot the signs of a liar and a truth*teller. :or more details on how to do this see How to spot lying etc. Try people watching. Spending some time every week simply watching people in their daily comings and goings as you sit somewhere comfortable can teach you a great deal about people"s habits mannerisms interactions and personalities. !hile there is a lot of guesswork involved in people watching ;deliberately because that"s what makes it fun< you can also try to hone your guesswork down to spotting specific behavioral traits and mannerisms that can serve as future reference for you. :or more details on how to people watch read 7hase Hughes" site and How to begin people watching. 0+mprove your powers of observation. =ne of the most notable things about Sherlock Holmes was that he observed things that other people missed1 he was often stating such things as "$ou see, but you do not observe. %he distinction is clear. " &>' This isn"t magic and it isn"t psychic mumbo*?umbo. +t is simply about being very observant and taking time to spot the things that often get overlooked when people panic assume and rush around without consideration for the finer details. +mproving your powers of observation can be done in various ways and each requires practice. .oreover if you can stay calm and think clearly when in a pressured situation you"re already well ahead of many people. This is part personality part confidence part common sense and part awareness of your surroundings and it can take time to perfect if it doesn"t come naturally to you. =ther ways to improve your observation include% 7oncentrate on improving your three most used senses * sight smell and sound also sometimes referred to as S*0. The very fact that these are our most used senses means that we tend to take them for granted and make assumptions about what they detect. +t is here that you must become more refined and fine*tune ways in which you use these senses in order to make better use of them.

@otice the right details that others miss by being discerning. @ot every detail before you has value. Ase your discernment to focus on the details of relevance and significance * "It is the highest importance in the art of detection to be able to recogni&e out of a number of facts, which are incidental and which are vital."&B'. And don"t dismiss the smallest details * Holmes made it clear that "%he little things are infinitely the most important."&C' 8ractice with spotting style puzzles. 8uzzles that ask you to find the difference between different images puzzles that ask you to find hidden words and images and puzzles that require you to navigate through mazes are all ways of honing your observation powers. 8ractice these frequently and time yourself to find things faster and faster without panicking. Duick quiz yourself and start learning to pay more observational attention to your surroundings. Here"s an example of observing% Ever been to grandma"s houseF +s it a two story houseF +f it is how many steps are there to reach the second storyF How many bedrooms are thereF How many beds are there in the bedroomsF +f you don"t know you see but don"t observe1 in short teach yourself to take in all the detail you can.

26isten better. .any of us don"t listen because we"re too busy smug lazy certain of the answer before we"ve learned anything selfish preoccupied insecure whatever5 The art of listening can never be over*emphasized and Sherlock Holmes was a master at this art. +t may seem like magic when someone recalls everything you"ve told them but in actual fact it"s simply good concentration courtesy and memorization put to excellent use. A good listener will pick up not only what is said but also that which is not said the gaps which often tell the other half of the story. 4@ever underestimate people. Holmes recognized the complexity of others , "A complex mind. All great criminals have that."&G' Avoid being arrogant or simplistic in deducing the motivations of others and give credit where it is due. Ho not disdain the information gathered from simple sources. 8opular literature such as magazines and tabloids and the daily gossip can teach you much. 6istening to and reading these things will open up your mind to the way many people tick and whatever is popular is what a large proportion of the population is likely to be striving to achieve or think so you can glean much from reading about these things. After all Sherlock Holmes used to read the Agony Aunt columns in the paper and clearly used this as a source of information about how people tick5&#I' Soak up everything and don"t be an intellectual snob or you cut off half your sources of real information. >$ring logic to the fore. +ntuition is useful but a poor master and it needs to be reined in by logic and factual analysis. Joing with your gut and not facing the facts is bound to lead to trouble so be prepared to let logic balance your intuition making it more than mere speculation and guesswork. Holmes advised that "It is a capital mistake to theori&e before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of

theories to suit facts."&##' Take heed of his words and be sure to apply the evidence to your theories. :or example% (ou observe a stain in your friend"s shirt. !hat kind of stain is itF :oodF 6ogically that means he"s careless. !hatF (ou know for sure that he"s very tidy and neatF Then logically he was in a hurry to get out of the house. !hyF +s he on time for every class or meetingF =f course he is since he"s very tidy and neat so what happenedF .aybe he overslept. So you go to him or her and ask )Hid you oversleep todayF) +f you"re right have fun with the reaction5 So the train of thought is% stain * food * he"s tidy * hurrying * oversleep. BAnalyze any situation using a step*by*step process. Holmes was good at a process of elimination by which he would discard the improbable the illogical the uncertain and whittle down his observations deductions and theories to reach what he believed to be the only conclusion. +ndeed he stated that% )Eliminate all other factors and the one which remains must be the truth.)&#-'The process used goes like this% Always change the theory to fit the facts not the other way around. Ase established quantifiable evidenced facts to develop further your theory. And if the facts mean that elements of the theory no longer hold discard that part of the theory forthwith1 persisting with the theory in face of opposing facts will create a false conclusion no matter how much you"d prefer it to be the conclusion. Think about who is benefitingF Establish a motive1 this could be greed anger ?ealousy. Hon"t forget to think of the positive motives too , protection of another guarding of a reputation generosity to a fault etc. Think how a person did what they didF How did the ?ewels get out of the case without someone hearingF How did he manage to break the necklace when it required at least two peopleF How did that work report end up in someone else"s hard driveF How did she get to the restaurant before everyone else even though she had no carF As stated earlier keep working on the details1 most people be they criminals detectives or the average 9oe and 9o do not observe all the details and this is how they are caught or found out. Jo through the who when what where and why facts. CAnderstand how to read a situation. There are three parts to reading a situation% See. !hat do you see that is happeningF =bserve. !hat do you notice that is different1 a stain a creaseF Heduce. !hat does this implyF G$e humble. +n A 'tudy in 'carlet Holmes stated "$ou know a con(urer gets no credit when once he has explained his trick) and if I show you too much of my method of working, you will come to the conclusion that I am a very ordinary individual after all." +n other words he didn"t consider it benefited anyone to know his method or manner in great detail and indeed to reveal such would dispel the entertainment and effectiveness

of what he did. :ollow his example and keep your intuiting and deducing methods close to yourself and avoid going around accusing people of anything until you"re absolutely certain. #ITalk through your conclusion with a trusted person. Holmes was a guarded person and trusted people only when they had proven themselves trustworthy and loyal. +n turn those persons had Holmes" complete trust such as !atson. $y the same token "nothing clears up a case so much as stating it to another person." &#0' so be sure to open up and talk through your conclusions with someone you do trust to use them as a sounding board when you"ve worked through the deductions. ##Stay open to the possibilities. !hile what you see before you may seem as clear as day appearances can be deceiving in many ways. Sherlock Holmes was well aware of this and used to his advantage in unraveling a variety of possibilities not explained openly by what the eyes see and the ears hear. He balanced intuition with logic he drew conclusions from details and he listened carefully. (et he also kept an open mind and accepted that some possibilities may yet be unexplained1 he once said that "#ife is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent." &#2' That doesn"t mean that such things are not capable of explanation but it does mean that there are more wondrous things than we"re possibly yet acquainted with in this world and it doesn"t pay to have a closed mind to the possibilities. #-. 8lan downtime party time and leisure time into your life. Sherlock Holmes worked hard when sleuthing but he also loved his leisure and being languid.&#4' Heducing things and pushing your intuition to its limits can wear you down and re?uvenation is an essential part of ensuring that you continue to stay sharp focused and clever.

Try watching the $$7"s modern interpretation of Sherlock Holmes simply called Sherlock it can help you apply Sherlock Holmes"s deduction skills to modern day life. !hen faced by confusion with regards to a decision to be made collect all your verbal and non*verbal facts. This may aid your decision making process. 6istening to your "intuition" can be very helpful in day*to*day situations like predicting the outcomes of meetings and understanding the people you encounter in your everyday life. =bserve everything even the most smallest detail. 3ead some )Sherlock Holmes) books by Sir Arthur 7onan Hoyle to study more of his style manner of thinking and deductive processing. (ou might also like to read about the real life experiences of Sir Arthur 7onan Hoyle in seeking to help people wrongly convicted of crimes. @ever take anything for granted. Even the most insignificant entity may present valuable insight into circumstances.

Hon"t tell anybody about your initial insights unless you are a #II percent sure you"re right. +f you end up making a weird prediction that is unfounded and based on nothing more than your hunches and the actual result ends up being something totally different people will begin to think you"re too ?udgmental and may consider you unreliable. Hon"t make quick decisions without analyzing all the facts. +n fact the more time you give yourself for reflection the better. :ast decisions are only good for those technically trained to respond to specific situations under pressure such as airline pilots power plant operators and police. Even then mistakes are made. So when it comes to sleuthing deducing and intuiting give your thinking processes plenty of time. Hon"t push yourself to believing each and every thing that body language may indicate. $ody language is right CI percent of the time but trust it too much and you may end up in a great blunder. Try your best not to overlook anything. Always look for signs in "clusters" and not at an individual isolated fact.

Things You'll Need

Some Sherlock Holmes novels Something to keep notes with so you can go over them later ;optional<