“The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes.” ~Sherlock Holmes
How many times have you been surprised by how accurate your intuition was? The ability to understand instinctively the outcome of a situation cannot be explained away by simple science. Or can it? What we call intuition or premonition is “just movement of the web. If you could attenuate to every strand of quivering data, the future would be entirely calculable, as inevitable as mathematics.”
So what is it about Sherlock that makes him see the world as no one else does? Let’s break it down:
This is Deduction 101. The ability to notice the minute details is what makes a detective good. And therein lies the problem with the rest of us—we simply don’t pay attention to the world around us. The first step towards reading people is to just stop and pay attention every now and then—how people interact with others and their surroundings provides a lot of clues to what happens to them. It is important, however, that you don’t just observe, but remember. Try the Mind Palace technique, for example, to store information to retrieve later.
Read mystery novels:
In order to make inferences like detectives, you must know how they think. Reading mysteries helps you know how the mind of a sleuth works. Try solving the puzzle instead of just reading it through, and you’ll see that making deductions is not all that difficult.
Learn about the human mind and behaviour:
The key to making deductions lies less in what happens to a person and more in how he reacts to it. Knowing what goes on in the minds of people gives an idea about their actions and helps you more conclusively decide how the affair unfolds.
It’s important to teach yourself to think critically about anything. Any new information should be asked the Whys, Hows, Whens and Wheres of questioning. Only when you find a satisfactory answer to these questions will you be able to theorise the probable conjectures to the problem.
“When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” There can be multiple possible solutions to any problem. Only one of them, however, can be the truth. Eliminate any options that might not fit in with one or more of the evidence collected. When you’re done, you will be left with the theory closest to the truth.
One of the most important steps in making deductions about people is to visualize the entire scenario putting yourself in the person’s boots. Any details you might have missed while forming your theory would be tended to when the scene plays out, and any evidence that might not have initially fit in can be resolved too.
Now that you can read people, make good use of your talent. Help people solve their problems, or add some wand-waving and crystal ball reading and claim to be a psychic. Either way, you earn respect, awe, and, of course, money!