How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes – Part 1 of 6: “Introduction & Intuition”

Since the character “Sherlock Holmes” was introduced to the world in 1887, people around the globe have been fascinated with the chance to become just as cognitive and intuitive as he is.

Of course, we need to remember that “Sherlock Holmes” is a fictional character with some “abilities” that may be exaggerated for dramatic effect… but becoming a clear, intuitive/cognitive thinker is not impossible. Here is Part 1 of my 6-part series: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes.


The character of “Sherlock Holmes” has had many iterations since 1887. Today, the character’s popularity has never been stronger. Just in the past ten years, we’ve been fortunate to fall in love with “Sherlock” on BBC, “Elementary” on CBS, the movie “Sherlock Holmes” starring Robert Downey Jr., and of course, “House”… which starred Hugh Laurie and was based off the character of Sherlock Holmes.

All of these iterations should send a huge “thank you” to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – the author of all of their source material.

In watching these television shows and reading the Sherlock Holmes books, we have all grown a fascination with the way Sherlock Holmes was able to master his observational abilities. As a result of this skill, Sherlock is able solve mysteries that many people write off as impossible.

Sherlock, though a fictional character, has such a unique way of thinking and solving mysteries. He’s fascinating because he is able to tell you everything about yourself without you even opening your mouth.

Since 1887, people have been asking, “How can I think like Sherlock Holmes?” To some it may seem impossible, but the logic behind his skill is not out of the ordinary. Ultimately, it comes down to your personal intuition. If we want to learn what makes people tick, there are some fun tricks that we can perfect that’ll assist.


“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.”

That’s a Sherlock quote from A Study in Scarlet. It’s a favorite of many readers because Sherlock perfectly summarizes his view on “intuition.” A lot of people don’t pay attention to their intuition because it is often considered an unreliable source. It also doesn’t help that a lot of people associate intuition with supernatural beings such as witches, or wizards, or Neo from The Matrix. Seeing intuition being dismissed is quite unfortunate because it is quite a valid (and possibly vital) part of our thinking and decision-making process… well, as long as it is countered and balanced with facts and evidence.

Think of it this way, making an intuitive decision is like making a decision based off of a “gut feeling.” I am sure many of us have made gut decisions that proved to be quite satisfactory, and possibly even life saving in some cases. (Like that time we all made a “gut decision” to make “Who Let The Dogs Out?” the song of the year… great job America.) Sherlock views intuition as an “educated counselor.” Like Sherlock, you can be guided and influenced by your subconscious and the various things you have experienced over the years. These experiences quite often come at times when you’re in danger or during a high-pressure problem-solving moment in your life.

It should be noted that Sherlock doesn’t simply rely on intuition, or “gut feeling”, alone. To use only intuition as your main source to reaching a conclusion or solving a mystery or learning about someone is simply stupid, and quite inaccurate. If you want to think like Sherlock, you need to combine your theories, your hunches, and your intuition with basic logic and factual information.

In Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s collection of short stories entitled, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes states: “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.” In other words, Sherlock is stating that good intuition is the result of remembering your experiences and being completely aware of your habits and the habits of others.

While trying to study people keep in mind that the easiest person to fool is yourself. It is for that reason that you should never, EVER, make unfounded accusations, allegations, or deductions at any stage of this process.

Part 2 – “Deducing via Study and the Powers of Observation” – CLICK HERE

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