If there is one skill everybody will love to have, it would probably be Sherlock Holme’s deductive reasoning ability. The literary hero can tell you what happened in a room by analysing something as mundane as a fold in the curtain.
We have this ability, but only to a minimal extent. For example, the mustard stain on your colleague’s tie can tell you he grabbed a quick bite of hot dog and not the bathroom break he claimed. Or that the man with a fading ring mark may have recently been divorced. But what if we could do more?
There is a myth that says we only use 10% of our brain. If that is true, imagine how much we can accomplish if we could harness the remaining 90%! This is possible; there are effective mental development techniques to give our brain that perceptual enhancement we seek.
Observing people and situations can be an extremely powerful tool if you know how to apply it. It increases your perception of subtle cues at events like a job interview, a conversation and other places so you can react more tactfully.
The following tips will guide you toward enhancing your perceptual skills.
- Practice observation
A typical FBI training involves being able to explain everything in a room within seconds of entering it. It is a skill that is borne from quick observation. This can prove useful in important missions.
Unfortunately, many people don’t pay attention to their surroundings. We are often too absorbed with ourselves or tech devices that we cause our brain to miss important cues.
To prevent this, train your brain regularly to observe the world around you. Start with the obvious and progress to the subtle cues. With time, this will sharpen your brain.
- Challenge yourself with tasks that force you to pace unhurriedly
Are you fond of running to catch the bus, or driving too fast to reach your destination? Consider slowing down a bit to take in the details of your environment. If this is difficult for you, develop exercises to achieve it.
Challenge yourself to notice at least 10 new things on the way to your destination. As you get better at it, increase the target to 15, the 20 and so on. Your brain will soon open to a sharper perception.
- Write down the new things you learn
If you are struggling with paying attention and the challenges are not help either, try writing them down. Researchers have shown that this works for many people. It is a common technique used by scientists to increase their ability to understand new discoveries.
While walking on the street, write about the new store that just opened into your journal. What do you think they sell in there, did you catch a glimpse? Who is the musician playing under the tree; have you seen her before? Journaling your observations makes you a more perceptive person.
Finally, practice meditation. If you are in a bus, close your eyes and try to recreate the bus scene you saw as you walked to your seat. Who is behind you? What is the colour of the jacket they are wearing? Was the corner seat at the back occupied?
Continuous practice makes perfect. Try these tips every day and you will be pleased with the results.