thin

Homes & Watson Go Camping…

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are on a camping trip.


In the middle of the night, Holmes nudges Watson awake, and says, “Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see.”

Watson seeing this as another challenge by Homes to demonstrate his considerable intellect and ego decides he will not be outdone by his old friend.

He takes a moment to fully reason.


“I see millions of stars, my dear Holmes.”


“And what do you infer from these stars Watson?”


“Well, a number of things,” he says, lighting his pipe:


“Astronomically, I observe that there are millions of galaxies and billions of stars and planets. Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three in the AM. Meteorologically, I expect that the weather will be fine and clear tomorrow. Theologically, I see that God is all-powerful, and man, his creation, small and insignificant.”


Watson puffs some smoke and smiles. Feeling cocky and sure to have outwitted his friend he says:

“What about you, Holmes?”


“Watson, you fool. Someone has stolen our tent!”


Sometimes the very answer we are looking for is literally right in front of us!


So if you find yourself confused by a situation or unsure which path to go; take a moment to swipe away the confusion in your mind and return to your senses.


There are several useful things you can do:

1. Presume you are stuck inside a reality-tunnel.

This is another way of saying you can’t see the wood from the trees. And if you can’t see the trees, you won’t see the forest and if you don’t see the forest; you probably won’t know where you are... so you won’t know where you’re going.


So stop wandering!


When you are in a reality tunnel, take a step back and gain altitude on your situation.


Chances are you have a many thoughts running around your head are getting in the way.


Swipe them away and ask a new question:


What haven’t I noticed yet?


Then…

2. Get pen and paper and externalise your thinking!

This is one of the great problem solvers.


When you write things on paper (post it notes, 5x6 cards or even sheets of paper) you disassociate from the problem state and can gain a new perspective.


You can move things around.


Try looking at things in a different way.


Get others to give you feedback on your situation.


Best of all you interrogate your own thinking when you externalise your thoughts.


And like Homes discover the most important bit of information you’d previous missed.


Ask yourself:


  • What assumptions have I made?

  • What am I presuming is “so”?

  • What have I overlooked?

  • Who is someone I know (or have read about) who this situation wouldn’t be a big drama for them?

  • How would they solve it?

These and other questions will help you notice things you haven’t seen before.


Where, previously, you saw only immovable fixed objects, suddenly you notice there are many more variables which can be arranged in a wide variety of ways.


Most important of all:


Suspend any disbelief that this problem is permanent.


Presume there is a solution.


If you need more ideas be sure to sign up to our newsletter to receive expert strategies, problem solving tips and cutting edge NLP.


To shake things up.


Observe what you had missed and you will quickly solve your problems.


“The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes.”

- Sherlock Homes

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