Mindfulness is elementary, my dear Watson

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's creation solves mysteries by living in the here and now.

Can we increase our awareness by taking a page from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s best-known character, Sherlock Holmes? Yes, according to Maria Konnikova in a recent post: Don't Just See; Observe: What Sherlock Homes Can Teach Us About Mindful Decisions. Konnikova's blog deals with the psychology of decision-making and its impact on the choices we make.

For Holmes, the benefits of mindfulness are elementary. The talented sleuth is hyperaware of his surroundings. He solves mysteries armed primarily with the ability to live in the here and now. “You see, but you do not observe. The distinction is clear,” explains Holmes to his sidekick Watson in A Scandal In Bohemia.

No question that Holmes' powers of observation are extreme. Yet Konnikova says practicing mindfulness may help us clue-in to our lives (pardon the pun) and improve our decision-making skills too:

We and our decisions both would be well served to take some of the famed detective’s advice, to go beyond seeing and into the realm of observing. Take note of what’s around you. Take note of how or why it affects you. You might not turn into an expert crime solver, but I guarantee, you’d be surprised at the difference it can make to the quality of your life and your decisions.

Who can say how many valuable insights are hiding in plain sight?