I love the BBC show Sherlock. Besides the fact that it stars the incredibly talented Benedict Cumberbatch, it is a fantastic modern interpretation of Conan Doyle’s original works. Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat have done a phenomenal job with the writing and cinematography style of the series.
Incidentally, Sherlock Holmes and John Watson serve as a fantastic example of insightfulness, a key trait in strong communicators. Where they differ, in on what part of the trait they exhibit
Sherlock: Sherlock is knowledge. The man knows practically everything (or at least everything useful to him… trifles like the earth revolving around the sun don’t concern his work as a consulting detective and are forgotten). In addition to knowing practically everything of use, he perceives details of a scene down to the minutest of details. It’s what makes him so good at his work – the ability to not only pick out the faintest of details, but see how that detail is connected to ten others and how together, they create a whole picture.
This perceptive however does not extend to Sherlock’s relations with people unfortunately. He so brilliant, but utterly inept at human interactions. While his ability to read people purely from an academic perspective, knowing when to speak and when to remain quiet is something he is incapable of. For example, this scene.
… He simply doesn’t realize (or chooses not to realize) he should remain quiet and keep his observations to himself
That being said, being able to read people and pick out specific details is crucial in communication. If I noticed a quarter of what Sherlock does, I would feel quite observant.
John: What Sherlock lacks in the humanity/ sincerity aspects of insightfulness, John makes up for. He may not pick out minutia the same way as Sherlock, but John picks out people and truly cares deeply for those around him. Sherlock expresses this quality very well here. Without John, Sherlock would be a far darker individual and not at all caring of those around him.
John has empathy in spades, something else vital to productive communication, the ability to stand in another’s shoes.
JohnLock: What stands out in Sherlock is how well Sherlock and John go together. They truly are best friends, even if Sherlock seems a bit distant or disinterested at times. In the world of fan fiction, they are often referred to as JohnLock, and many interesting (and often beyond PG-13) stories have been written about their relationship. But take this name, JohnLock, as s combination of their respective insightful traits, and we get a far fuller version of the term. In some ways, Sherlock and John are just two sides of the same coin. Where Sherlock has perceptions into the world around him and people’s habits, John notices the person themselves and really cares about them. Both parts are necessary for good communication. Noticing everything as Sherlock does, without a human filter will quickly distance you from others, breaking more connections than it creates. It’s no good being the most perceptive person in the room if your ability to effectively relate knowledge to those around you is lacking. The same can be said for John (although he certainly is perceptive as well). Being all feeling, we may have the best of intentions but end up completely off base without the needed information.
So strive to be perceptive and read the world around you, just not at the expense of reducing those in it to just another observation. And watch Sherlock. It’s truly a fantastic show. And on Netflix.