On and off for the past year I’ve been reading Sherlock Holmes, The Complete Novels and Stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. To put it mildly, I love Sherlock Holmes. I’m positive that Sherlock wouldn’t have had any of the same admiration towards me that I have for him, as he is incredibly sexist and thinks little of women and their ability. Nevertheless, I’m still obsessed.
I’ve watched movies and TV shows about Sherlock (I LOVE Benedict Cumberbatch in Sherlock almost as much as I love the original character of Sherlock) and can’t say that I’ve seen anyone more convincing than Jeremy Brett as a TV or film version of Sherlock Holmes and who he truly is as the original character created by Doyle (until recently, when Benedict Cumberbatch took on the role in BBC’s Sherlock).
What I love the most about Sherlock Holmes is hard to pinpoint, but I love that he is completely confident in his abilities and knows exactly what they are. Sherlock can come off as condescending, arrogant, and haughty, but he knows exactly what he is capable of and what he observes the people around him to be capable of. Therein lies the true remarkableness of Sherlock Holmes.
“He loved to lie in the very centre of five millions of people, with his filaments stretching out and running through them, responsive to every little rumour or suspicion of unsolved crime. Appreciation of nature found no place among his many gifts, and his only change was when he turned his mind from the evildoer of the town to track down his brother of the county.” –John Watson, page 663, “The Resident Patient”
I grew up shy, unsure of myself, and insecure. Until I stumbled upon different abilities that let me express myself and assured me that I had potential, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of myself. Track gave me a place to feed my ego. I was good, showed promise, and surprised myself and the people around me. Despite what seemed like never ending health setbacks, I felt like I had found a home.
Humor is another avenue I explored a lot and discovered to be a form of expression that came more and more naturally to me. When I was in elementary school, I would sit and listen to adult conversations and try to come up with one-liners, puns, jokes, anything that I thought might be funny (most of the time it wasn’t, but I tried). Now I find that I (and sometimes others) enjoy my wit and sense of humor. Seriously, if we can’t amuse ourselves and laugh at our own jokes, who will?
And of course, writing. Writing is a hard-earned skill I developed most significantly in high school. So many papers were met with low grades and requests to “expand” and answer “why?”. My freshman year meant realizing that I couldn’t just say something and not have any evidence to support it.
I say all this because I think it’s important to be egotistical and confident in our abilities. You shouldn’t be self-absorbed to the point of being ignorant or delusional, but rather in tune with your abilities and shortcomings so you know how to best utilize and maximize them. When I don’t feel good about myself, I can either look through the perspective of motivating myself in spite of defeat, or just let myself step back and know when I’ve reached my limits.
“’My dear Watson,’ said he, ‘I cannot agree with those who rank modesty among the virtues. To the logician all things should be seen exactly as they are, and to underestimate one’s self is as much a departure from truth as to exaggerate one’s own powers. When I say, therefore, that Mycroft has better powers of observation than I, you may take it that I am speaking the exact and literal truth.’” –Sherlock Holmes, page 683, “The Greek Interpreter”
Other quotes (trust me, I have more):
“Sherlock Holmes had listened to this long narrative with an intentness which showed me that his interest was keenly aroused. His face was as impassive as every, but his lids had drooped more heavily over his eyes, and his smoke had curled up more thickly from his pipe to emphasize each curious episode in the doctor’s tale.” P. 673
“Art in the blood is viable to take the strangest forms.” P.683