How’s your visual intelligence? Your whole life depends on it


the ability to see what’s there that others don’t,
to see what’s not there that should be, to see
the positives and the negatives, the opportunity,
the invention, the upside, the warning signs, the quickest way, the way out, the win.

This definition, from Amy Herman’s website, doesn’t refer to a superpower. Art historian Herman has been helping FBI agents, cops, CEOs, ER docs, and others develop this skill for the last 15 years under her Art of Perception program.

You’ll get a better sense of who your kids are by asking them to tell you one thing they noticed that day that was out of the ordinary.



What if you don’t save lives for a living? Fine-tuning your observational skills can help you do everything better from work to parenting. The best place to start is Herman’s book, “Visual Intelligence,” that teaches you how to pay attention to details so you can stay safe, save money or calm your kids.

We asked Herman for her five tips to harness visual intelligence right now:

  1. If you’re a parent, ask you kids to tell you one thing they noticed that day that was out of the ordinary, says Herman. “You’ll get a sense of what captures their attention and imagination.”
  2. At work, watch and listen to the dynamic in a group setting. Then, Herman suggests, compare what colleagues will voice in a team setting to what they express privately. This exercise will tell you “where there is common ground and where there are lapses in trust and confidence in colleagues, mission, or organization.”
  3. On and of social media, pause before you write, tweet, or speak. As Herman puts it, “the world is changing by the minute and there is simply no time for ambiguity or retraction. Say what you mean.”
  4. Overcome your biases by stepping back from assumptions before making them, Herman adds. If you don’t have enough information to make the assumption, she says, nix it or find another way to say it without overgeneralizing.
  5. Early on in a relationship, look for subtleties and nuances that indicate romantic compatibility. “Hone in on what is appealing and what’s not. Recognizing this early on lays the foundation for long-term happiness,” says Herman.

Snack On This Emotional Intelligence Quiz:
With questions like “Do books have even-numbered pages on the right or the left side?,” Herman’s quiz is both fun and challenging. Take the test HERE.

Feeling extra snacky?

Take a glimpse at how exactly art can help you analyze or watch Herman’s witty talk at Google.



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