Noticing What is Important: The Art and Science of Developing Acuity

The Art and Science of Acuity is noticing what is important, noting what else there is, while searching for what is new and different”

John McWhirter

“When you look at things, look at them.”
Milton H. Erickson MD

“You see but you do not notice”
Sherlock Holmes

“The Art of Knowing is
Knowing what you can ignore”


A core life skill is being able to notice what is happening in the world around you and in your own thinking and feeling. Only the things that we notice are available to work with, use and change.

Sensory acuity is the ability to notice what you are experiencing through your senses. The real skill is in noticing what is important, not just the raw sensory experience. This is well recognised in Education, NLP, many forms of therapy, business consultancy, in playing poker, and in the well-known statement form the fictional character of Sherlock Holmes. Holmes studied perfumes, ash, soils, and much more so that he could recognise what was in front of him. Dr Watson did not have these distinctions and could not experience the richness that Holmes experienced.

Having more distinctions gave Holmes another major advantage. The ability to recognise many more things actually makes it even easier to notice what you haven’t yet experienced, easier to notice new things. When many more things are recognised, new things stand out more. Developing your acuity for known things greatly helps you to identify unknown things!

The key to useful acuity is noticing what you are experiencing. The key to noticing is to have relevant distinctions. Professionals that create perfumes or whisky have greater distinctions for smells and tastes that the general public do not have. To be more effective in working with people we can equally benefit from more distinctions in the key areas of behaviour, thinking, and feeling.

Mindfulness is very useful but greatly limited if you do not have distinctions to notice. With more distinctions you can be more mindful. Knowing the differences between conscious, unconscious, and biological mind functions and recognising how they are interacting greatly expands what is available to manage and change.

Gathering information from clients relies heavily on asking questions and depends on the self-acuity of the client for quality information. If your client has more distinctions they can give you more useful information. If you have more distinctions you can notice what your client is doing, thinking, and feeling without asking questions.

Developmental Behavioural Modelling DBM® offers a unique range of distinctions and models that you can develop your acuity to notice directly what your client is thinking, feeling and doing. You can also teach your client new distinctions so that they can notice more of their experience. This will enrich their life experience and greatly improve their ability to provide useful information.

Higher levels of acuity enable us to notice the deeper processing involve in how we and our clients are managing our lives. Developing higher levels of acuity greatly increase how much of the world is available to experience, work with and enjoy. Advanced acuity also includes noticing what is not there.

DBM® offers thousands of new distinctions to notice more of the world; this includes distinctions for different kinds of nothing. DBM® also offers many skills and processes for you to learn how to keep developing new distinctions and how to organise and use what you notice.

In this experiential training participants will:
Develop multi-level acuity, self-acuity, and the ability to help others to develop acuity.
Experience many new distinctions from DBM® and recognise more things in the world.
Apply these new distinctions personally and professionally.
Appreciate more things in the world.

The syllabus will include many DBM® distinctions and models that greatly enhance how much you will be able to notice in the world. These will include:
Types of Sensory Processing
Types of Sub-Modalities
Types of Processing Preferences
Types of Distinctions
Types of Nothing
Types of Language Distinctions
Types of Feeling and Emotions
Types of Thinking
Four Types of Remembering
Four Types of Imagining
Four Types of Creating
Types of Self Managing
Types of Conflict
Types of responding to Problems