When you think about intelligence, what comes to mind? Hearing a lecture? Reading a book? Taking a class? While these are great strategies for learning, taking a minute to think about your own intellectual strengths and weaknesses can help you be intentional in your quest for lifelong learning.
Do you think only certain people are intelligent and other are not? Harvard professor Dr. Howard Gardner identifies multiple types of intelligence that each individual has. “The basic idea is simplicity itself. A belief in a single intelligence assumes that we have one central, all-purpose computer—and it determines how well we perform in every sector of life,” Dr. Gardner wrote in a 2013 Washington Post column. “In contrast, a belief in multiple intelligences assumes that we have a number of relatively autonomous computers—one that computes linguistic information, another spatial information, another musical information, another information about other people, and so on.”
On MultipleIntelligenceOasis.org, Dr. Gardner suggests the following types of intelligence:
- Visual-Spatial – Focusing on physical space (such as reading maps, creating structures or playing chess).
- Kinesthetic – Using one’s body to solve problems or create products (such as dancing or athletics).
- Musical – Having sensitivity to rhythm, pitch, meter, tone, melody and timbre (such as playing or writing music).
- Linguistic (or Language Intelligence) – Having a sensitivity to the use of words, including the sounds and inflections (needed in writing or public speaking).
- Logical-Mathematical – Using calculations and reasoning to see patterns and relationships in areas such as math or science.
- Interpersonal (or Social Intelligence) – Interacting effectively through sensitivity to another person’s moods, feelings and motivations.
- Intrapersonal – Having a sensitivity to one’s own interests, goals, inner feelings and intuition.
- Naturalistic – Having the ability to identify different plants or nature formations, which can be useful for gardening or birdwatching.
To assess your intellectual strengths, think about where you shine. For instance, I’m really strong in linguistic, intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligences, but can struggle in logical-mathematical and musical areas. It doesn’t mean that I won’t be able to learn an instrument or calculate statistics; it just means I have to work a bit harder (which isn’t always a bad thing). Therefore, I’d encourage you to try a variety of new experiences instead of just focusing on areas that seem to come naturally. Know that the work you put into these lifelong learning efforts will pay off in ways that you can’t predict when you initially start!
P.S. – Be sure to watch for a new Weekend Wonderings that will be published this Friday!