The Power of Your Multiple Intelligences

Much work has been done to explain the various Multiple Intelligences.

Research published argues that the usual view of human intelligence is far too narrow.

Standard IQ testing only tests Logical-Mathematical Intelligence and Linguistic Intelligence. These tests don’t help predict success or happiness in life.

Nor do they test the other intelligences. Let’s discuss these other intelligences in more detail.

Daniel Goleman teaches Emotional Intelligence in his book by the same name. He argues convincingly that Emotional Intelligence is a key factor in determining personal and professional success.

Goleman explains that individuals who are able to tap into self-awareness, self-discipline and empathy are usually happier, healthier and more successful personally and professionally.1

Before Daniel Goleman’s book, Howard Gardner did pioneering work on the theory of Multiple Intelligences in the early 1980’s.

Although the concept of several intelligences had existed for some time, Gardner's Multiple Intelligences brought fresh thoughts to the subject.

His book: “Frames of Mind” explains a non exhaustive list of human intelligences. Thomas Armstrong helped interpret these intelligences for the general population in his book “7 Kinds of Smart.” 2,3
They are:

Logical-Mathematical Intelligence — People who have this intelligence can apply it to do mathematical problems of varying complexity. It is also pattern recognition ability and applying a train of thought to get answers to questions. It is a key component of convergent thinking skills. It is first of the two intelligences that western academics evaluate using the usual IQ tests.

Linguistic Intelligence – This enables an individual to develop the ability to understand language, word speech, and the methods used for these. It is the second intelligence that western academics are evaluated with using the usual IQ tests.

Music Intelligence – This enables an individual to have an internal feel and sense for music. Ludwig van Beethoven's had this ability. He wrote beautiful music such as “Ode to Joy,” the 4th movement of his 9th symphony. Individuals who have music intelligence may or may not have a strong understanding of music theory.

Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence - This enables an individual to excel as an athlete such as sports player, dancer or gymnasts. Eye hand and body coordination are big factors in body kinesthetic intelligence.

Spatial-Intelligence – This intelligence provides the ability to see things spatially. It is an important aspect of an athlete to sense his environment during competition. A gymnast would be in a world of hurt if she didn’t know where the parallel bar was spatially during a flip. This is also a skill that good architects must have in order to see the spatial requirements of a structure that he is designing.

Interpersonal Intelligence – This enables an individual to interact and relate to others effectively. Daniel Goleman’s work on Emotional Intelligence explains this intelligence in depth.

Intrapersonal Intelligence – This is the intelligence of the inner-self. A person who can easily access his or her own feelings and emotional states by being introspective has intrapersonal intelligence. Utilizing this intelligence allows an individual to have an enriched and purposeful life.


Thomas Armstrong in his book "7 Kinds of Smart" says:

“The message is clear: IQ tests have been measuring something that might be more properly called schoolhouse giftedness, while real intelligence takes a much broader range of skills.”

Whether there are seven kinds of intelligences or more intelligences is not that crucial, nor is the possibility that there are subsets to any or all of these different types of intelligences.

What is important is that if there are many intelligences, (and I for one agree), then a whole new world of opportunities awaits those who are willing to learn their true strengths and passions in life.

Formal schooling puts strong emphasis on Logical-Mathematical and some Linguistic intelligence.

Musical Intelligence (music class), Body Kinesthetic and Spatial-Intelligence (gym), Interpersonal Intelligence (intertwined in all classes—getting along with others), and Intrapersonal Intelligence (not taught much) are considered lower priority intelligences in our schools.

Logical-Mathematical and Linguistic intelligences are clearly important. However, knowing about and exploring your other multiple intelligences is beneficial as well.


The Reasons People Don't Pursue Their Natural Intelligences

There are several reasons people are held back from pursuing their most prominent intelligences in school and at work. However, there are resources to learn about them and how they can be pursued.

1. The formalized school systems is lacking a standardized multiple intelligences tests.

A standardized multiple intelligence test would open up wonderful worlds of opportunities for wanting students. It might be created using some of the ideas from Gardner's Multiple Intelligences.

2. Peer, teacher, parent pressures.

These pressures tend to focus on math, science and linguistics skills. As a critical thinker you have the ability to investigate your own multiple intelligences.

3. Not knowing your true abilities.

Testing is available to discover your strengths in the other areas of intelligence. You can do your own investigation to locate testing for multiple intelligences using critical thinking skills.

4. The path to a successful career based on other intelligences isn't as clear as it is for logic, math, science and linguistics careers.

Discovering possible career opportunities taking advantage of other types of intelligences can be found using critical thinking investigation on the internet.

5. Other career pays more.

It is possible to pursue your various intelligences while working a full-time career. Knowing that you possess other intelligences and the ability to pursue your natural gifts (full or part time) can be a liberating experience and a spiritual awakening!

1 Goleman, Daniel. Emotional Intelligence—Why it can matter more than IQ (Bantam Books, New York, NY, 1994).

2 Gardner, Howard. Frames of Mind—The Theory of Multiple Intelligences (Basic Books New York, NY, 1993).

3 Armstrong, Thomas. 7 Kinds of Smart—Identifying and Developing Your Many Intelligences (Penguin Books, New York, NY, 1993).

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