How Bright Are You? The Multiple Intelligences Theory

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Howard Gardner established his Multiple Intelligences Theory in a 1993 book called Frames of Mind.

A decade of coaching kids and adults has shown me that everyone is intelligent in their own way. Intelligence is not only about reason and logic. There are many types of intelligence. Such notion grew in popularity thanks to Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences Theory. According to Gardner, we are not born with a finite amount of intelligence. There is more to intelligence than the so valued cognitive abilities. This new approach to intelligence has contributed to more supportive school environments.

Gardner proposes eight types of intelligence. These include linguistic intelligence, logical/mathematical intelligence, spatial intelligence, bodily-kinesthetic intelligence, musical intelligence, interpersonal intelligence, intrapersonal intelligence, and naturalist intelligence. Theoretically, we all have these intelligences. Some of us have some types more developed than others, based on genetics and experience.

The idea that human beings have multiple intelligences promotes diversity and individuality. We can’t assess intelligence as an absolute. John may be good at reasoning and not so good at managing relationships with people. Peter may be good at dancing and not so good at math. Mathew can be good both at reasoning and handling people but not so good at dancing. Can we say one of them is less intelligent than the other? I refuse to say we can. Different situations and tasks require different types of intelligence.

Not being limited to the amount of intelligence we are born with allows us to grow and expand many assets. I’d say this is personal growth. If your aim is to evolve, you can’t be stuck with the idea that you are only good at one thing and that thing only. That’s a limiting belief you must get rid of. If you’re good at reasoning and awful with people, you can learn how to deal better with people.

I was never a sports person, for instance. This means I had very little bodily-kinesthetic intelligence. One of my goals has been to be physically active though. It doesn’t come naturally to me but it’s part of my personal development plan. It’s linked to my health and wellbeing goals. What do I do then? I make this type of intelligence a priority. I search for ways I can develop it further. I’ve tried jogging, yoga, pilates, and even body-building. There are other types of intelligence I’m not strong either. I’m committed to developing them too, one step at a time.

Now let’s have a closer look at each type of intelligence proposed by Howard Gardner.


Linguistic Intelligence

This type of intelligence comprises skills in both spoken and written words. It deals with being sensitive to what people say but also to the way you express yourself. Learning new languages or using communication are examples of this type of intelligence.

Examples of people with high linguistic intelligence:
Shakespeare, Oprah, Tony Robbins

Examples of careers:
Authors, Speakers, Lawyers, Journalists


Logical Mathematical Intelligence

This type of intelligence involves approaching problems using logic and mathematical operations. These skills are usually associated with research and science.

Examples of people with high LM intelligence:
Albert Einstein, John Nash, Stephen Hawking

Examples of careers:
Scientist, Accountant, Computer Analyst, Mathematician

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