It is possible to break free from intellectual labels if you want. And it’s totally possible to develop what psychologist, Carol Dweck, refers to as a growth mindset to enhance your brilliance.
You’ve probably been subject, at some point in your life, to a test of “Intelligence Quotient” (IQ). It’s a test that measures the ratio of your mental age to your chronological age.
Scientists argue that tests like these favor people with logical and mathematical abilities . . . and disregard the intelligence of people with artistic, linguistic, musical, or interpersonal skills. Can you believe that?
Since people are complex and multi-dimensional, scientists argue, so should be measures of their intelligence.
And yeah, it’s true most of us a have a few dominant types of smart that we pursue or are highly inclined to explore. Still, there’s always room for improvement, right? Why not make it a point to explore all the intellectual areas and expand your mind?
Remember when you were a kid, and you were asked what you wanted to be when you grew up? You were probably around five years old. Maybe said you wanted to be an astronaut, a veterinarian, or something that resembled your Halloween costume for that year. It was most likely cute, or funny, or something ridiculous—maybe it was a few different things . . .
Then, as we continued to “grow up,” thoughts about the financial future and what career path we should choose began to take hold. We learned we are supposed to be really good at one thing and stick to it; make a lucrative career out of it. It was as if making our own decisions was out of the question.
Sadly, this conditioned thought pattern (fixed mindset) can be limiting and may hold us captive in false fears. And as you probably already know, self-doubt and fear keep you from accomplishing your goals and dreams.
So how do we harness a growth mindset versus getting stuck in a static one? For one, we must keep acquiring new knowledge and developing different skills . . . This keeps us open to facing new challenges, embracing change, persisting in the face of setbacks, and learning from criticism so that we can persevere in life.
Here are the 8 varieties of intelligence that Harvard scientist, Howard Gardner discovered—after many years of research—and ways to incorporate them into your life.
The linguistic ninjas who score high in verbal-linguistic intelligence are highly sensitive to the sound, meaning, and order (syntax) of words.
They love to talk, listen, read, and write; they often become literary luminaries, foreign language translators, or public speakers.
Is this an area where you could improve your knowledge and skills? Want to expand your mind in this realm of intelligence?
Write a poem full of intense imagery and unique wordplay and recite it during an open mic night at your local cafe or pub. If that doesn’t jive with you, read up on current events or watch a philosophical film and engage a Verbal-Linguistic friend in a lively discussion.
This is the category of intelligence most widely measured by the old-school IQ tests. People who score high on this scale tend to have strong abilities in (surprise!) mathematics, and love to solve problems in the context of other complex systems.
They are often much more logical than emotional . . . and think things through in a sequential pattern.
If you have a high logical-mathematical intelligence, you might be interested in a career in Information Technology, Software Engineering, or a science such as Biology.
If you tend to have many dull moments when attempting to think logically or balance your checking account . . . start to work on puzzles, break ciphers, or solve riddles.
And if you’re feeling really brave, take a gadget (non-essential to your daily life) apart and try to figure out how it works . . . then put it back together again.
You got this. It just takes a little practice. And when or if you get frustrated, just set it aside and come back to it later (or not). This should be a stress-free experience.
These guys are all the rage because they understand and create music. They’re the singers and dancers, instrumentalists, musicians, and composers.
If you want to boost your musical intelligence, find yourself a hand drum and learn to play! You can also dance around (when no one is looking if you’re shy) to your favorite music.
Do you know what fighter pilots and graphic designers have in common? To perform their jobs well, they must be able to visualize the world they are navigating precisely. For example, a Military Flight Aptitude test measure one’s ability to map 2-D images in 3-D space.
People with high visual-spatial intelligence have highly-tuned depth perception and a honed talent for imagining layouts based on data points or images.
People with this special brand of IQ LOVE to use their bodies. They make excellent athletes, performers, and dancers.
To enhance your kinesthetic intelligence, get a move on! Learn to dribble a soccer or basketball, or take a ballet or hip-hop dance class. Just get out there and express yourself, any physical activity will do the trick.
These folks are natural-born diplomats.
They are sensitive the needs of other people . . . and are very good at negotiation to find that compromise that will work for everyone concerned.
Interpersonally intelligent people are very perceptive of what motivates others—their moods, desires, and ambitions. They are excellent communicators and listeners who are known for driving a tough bargain. They often become leaders, therapists, or politicians.
To build mastery in your interpersonal skill set, you can teach a friend something you know a lot about, engage with others in conversations and debates, or coach a junior sports team.
Just as people with intrapersonal intelligence, intrapersonal smart people have high Emotional Intelligence (EQ). Those who score well on the intrapersonal scale are adroit at perceiving and understanding their emotions, values, and philosophy of life.
They know how to set goals and maintain the discipline it takes to achieve them, by being accountable to themselves.
They are deep thinkers who often seek solitude. And they often become spiritual leaders, writers, and/or inventors.
You can reach higher levels of intrapersonal intelligence all by yourself. Write in a journal, practice mindfulness, and read books of poetry and philosophy.
These are the people who know the names of most all flowers, trees, insects, and birds. They love to be in nature either hiking, climbing mountains, or working on ecological projects.
They see patterns and connections throughout the universe, and tend to be spiritual . . . a result of a profound connection to the natural world.
They make excellent environmentalists, ecologists, zoologists, or members of the forestry service.
To explore your naturalist side . . . go on a backpacking trip, take a long walk on the beach, or lie down on your back to watch the clouds drift by. What animals do you see?
Isn’t it a relief to know you can still be smart, no matter how frazzled you become in the face of a differential equation? Now, are you ready to achieve greatness and reach your full potential?
When we open up to the possibilities of developing multiple forms of intelligence, entire worlds begin to present themselves. You’ll see. As you explore these eight areas, remember that you are dabbling in new skills . . . stuff that may take the time to take-off or be lucrative. And if what you’re doing doesn’t float your boat, you have the freedom to explore something else.
Enjoy the journey through your highly intelligent, multi-faceted mind!
Challenge yourself all the time. . . and don’t just praise intelligence or talent, praise the process.
Please comment below with what types of intelligence you’d like to develop. And share this information with other brilliant people! We’d love to hear from you.
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NeuroGym Team: NeuroGym’s Team of experts consists of neuroscientists, researchers, and staff who are enthusiasts in their fields. The team is committed to making a difference in the lives of others by sharing the latest scientific findings to help you change your life by understanding and using the mindset, skill set and action set to change your brain.