What is intelligence?
The traditional view of intelligence is that IQ is genetic, and it cannot be changed by life experiences, and our destiny is limited by these aptitudes. What we see in life are quite different, people with high IQ flounder while people with modest IQ flourish. It is not limited to what we scored on a standardized test instead, it often lies in our abilities to motivate others, self-control, zeal and persistence. The open secret is the relative inability of SAT scores or grades to predict who will succeed in life. Studies have shown IQ contributes about 20% to the factors that determine success which leaves 80% to other factors.
Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change. Stephen Hawkins
In their book The Bell Curve Charles Murray and Richard Herrnstein write a freshman with a 500 SAT score would be advised not to set his mind on becoming a mathematician, but he could run a successful business and make millions of dollars or become a U.S. Senator, they suggest the result of the test score is dwarfed by the other skills he brings to life. While those with the traditional vision of IQ cling to the view that it cannot change and determines how life will play out for us, we see it every day in life that there are other emotional competencies which also play a powerful role in how our life unfolds.
Before we discover the world we need to discover ourselves and build a belief in our competence to deal with it. We can alter our perspective of looking for a job to finding clients. If we can find customers we can be sure we have a marketable skill and we are employable, this requires self-confidence, a salable skill and social intelligence. If you are wondering how this ties in with various categories of intelligence, well, self-reflection will allow you to get a deeper understanding of your abilities and talents which will help you in life. Understanding which of these faculties you possess and then cultivate them.
Types of intelligence
Howard Gardner produced a list of different kinds of intelligences. The concept was a revelation at the time although it seems obvious now. To this list we can also add Daniel Goleman’s emotional intelligence. Actually we can make our own list from our experiences, and as we name the various intelligences we realize they can be learned.
Factual -The ability to learn and remember facts
Numerical – The ability to deal with numbers
Analytical – The ability to conceptualize
A combination of these three categories of intelligence will help you pass most tests and exams and maybe even get you to be called smart. We also have the following list derived from Gardners findings.
Linguistic – The capabilities to use language to express and communicate what’s on your mind and understand other people.
Spatial – The ability to recognize patterns and navigate the spatial world, this ability applies to large and circumscribed world. Artist, pilots, chess players all have this capability.
Athletic – This most times are considered a talent and not recognized as intelligence. This ability utilizes your entire body to perform or solve a problem.
Intuitive – The ability to sense and see what may not be immediately obvious.
Emotional – Self-awareness, self-control, self-motivation is more important in life than most other faculties. Goleman in his book quotes Aristotle “Anyone can get angry-that is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, for the right purpose, at the right time, and in the right way – is not easy.”
Musical – Being able to recognize musical patterns and see relationships between sound and feeling. People with this skill can not only remember the music but cannot get it out of their mind.
Interpersonal – The ability to do things through and with others. This would be a critical skill for salespeople, teachers or anyone else who has to move people to take action.
The list will no doubt grow with time as we discover other categories. The precise names are not as significant as the meaning and message behind the list that we have access to these capabilities, and we can use them to make our contribution to the world. We cannot prove, but we can assume we all start out with some degree of one or more of these intelligences. We can also understand by observing people later in life that one particular set is not any more important than any other. All of them can be developed and can lead to a successful life.