We All Have Genius Within Us
What is yours?
Albert Einstein was attributed with saying
Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.
Intelligence is a word that gets thrown around a lot. When someone tests well, or gets good grades we say they are intelligent. When someone blows us away with a profound explanation of a complex topic, we say they are intelligent. The main way of determining one’s intelligence has been measured by IQ tests.
The way we view intelligence in our current paradigm is shifting. For a long time we have followed the blueprint set by schools. This is an incomplete model, as it puts a heavy focus on memory and obtaining a grade. Rather than comprehension and developing skills to think critically.
It puts a heavy reliance on things like math and science. Yet at the same time ignores other forms of intelligence such as EQ (emotional intelligence).
Before diving into other types of intelligence I believe it is important to look at what intelligence is.
What Does Intelligence Mean?
The word comes from the Latin, intelligentia, meaning understanding, knowledge,or power of discerning.
Understand what exactly? We can look at intelligence as comprehending the idea, the essence or archetype, of an object (whether physical or immaterial).
This opens up the realm of intelligence beyond memorizing things in school, or repeating what we heard or saw from someone else.
It’s about the comprehension and understanding.
Intelligence isn’t just limited to humans either.
This can keep going out further. There are studies into the intelligence of plants, animals, fungi, cells, and even the idea that the universe itself is intelligent (UI — Universal Intelligence).
Not to mention the role artificial intelligence is playing in the digital world.
So, for the sake of brevity, let’s look at different types of human intelligence that manifest themselves.
Theory of Multiple Intelligences
Howard Gardner, an American Psychologist, presented the theory for the first time in 1983, in the book Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences.
His website on the theory states
The Theory of Multiple Intelligences is a critique of the standard psychological view of intellect: there is a single intelligence, adequately measured by IQ or other short answer tests. Instead, on the basis of evidence from disparate sources, the theory claims that human beings have a number of relatively discrete intellectual capacities. IQ tests assess linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligence, and sometimes spatial intelligence; and they are a reasonably good predictor of who will do well in a 20th (note: Not necessarily a 21st) century secular school. Humans, however, have several other significant intellectual capacities.
Intelligences can be analogized to computers. Belief in a singular intelligence implies that humans possess a single general purpose computer, which can perform well (high IQ), average (normal IQ) or poorly (low IQ). Multiple intelligences theory implies that human beings possess several relatively independent computers; strength in one computer does not predict strength (or weakness) with other computers.
Gardner specified eight types of intelligence, **with the possibility of a ninth. Rather than just an overarching singular intelligence.
9 Types of Intelligence
*People don’t just have one of these. Rather it is a mix. Some being stronger or weaker than others*
1. Spatial Intelligence (Picture Smart)
Spatial intelligence is the ability to conceptualize and navigate spatial dimensions.
Key characteristics include mental imagery, spatial reasoning, image manipulation, graphic and artistic skills, and an active imagination. These individuals are often good with directions, charts, and pictures.
Useful for professions such as sailors, pilots, chess players, sculptors, painters, engineers and architects.
These individuals enjoy reading, puzzles, painting, drawing, and charting maps.
2. Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence (Body Smart)
Bodily kinesthetic intelligence is the capacity to manipulate one’s own body and use a variety of physical skills.
Key characteristics involves a sense of timing and the perfection of skills through the mind–body connection. Prefer doing, rather than hearing or seeing. People with this intelligence have excellent hand-eye coordination and dexterity.
Useful for athletes, builders, surgeons, and crafts people.
These individuals enjoy sports, dancing, and creating with their hands.
3. Musical Intelligence (Music Smart)
Musical intelligence is the capacity to discern pitch, rhythm, timbre, and tone.
Key characteristics involve the ability to recognize, create, reproduce, and reflect on music, sound, rhythm, tone, and structure. People with this intelligence are often very sensitive listeners.
Useful for musicians, singers, composers, and music teachers.
These individuals enjoy listen to, and play instruments, singing, and composing lyrics (We all have that friend that can pick up any instrument and instantly play it).
4. Linguistic Intelligence (Word Smart)
Linguistic intelligence is the ability to think in words and to use language to express and appreciate complex meanings.
Key characteristics involve understanding the order and meaning of words and symbols, and to reflect on our use of language. People with this intelligence are able to use words well, both written and spoken.
Useful for writers, public speakers, and poets.
These individuals enjoy writing, speaking, debating, reading, and storytelling.
5. Logical-Mathematical Intelligence (Number Smart)
Logical-mathematical intelligence is the ability to conceptualize, calculate, quantify, consider propositions and hypotheses, and carry out complete mathematical operations.
Key characteristics involve reasoning, pattern recognition, analyze problems, think conceptually about numbers, and problem solving. People with this intelligence think abstractly, like conducting scientific experiments, and can solve complex problems.
Useful for computer programmer, scientist, mathematician, and accountants.
These individuals enjoy like solving math problems, abstract ideas, and testing their hypotheses about the world.
6. Interpersonal Intelligence (Social Smart)
Interpersonal intelligence is the ability to understand and interact effectively with others.
Key characteristics involve picking up on the moods of others. Their emotions, motivations, intentions, and the subtitles as they change. People with this intelligence are excellent negotiators and skilled at nonverbal communication.
Useful for psychologist, philosopher, counselor, and salesmen.
These individuals enjoy time with others, seeing things from different perspectives, conflict resolution, and creating positive relationships.
7. Intrapersonal Intelligence (Self Smart)
Intrapersonal intelligence is the capacity to understand oneself and one’s thoughts and feelings.
Key characteristics involves not only an appreciation of the self, but also of the human condition. These individuals love introspection and self-reflection.
Useful for philosophers, writers, and spiritual leaders.
These individuals enjoy time alone, daydreaming, understanding their motivation for why they do things and their feelings.
8. Naturalist Intelligence (Nature Smart)
Naturalist intelligence designates the human ability to discriminate among living things (plants, fungi, animals, etc).
Key characteristics involve seeing patterns in the way that nature works. This ability was of great importance in our evolutionary past as hunters, gatherers, and farmers.
Useful for botanist, biologist, conservationist, gardeners, chefs, etc.
These individuals are known to be highly sensitive to the environment and natural world. They enjoy hiking, camping, and being with nature.
**9. Existential Intelligence (Life Smart)
Existential intelligence can be defined as the ability to be sensitive to, or have the capacity for, conceptualizing or tackling deeper or larger questions about human existence.
Key characteristics involve contemplating the deeper questions of life such as what is death? Why am I/we here? What does it mean to be human? What is my purpose?
Useful for yogis, spiritual teachers, shamans, and anyone else that wants to understand themselves and the nature of reality.
These individuals are the old souls. They spend their time meditating and exploring their curiosities.
This is by no means and extensive list. Use it as a guideline to see which ones you see a strong connection within yourself, and others that you don’t. You are not just one thing, and this new model of intelligence allows us to understand more about human intelligence.
Know Your Self
Having a better understanding of ourselves allows for more empowerment and acceptance within ourselves.
I was “good” at school. Graduated both high school and college with honors. Did what I was supposed to getting good grades. But I never felt intelligent.
This is also a point that a piece of paper does not make you smart
It wasn’t until I left school behind I started to really see the innate intelligence that I had. Reminding me of another quote I came across that has been attributed to Einstein as well.
Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.
I know myself. I am extremely emotionally intelligent. Both of my own, and others as well. I understand people. I have often spooked friends, family, and strangers by the depth by which I listen and observe them.
I am existentially curious. I am often daydreaming. Meditating, sitting with the deeper questions of life. What is the potential of human beings? What defines a human being? What are beliefs, thoughts, ideas?
I am existentially, intrapersonally, and interpersonally intelligent.
I am not that great at driving big vehicles. Really driving all together. It makes me uncomfortable. I walk a lot of places, or ride a bike.
I know my weaknesses as well. I have never been a great cook, and I need to balance my deep seeking headiness with some better grounded approaches.
One of my friends and I have some good talks every couple of months. I start talking about deep philosophical perspectives on life, health, and the state of the world.
He calls me intelligent, yet at the same time I call him intelligent because he is an amazing cook. Operates bulldozers, backhoes, and graders. He is also really funny and socially smart.
We are all smart in some way.
There Is No One Size Fits All
I’ve come to move beyond the notion that a doctor is MORE intelligent than a cook. Intelligence is not just one thing. I am not the best with words, grammar, and conventional writing methods. But I love writing and expressing ideas from my deep perspective.
That doesn’t make me less intelligent than someone else. It just shows me what areas I can choose to work on if I decide.
Before you measure intelligence, observe how you are defining it
We can constantly improve areas of our lives, but to compare and start using false narratives of “more or less intelligent” (smarter, dumber, etc.) puts things into a superficial dichotomy.
Know your genius, share that part. Work on the rest. But don’t compare your own genius to somebody else.
There will never be another you in all of existence. The combination of beliefs, experiences, intelligences, and present moments will never be repeated this way again.
Honor that. Live that. Share that by living that.
It’s an injustice to try and be a copy when we are all originals.