Where Are You Smart?

“Some people can fix machines, some fix people, and some can play music.” 

Why are some people good at reading people, and other’s at reading the woods and terrain? According to a Howard Gardner, ‘intelligence’ or IQ, is not just one factor, a number that defines how smart you are. He has proposed a theory of multiple intelligences. Although it’s controversial, I like this approach. We all have different strengths and they are extremely important in how we learn and spend our life. Gardner claims there are eight distinct modalities or forms of intelligence*. The eight modalities are pictured below: 

Howard Gardner – He believes people have 8 different modalities of intelligence

So if you have long noticed that you live for your Friday night gig at the local bar playing the piano, or you long for your trips up North to the cabin and days out in the Boundary Waters, you may just have a Musical or Naturalistic form of intelligence. Consider the things you have done well in your life, the things that you were attracted to and enjoyed doing. These may well be your two or three ‘intelligences’. Consider how you can expand the use them in your life. 

Frames of Mind: the Theory of Multiple Intelligences”, Howard Gardner, 1986. 
Why is it important to know where you are smart? How about great life satisfaction and purpose. Too many people slave away at a job they don’t like, never have liked, and don’t do a very good job at it to boot. Knowing your strengths, the modalities that you excel at, enables you to naturally seek out and find meaningful work that comes naturally to you. Not everyone can put together a bookcase, explain snow tracks to a granddaughter, and not everyone can write a sonnet. Celebrate what you can do and do it with joy.