What is the nature of intelligence? Is it measured by IQ or street-smarts? This blog post was inspired by Sir Ken Robinson’s fantastic book The Element (UK Amazon link) (US Amazon link) which I really urge you to get (but get your own copy, I’m still reading mine). However, if you are too tight-fisted – er, I mean too busy – to invest in it, you can watch the TED talk that started it off.
What is Your IQ?
Actually, I don’t care. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m fascinated by your intelligence, but I just don’t care about IQ scores. Not since I studied Sociology at school and I discovered how inadequate IQ tests are as a measure of intelligence. So next time your friend from Mensa asks how you’re doing tell them to keep on trucking past.
It’s All About Diversity
According to Harvard psychologist, Howard Gardner there are numerous different intelligences. These include linguistic, musical, mathematical, spatial, kinaesthetic, inter-personal and intra-personal intelligence. We all have each of them, but in differing amounts. The combination is the key. This could explain why some people seem to have an aptitude for certain things such as writing and music but suck at mathematics.
How Are You Intelligent?
So when I ask “how are you intelligent?” please understand that I’m not impugning your mental prowess. I really want to know. What is the particular balance of intelligences that make you up? We’re all a different combination, unique and fascinating.
The Next Step
Why is this so important? Possibly, it may not be important for you. I don’t know what your life is like. But if you have any contact with other humans, particularly if your career relies on your ability to influence them, it’s essential to understand this. If you lead people or work in sales, marketing, customer care or retail this is truly vital stuff. Next time you need to persuade or influence anyone, try to understand what their balance of intelligences is. Then modify your behaviour and language to suit. Communicate with them based on that rather than just your own combination and you’re likely to get on a lot more successfully.