Personal Development

There are Many Kinds of SMART: Discover Your Hidden Genius

Many people falsely talk about ‘smart’ as if there is only one kind of smart. If you found a new cure for a type of cancer or if you invented something like the smartphone or the drone, you are more likely to be considered a genius. The bias to STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) is definitely there. Sometimes, we will widen the circle to include philosophers like Aristotle and Spinoza. However, we need to widen our scope of what intelligence is.

Howard Gardner, an American psychologist and Harvard graduate, came up with the theory of multiple intelligences and first presented it in his book, Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences (1983). In it he states that IQ tests were biased towards linguistic, logic and spatial abilities. He added musical, bodily/kinesthetic, interpersonal and intrapersonal in his first book, and naturalistic later on. However, there are literally thousands of different combinations and permutations of intelligence. When you take any area and dive deep to develop it to its full potential, it can reveal its genius.

There are Many Kinds of SMART: Discover Your Hidden Genius

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What's Your Superpower?

This includes areas of intelligence and careers such as:

Multiple Intelligences

  1. Linguistic: Ways of talking – articulating, command of the language you speak, selling.
  2. Logic: Ways of thinking – logic, political structures, inductive reasoning, deductive reasoning, visionary or big picture thinking, innovating.
  3. Spatial: Design - interior design, landscaping.
  4. Musical: Used for healing, enhancing environments, entertaining, uplifting.
  5. Bodily/kinesthetic: Ways of moving - gross and fine motor skills – professional athletes, cutting precious stones, yoga instructing, writing.
  6. Interpersonal: Managing people, influence, sales.
  7. Intrapersonal: Philosophies, meditation.
  8. Naturalistic: Gardening, cooking, growing native plants, leading nature hikes and living in tune with the natural environment.

Developing any one of our senses to the highest level

  1. Taste: Wine tasting, food critic, chef.
  2. Smell: aromatherapist, perfumer, sommelier.
  3. Touch: Healing touch therapies, massage.
  4. Sight: Architecture, art.
  5. Hearing: Speech therapy, orchestra conductor, recording studio producer.

Areas that can fit under several intelligences

  1. Advertising & marketing
  2. Ways of teaching
  3. Emotional intelligence – delayed gratification, leadership, psychology, empathy
  4. Research & Detail work
  5. Understanding money and wealth, investing

Combining “Intelligences"

  1. Inductive reasoning plus innovation eg, inventing a better widget e.g., lawn chair or protein bar or dog leash.       
  2. Design plus Empathy - The User eXperience
  3. Advertising and Emotional intelligence – emotional marketing

Instead of thinking of terms of WHO in your circle is smart, begin looking for WHAT each person’s “smarts” are. I encourage you to start the next conversation you have with your friends with the question:

“What are your smarts?” (or “What are your superpowers?” or “What is your genius?”).

If you don’t come up with something for everyone, that doesn’t mean that person isn’t smart, it usually means that the rest of the group is thinking too narrowly. Get creative. You need to begin thinking outside the old archaic-school-paradigm box, to come up with better answers.

Think of it like treasure hunting.

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Dr Sam Gerstein
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Dr Sam Gerstein
Medical Doctor, Business Strategy Coach, EntrepreneurNOW Network
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Featured Uplyrn Expert
Dr Sam Gerstein
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