What Is Intelligence?

Are you book smart, good at math, or a logic problem pro?  If so, you are likely labeled as intelligent.  We see people with a command of language, numbers, or puzzles as highly valued in society.

But is this definition of intelligence too limiting?  Could there be different ways to measure the capacity of a brain?

Dr. Howard Gardner, professor of education at Harvard University, argues in his theory of multiple intelligences that there are eight different intelligences.  They are:

  • Linguistic intelligence (“word smart”)
  • Logical-mathematical intelligence (“number/reasoning smart”)
  • Spatial intelligence (“picture smart”)
  • Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence (“body smart”)
  • Musical intelligence (“music smart”)
  • Interpersonal intelligence (“people smart”)
  • Intrapersonal intelligence (“self smart”)
  • Naturalist intelligence (“nature smart”)

What is intelligence?  How could society benefit from a broader view of what it means to be smart?  How would we be different?  On a personal level, how are you smart?  (Traditional intelligences are okay too.)

Related questions: How Do You Learn? How Are You Special?  When Is It Useful To Fail?

What Makes You Curious?

Maintaining a sense of curiosity can make your life more interesting. Being curious can help you maintain wonder. It can help you appreciate life. It can help you learn more.

In addition, there is a lot to learn. The world is a wonderfully complicated place. From human behavior to the natural world, from the microscopic to the cosmic. There is more in this world to be curious about than there are people to wonder about it.

However, what topics pique your interest can vary wildly. What you were exposed to at a young age may have helped determine your interest. Or perhaps your family’s interests may be yours as well. Thought leaders, like teachers or politicians, can help set a life course. For example, after President Kennedy challenged the U.S. to put a man on the moon, children all across the country went into science programs.

Thinking about and expressing those things that make you curious can help you to lead a more fulfilled life. In other words, choosing a career or even a hobby based on what fascinates you can make your life better.

There are seven to eight billion people on this planet, and each one has a unique set of interests.

What are yours? What makes you curious?

Related questions: Why are we fascinated with the unknown? How do you learn? What makes you the happiest? What is your favorite Intellectual Roundtable question?

What Are You Doing To Make The World A Better Place?

It’s not a stretch to say that each one of wants to live in a better world. We want to see an improvement to our current circumstance.

Perhaps that means better for you personally, with a better job or a better house. Maybe you want better for your family and loved ones. Or maybe you hope for a better world for humanity in general, with longer life spans and better overall health.

However, things don’t get better unless someone drives that improvement. You can hope that you are the beneficiary of the work of someone else, but to see change, positive change, in your life you have to work at it.

Maybe that means that you need to ask your boss for a raise. Or perhaps you attend a march for a cause you believe in. You might attend a city council meeting, or donate money to a charity.

There are lots of ways to affect change, but first you need to know what improvement you want to see. Then you must take some action if you really want things to get better. Be the change you want to see in the world.

So what do you do? What actions do you take, what conversations are you a part of, what organizations do you join? What do you do to make the world a better place?

Related questions: How can we turn ideas into actions? What are our responsibilities to others? How do you define success? What are you optimistic about? Is it a cruel world?