Not too long in the past when people talk about intelligence, we thought of it as being purely academic and measured by things like grades and awards.
Gone are the days when the only way to prove you were smart was by high IQ test results, winning a Nobel Prize, and getting straight As in school. Nowadays, we understand that intelligence can be found in all sorts of areas – from social skills to emotional intelligence to creative thinking.
And you don’t have to feel like you don’t fit the traditional mold of what it means to be smart. There are all sorts of ways to find and develop your unique type of intelligence. And who knows, maybe you’ll even discover a new talent or passion that you never knew you had.
Here are 9 intelligence type, feel free to explore and embrace your own unique form of intelligence as this can be honed and developed throughout your life.
What is an Intelligence Type?
Think of intelligence as a specific cognitive ability or skill that each person has. It indicates a person’s strengths and areas of potential development and suggests ways we can best learn and excel. It’s a way of describing how a person can understand and make sense of their environment, and the skills they have to solve problems and create new ideas.
There are different theories about how many types of intelligence exist, but one of the most well-known is Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences. In his book—Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, Gardner believed and explained that there are several different types of intelligence and that each person has a unique combination of these types.
This idea was revolutionary because it challenged the traditional notion that intelligence is something that is primarily academic, and that can be measured by a single test or score. Gardner’s theory suggested that intelligence is more than that and that people can be intelligent in different ways.
For example, someone might be highly academically intelligent, but not particularly good at sports or music. Conversely, someone might be a talented musician or athlete, but not particularly strong academically. According to Gardner, both of these people would be considered intelligent, but in different ways.
This theory of multiple intelligence further helps us to understand that Intelligence is not just limited to academics and IQ, but it’s a broad concept and it encompasses various aspects of our lives. And that’s why we need to focus on developing our unique intelligence types both in children as well as adults so that we can reach our full potential.
Here’s an overview of each type. See if you can figure out which type best describe you and your loved ones.
Spatial intelligence: Visual Smart
You have a natural ability to visualize things in your mind with incredible detail and accuracy, creating a mental map of spaces and objects that many others can only imagine.
Your gift of spatial intelligence allows you to see the world in a dreamy, yet practical way, which makes you a true visionary and an expert in fields like architecture, engineering, design, or even video game design.
People with this type of intelligence can think in three dimensions and visualize objects.
With a strong spatial intelligence you’re good at visualizing and manipulating objects, patterns, and designs in their minds, and are also excellent navigators.
You can understand and create visual images, like a map, blueprints, and even mental images.
You are also the kind of person who can look at a blueprint and immediately see how it will come to life, or can navigate your way through a new city without getting lost, that’s impressive”
Sounds like you or someone you know? Great, here’s a list of career paths that you might want to consider:
- Graphic designers
- Interior designers
- Landscape architects
- Game designers
- Film or theater set designers
But of course, these are not the only career options available, many fields like art, photography, fashion, craft, and any profession that involves visual creativity, planning, and problem-solving might be a good fit. It’s always a good idea to explore different options and find what best suits your interests, skills, and values.
Interpersonal intelligence: People Smart
You have a special gift in connecting with people, in understanding their emotions and personalities, in reading between their lines and picking up on subtle cues.
Your interpersonal intelligence allows you to effortlessly navigate social interactions and build meaningful relationships, it’s the magic that makes you a great listener, a wise advisor, and most importantly, a genuine friend.
Are you good with people?
Do you find it easy to understand and interact with both people you know and strangers?
If you can read social cues, pick up on others’ emotions, and respond appropriately, you have interpersonal intelligence. People with high interpersonal intelligence are often good at communicating, collaborating, and building relationships.
If you think you might have strong interpersonal intelligence, there are many career paths that might be a good fit for you:
- Public Relations
- Human Resources
- Social work
- Public speaking or teaching
- Nonprofit management
- Diplomatic service
Note, This is not an exclusive list, but it gives you an idea of the diverse types of roles and industries where Interpersonal intelligence would be highly valued.
Many fields require a combination of different types of intelligence and skills, so make sure to explore and understand what you like, what are your passions and what are your unique strengths, so you can make an informed decision.
Intrapersonal Intelligence: self-analytical smart
You possess the ability to understand and navigate your inner world like a dream, like a secret language you speak fluently, your ability to introspect and understand your innermost thoughts and feelings gives you a sense of self-awareness that most people can only dream of.
Your intuition and self-awareness are your strengths which give you the power to know yourself and control your emotions to make wise decisions.
There are only a few people in this world who can understand their thoughts, emotions, and feelings. People with this skill are quite gifted and have a unique way of seeing things differently than the majority.
If you’re self-aware, have good insight into yourself, and have a sense of self-direction. Can use your inner thoughts and emotions to help guide your decisions and navigate the world around you—congratulations, you have the type of gift that most could only dream of.
This set of people usually excel at becoming:
- Counselor or therapist
- Coach or mentor
- Writer or author
- Human resources professional
- Artist or designer
- Philosopher or theologian
- Self-employed professional
- Psychologist or researcher
- Management consultant
Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence: Body smart
You have an amazing ability to use your body and physical coordination to accomplish things, whether it be through sports, dancing, or manual labor. You have a natural talent for working with your hands and can manipulate objects skillfully.
Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence is one of the 9, intelligences proposed by Howard Gardner. It refers to the ability to use one’s body effectively to express ideas and emotions, as well as to solve problems or make things.
People who possess this type of intelligence tend to be very good at activities that involve physical coordination and dexterity, such as sports, dance, or acting.
They have a strong sense of timing and rhythm and an ability to coordinate their movements with music or use their body effectively to play a musical instrument or other auditory cues. They are also good at working with their hands, such as in craftsmanship, building, and mechanics.
People with these skill sets follow in this line of the profession;
- gymnastics instructor
- Physical therapist
- Actor or performer
- Coach or personal trainer
- Carpenter or craftsperson
- Physical therapist
- Sculptor or ceramist
Naturalistic intelligence: Nature smart
With this type of skill, you are someone who has a real knack for understanding and connecting with the natural world.
Your naturalistic intelligence is a real strength, and you can observe, classify, and understand plants, animals, and the environment on a deeper way.
You’re able to spot patterns and connections that others might miss, and your understanding of the natural world is truly impressive.
Naturalistic intelligence is another one of the 9 types of intelligence identified by Howard Gardner in his theory of multiple intelligences.
It describes someone can understand and appreciate the natural world, including the ability to recognize and classify different plants, animals, and natural phenomena. People with naturalistic intelligence have a heightened sensitivity and awareness of the environment and an affinity for working with living things and natural materials.
Here are 10 profession for people with naturalistic intelligence:
- Park ranger
- Agriculture Specialist
- Marine Biologist
While someone with naturalistic intelligence may excel in these careers, this intelligence can be developed and nurtured in any career path and it can also be complementary to other intelligence.
Musical Intelligence: Sound smart
You have an ear for melody and rhythm like no other, your mind can effortlessly compose and synchronize music with ease, your fingers effortlessly glide on the instrument like a dream, your music is a reflection of your soul, it takes your listener to another dimension, your ear for music and impressive ability to read notes.
With your musical intelligence, you can create something truly beautiful, something that can move people in a way that words cannot.”
Musical intelligence is the ability to perceive, create, and appreciate music. People who have high musical intelligence may have an innate ability to understand rhythm, melody, and harmony, and they may be able to create and perform music themselves.
They tend to have a good sense of pitch and timing, as well as an ear for different musical styles and genres. They can also easily detect patterns and connections in music that others may not be able to hear.
Some careers that may be well-suited for people with strong musical intelligence include:
- Musician or singer
- Composer or songwriter
- Music producer or audio engineer
- Music teacher or instructor
- Music therapist
- Music journalists or critic
- Music manager or agent
- Sound designer for theatre, film, and television
- Conductor or Music director
- Music librarian or archivist
Someone with high musical Intelligence can also be quite successful in any other field since it can also help in other skills such as problem-solving, creativity, and critical thinking.
Logical-mathematical Intelligence: Numbers-reasoning smart
You know how you can just hear a tune and play it perfectly on an instrument?
That’s a sign of your musical intelligence, it’s amazing how you’re able to understand and create music so easily and effortlessly, it’s a skill that not many people possess and it’s a strength that could open many doors for you in the future if you decide to pursue it.
Logical-mathematical intelligence, as the name suggests, is the ability to think logically and solve mathematical problems.
People who possess this type of intelligence are often good at understanding abstract concepts, recognizing patterns and relationships, and solving problems systematically. They tend to be curious and enjoy solving puzzles and riddles.
Check out 10 career paths that might be well-suited for people with logical-mathematical intelligence:
- Computer programmer
- Data analyst
- Operations research analyst.
These professions require the use of logical thinking and mathematical skills to solve problems and make decisions. These individuals are well-equipped to work on research and development, modeling, and data analysis. And generally on fields that require a deep understanding and usage of numbers.
Linguistic intelligence: Language smart
You know how words just seem to flow out of you? You’re a natural communicator and you have a unique way of expressing yourself. Your linguistic intelligence allows you to pick up new languages easily and you’re able to use the right words at the right time to persuade and influence others.
Linguistic intelligence is the ability to use language effectively, both for speaking and writing. It refers to an individual’s capacity to understand and use language in a variety of different contexts. People with high linguistic intelligence are often skilled at communicating ideas, expressing themselves well, and understanding what others are saying.
Here are ten careers paths for people with strong linguistic intelligence:
- Speech therapist
- TV host
Keep in mind that linguistic intelligence is just one aspect of a person’s cognitive abilities and that high linguistic intelligence is a valuable skill in almost any field, such as in Business, Sales, Marketing, Leadership, Communication, etc where the ability to articulate ideas, convey information and negotiate can be beneficial.
Existential Intelligence: Life smart
If you’re someone who has existential intelligence, you’re probably someone who’s always pondering the bigger picture and asking the big questions in life.
You might be the type of person who is most fulfilled when you’re exploring your inner depths and trying to understand the meaning and purpose of existence.
Your insights and understanding of the human experience make you a valuable asset in fields such as philosophy, psychology, and spiritual guidance.”
Existential intelligence is a concept that refers to a person’s ability to reflect on the meaning and purpose of their existence. People with this type of intelligence are often philosophical, not bothered yet curious. This refers to a person’s ability to think deeply about the meaning and purpose of life, and to ponder the big questions that have puzzled humanity for centuries, such as: “Why are we here?” “What is the nature of reality?” Or “What happens after we die?”
There are many different career paths for people with this type of intelligence, here are ten possibilities:
- Philosophy professor/researcher
- Religious studies professor/researcher
- Spiritual guide
- Philosophy/Religion Librarian
- Philosophy/Religion Editor
- Creative writing
- Art curator
More importantly, your intelligence depends on personal preferences, interests, aptitudes and how you can adapt those skills and experiences to different professions.
Knowing your intelligence type and leveraging it can shape how you learn, leading to improved performance in school, work, and life in general. Working with your natural inclinations can increase your productivity, motivation, and satisfaction. It can also help you build confidence in your abilities and make it easier to achieve your goals, and identify career paths that align with your strengths and passion.