In my previous two blog entries, I started unpacking the concept of “thinking.” The purpose is to take each building block and making it practically understandable for readers. This entry explains the concept intelligence.  The latter refers to our basic mental capacity which is ingrained in our DNA. The essence of all definitions of intelligence is that it indicates the ability to profit from experience, the ability to learn about, learn from, comprehend and interact with our environment. The latter refers to all outside influences, surroundings, and people.

Intelligence would thus mean the ability to make “sense” of that which surrounds us and to “figure out” what to do and how to position ourselves to our best advantage. It could also mean the ability to apply knowledge towards performing at higher levels within a specific environment. Experts expand on the definition of intelligence as the mental ability to reason, plan, solve problems and understand abstract language and learning.

Many of us have been exposed to traditional intelligence tests as learners at school or within psychological practices. I have always been very sceptical about these as many factors feed into our performance like our emotional state and prior learning. I, therefore, do not apply them in my practice at all.

These tests are also flawed in the sense that they only measured limited abilities which do not encompass our mental capacity in all it’s “fullness”. They place a ceiling on our ability to perform in life and knowing our often faulty scores can be severely disabling. They could leave us less confident and doubt our mental capacity.

Hence, Howard Gardner developed a new way of viewing intelligence. He said there are in fact seven intelligences and even more importantly he stated that intelligence is more flexible than we thought and we can increase our ability in each of these by applying effort. These intelligence are:

  • Verbal intelligence. This refers to our ability to understand and apply language. The latter is tested in traditional intelligence tests.
  • Logic –mathematical ability. The latter tests our competency in performing mathematical and logical thinking tasks and is also addressed in traditional intelligence tests.
  • Spatial intelligence is also tested and refers to position ourselves in space.
  • Musical intelligence which does not feature in intelligence test as well as those which follow.
  • Bodily-kinaesthetic ability which has to do with perform in sport and other physical activities
  • Intrapersonal intelligence refers to our competency to understand and know ourselves; the ability to reflect on ourselves, continuously refining our inner world and building a constructive relationship with ourselves.
  • Interpersonal intelligence has to do with our competency in relating to others in constructive ways.

The latter two abilities combined make up our Emotional Intelligence which in my opinion are the most important qualities to ensure success. This concept will be explained in another blog entry explaining and unpacking our mental ability.

Do the following practical exercise in your journal or any piece of paper by answering a few questions:

  • Give yourself a score out of ten in terms of how intelligent and “clever” you think you are. One is the lowest and ten the highest.
  • How have you obtained the above perception? Mostly it will be because of what others have told you.
  • What has been the effect about the perception you hold about your intelligence? Did it benefit you or not?

If you answered any of the above negatively, thinkingfit offers assistance through individual therapy, coaching, mentoring and workshops to realize your mental potential optimally. Follow me on my website and social media.

Something small can make a big difference