One of the most intriguing, fascinating, and enlightening moments you can have in life is to be surprised by the intelligence displayed by someone you had assumed wasn’t “smart”. Delight in such moments. Let them force you to re-evaluate your perception of the world around you. Begin by recognizing the different forms of intelligence.


Analytical intelligence has long been the gold standard of intelligence, fairly or unfairly as that may be perceived today. Don’t mistake it for just boring facts and figures, though; rather, it is the ability to recognize patterns in data and match new information with previous knowledge. Analytical people thrive on order but may create their own order, if they feel the need.


Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence gives you mind-body awareness, which controls factors such as hand-eye coordination. Individuals with this form of intelligence can apply it best in a role that involves some form of physical activity.


Existentialism is the concept where an individual’s freedom to live and make their own decisions reigns supreme. At the core of the existentially-intelligent person is a desire to give everyone the opportunity to be their best in their individual locus of existence. They listen and empathize, then try to inspire. It makes them good leaders.


Between people. Those blessed with Interpersonal intelligence have a highly-developed ability to perceive the emotions of others, which makes them the perfect friend, colleague, and boss. They are usually drawn to jobs or roles where they are given the opportunity to comfort others and make a difference.


Within the person. Intrapersonal intelligence refers to keenly-developed powers of self-reflection. Such people may not be as expressive of their emotions because they have already analyzed them internally and see no reason to share them with the world. Their self-analysis may border on coldness but it affords them the ability to lead others by verbalizing their motivations.


Words written and words spoken are the tools of the Linguistic-Verbal crowd. They are excellent communicators and perhaps even entertainers. Communication can take myriad forms and there is always a place for those who can convey ideas effectively.


Most of us have, at one time or another, yearned for Musical intelligence. The trigger is usually a moving song or the sight of crowds roaring in adulation of a performer. While commercial success would be lovely, simply the ability to create and appreciate music is a gift in itself. Those with musical intelligence may flourish with soft music (without lyrics).


Naturalistic intelligence is the domain of the lucky souls who live, or strive to live, their lives outdoors. They may be astronomers and paleontologists or botanists and survivalists; their minds are tied to the natural world around us. Individuals with naturalistic intelligence work best in the open air and, when necessary, in open-plan offices.


Complex forms and figures take shape with ease inside the mind of someone with Visual-Spatial intelligence. It is an ability especially desirable in this age where virtual reality and 3D design are creeping into every industry. It may be applied more widely to project management where information from charts and graphs is translated into actionable real-world information.

Each of us has a unique journey in life. We pick up a wealth of unique knowledge and develop a medley of varied ideas from a kaleidoscope of diverse influences. In that, everyone has something to teach everyone else. Keep your eyes and ears open so epiphanies do not pass you by because you failed to recognize a unique type of intelligence. Need a little help figuring out how to best harness your unique intelligence? Let me know.