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Seven Types of Intelligence

You may be smarter than you think. You just need to know what type of "intelligence" is being considered.

by Mario Seiglie

Imagine being told by your elementary school principal that "you will never amount to much." Years later, you end up dropping out of high school and then fail the university entrance exams.

After finally entering university, you realize most of the professors are against you. And after graduating, your classmates land nice jobs while you are unemployed. You're turned down for all the university positions you apply for. Finally, friends help you land a temporary job in a government patent office at the bottom of the pay scale.

Doesn't sound like a very promising career, does it?

Meanwhile, in a nearby country, a student fails miserably in elementary school. His teachers are exasperated. The boy will do nothing but draw! No matter what incentives or threats are used, he refuses to focus on reading, writing or math. He finally drops out of elementary school.

Both these descriptions are of real people—famous figures in 20th-century history. The first is probably the most brilliant thinker of modern times: Albert Einstein. The second is regarded as one of the most influential painters of his time: Pablo Picasso.

What their elementary school educators failed to see was that these individuals each excelled in a particular type of intelligence—to the detriment of the other types.

Most people are familiar with only one type of intelligence. It's the same one that IQ (intelligence quotient) exams are based on: the ability for logical reasoning.

Yet today we know there are at least seven key types of intelligence, and they can be as different from each other as night and day. This is a reason some intelligent people have performed poorly in school; their category of intelligence was not readily recognized. Most people excel in one class of intelligence and are average in the other types.

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