You’re familiar with the idea of integrating all your different aspects, whether you call them body, mind, and soul, or head, heart and intuition, or any other combination. But do you know about integrating all the different aspects of your intelligence? Bringing your multiple intelligences together, for a more holistic and effective you?
When you think about intelligence, you probably think about things like figuring things out, solving problems, and creating things. We do all of these in a wide variety of ways: some of us go for the words approach – talking about it, writing about it, reading about it… – while some of us go for the logical approach – if this, then that…
Yet how many times have you been able to solve a problem, create a solution, by shelving your thinking about it and going for a run or a bike ride? Or by sketching out the situation with paper and pen, mind-mapping your way to a new thing? These show other aspects of your intelligence in action: your kinaesthetic intelligence – solving problems with your body – and your visual-spatial intelligence – solving problems through imagining, drawing, representing the situation in space.
Let’s count up: so far we have the words – or linguistic – intelligence, the logical-mathematical intelligence, the kinaesthetic, and the visual-spatial. Four different ways of problem solving and creating things. Four different aspects of your intelligence – or four different types of program for your intellect-computer, if you like.
There are at least four more to add to these: your musical intelligence, your intrapersonal intelligence (how well you organise, motivate, and engage yourself), your interpersonal intelligence, and your naturalistic, or systems-patterns intleligence.
So here we have a grand total of eight ways of approaching problems, and of creating things. Wouldn’t it be great if you could integrate and strengthen the ones you typically use less, to give yourself more ways to be creative and effective?
Here are eight handy ways you can bring your multiple intelligences into play for problem solving:
1. Listen to music that enhances your mood: find an internet radio station with music that helps you focus and stay energised and motivated while problem-solving. (Musical)
2. Use your hands when you’re explaining a situation to a colleague or friend: notice the shapes and movements that you make and see how you can link this back to the situation you need to solve. (Kinaesthetic)
3. Reflect on a situation or problem by jotting down a few ideas in a journal. As you jot down each idea, a new one may come forward. (Linguistic)
4. Meditate! (Intrapersonal)
5. When you next find yourself in a problematic situation, look for the patterns: have you been here before? Have the other people been here before? Is there a straightforward sequence of events that has led to this? Looking for the pattern can help you to be more objective, as well as prevent similar situations happening in future. (Naturalistic)
6. When making a decision, write about it in your journal. Write about everything connected to it – even things which don’t seem relevant may have some impact on the emotional or in your relationships with other people. Don’t like writing? Use a voice recorder and talk your way through it. (Linguistic)
7. Apply some logic: if you have a go/don’t go kind of decision to make, you can explore your thoughts and feelings with these four questions: 1) What will happen if I go? 2) What will happen if I don’t go? 3) What won’t happen if I go? 4) What won’t happen if I don’t go? (Logical-mathematical)
8. Invite one or two colleagues or friends to work on the problem with you – through discussion, or mind-mapping together. You may find that you spur each other on into new creative solutions! (Interpersonal)
And, of course, invent your own ways of bringing the best out in yourself: you’re your own expert!
Which of your intelligences do you love using?