Thinking About Intelligence

I’ve taken an honest look at my thoughts, my self-talk.  I’ve thought deeply about self-acceptance. Accepting who I am and all the personality traits, habits and quirks that make me, me.

My next line of self-analyses has evolved into thinking about intelligence.

This evolved naturally because I work at a school with an enhanced curriculum. My co-workers value and inspire academia in a down-to-earth, yet highly effective way. I find myself a little, no… A LOT intimidated by my exceptionally intelligent co-workers whose academic achievements include multiple masters in a variety of degrees!!!  Some of my coworkers have graduated from Ivy League Universities!!  Gulp!!!!

I’ve never been to university.  I’ve two college diplomas.  I don’t have a lot of respect for either college I graduated from because they seemed “mickey mouse”, too easy and lacking in educational integrity.  I struggled ethically with this while I studied. So much so, that I submitting a well-documented formal complaint to one of the schools.

I attended these colleges because they were the first to offer diplomas in fields of tantalising, newly created careers apparently needed within the local economy; appealing to those who didn’t want to or just not able to spend years in university, who wanted to get out of the nowhere grind of minimum wage jobs and have a career, a future……something to build on…….

I’ve been thinking these past few days about intelligence.  How can I raise my self-confidence about my own intelligence when I don’t really know what kind of intelligence I have?  I’m told I’m intelligent, but what does that mean??? I guess the meaning of the compliment comes the context. If the giver of the compliment is book smart, then perhaps they think I’m book smart??  I don’t know??!!

So I looked up the definition of intelligence: 

“the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills.”

Next I Googled “Types of Intelligence“.  Seems this is a popular topic, with lots of links to lots of websites about types of intelligence.

Apparently there are between seven and nine different types of intelligence:

Types of Intelligence

Types of In. 3


Yet, I still find myself unsure of exactly WHAT it is to be intelligent, what makes a person intelligent??  So again I Google. I discover there is emotional intelligence, social intelligence and linguistic intelligence. As well as LOTS of scientific research deliberating on exactly what makes a person smart.

I looked closer into emotional intelligence, social intelligence and linguistic intelligence.

  • What is Emotional Intelligence?

From the website Psychology Today:  Emotional Intelligence

“What Is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others. It is generally said to include 3 skills:

1. Emotional awareness, including the ability to identify your own emotions and those of others;

2. The ability to harness emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problems solving;

3. The ability to manage emotions, including the ability to regulate your own emotions, and the ability to cheer up or calm down another person.”

  • What is Social Intelligence?

From the website Psychology Today:  What is Social Intelligence and Why Does it Matter?

“1. Verbal Fluency and Conversational Skills. You can easily spot someone with lots of SI at a party or social gathering because he or she knows how to “work the room.” The highly socially intelligent person can carry on conversations with a wide variety of people, and is tactful and appropriate in what is said. Combined, these represent what are called “social expressiveness skills.”

2. Knowledge of Social Roles, Rules, and Scripts. Socially intelligent individuals learn how to play various social roles. They are also well versed in the informal rules, or “norms,” that govern social interaction. In other words, they “know how to play the game” of social interaction. As a result, they come off as socially sophisticated and wise.

3. Effective Listening Skills. Socially intelligent persons are great listeners. As a result, others come away from an interaction with an SI person feeling as if they had a good “connection” with him or her.

4. Understanding What Makes Other People Tick. Great people watchers, individuals high in social intelligence attune themselves to what others are saying, and how they are behaving, in order to try to “read” what the other person is thinking or feeling. Understanding emotions is part of Emotional Intelligence, and Social Intelligence and Emotional Intelligence are correlated – people who are especially skilled are high on both.

5. Role Playing and Social Self-Efficacy. The socially intelligent person knows how to play different social roles – allowing him or her to feel comfortable with all types of people. As a result, the SI individual feels socially self-confident and effective – what psychologists call “social self-efficacy.”

6. Impression Management Skills. Persons with SI are concerned with the impression they are making on others. They engage in what I call the “Dangerous Art of Impression Management,” which is a delicate balance between managing and controlling the image you portray to others and being reasonably “authentic” and letting others see the true self. This is perhaps the most complex element of social intelligence.”

  • What is Linguistic Intelligence?

From Wikipedia: Linguistic Intelligence

“Linguistic Intelligence is a part of Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligence theory that deals with individuals’ ability to understand both spoken and written language, as well as their ability to speak and write themselves. In a practical sense, linguistic intelligence is the extent to which an individual can use language, both written and verbal, to achieve goals.[1] In addition to this, high linguistic intelligence has been linked to improved problem solving, as well as to increased abstract reasoning.”

Then I found an article called “What is Intelligence”from the website Big Think:

Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner says in this article: What is Intelligence?

“Until a hundred years ago, if you wanted to have higher education, linguistic intelligence was important. I teach at Harvard, and 150 years ago, the entrance exams were in Latin, Greek and Hebrew. If, for example, you were dyslexic, that would be very difficult because it would be hard for you to learn those languages, which are basically written languages.” Now, mathematical and emotional intelligences are more important in society, Gardner says: “While your IQ, which is sort of language logic, will get you behind the desk, if you don’t know how to deal with people, if you don’t know how to read yourself, you’re going to end up just staying at that desk forever or eventually being asked to make room for somebody who does have social or emotional intelligence.”

This helps, but still not there…..

My next Google search took a bit longer to sort through because SO much information is available on what are the common traits of an intelligent person?

Sorting between the seemingly ridiculous to the probable common sense traits, I found similar listed information in articles about common traits of an intelligent person from respected websites such as Lifehack, Forbes and Psychology Today.

It seems that intelligent people share 6 or so common traits:

Listed information is from an article from Lifehack: 6 Commonalities Shared by Highly Intelligent People

  1. They’re adaptable
  2. They know there is more to know
  3. They remain curious
  4. They ask intelligent questions
  5. They’re skeptical
  6. They’re open-minded



This resonates, and if I work backwards with all the information I’ve gathered in this blog, I find myself starting to piece together the parts that fit with me.

I can start to believe it, that I’m intelligent, not only when someone compliments me by saying so, but by also inherently believing it in myself because I’m realizing intelligence is a multifaceted thing.

I know I adapt easily, am curious, and open-minded.

Within the complexities of the defined linguistic, social and emotional intelligence, I’d guess I’m mostly social and emotional with a side of linguistic intelligence.

I sound like a breakfast order!

S, 🙂

True Genius!!!
True Silliness!!!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Tish Smith says:

    Love you. This was interesting Steph. I have a splash of this and a splash of that. I see myself as a people reader and you are one of the good ones. So honest and authentic and loving. Too many cruel and self centred jealous people in our world who will try to get under your skin and bring you down if you allow them near you. You remain my very Lovely, Joyful Stephanie. Tish

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. shirley trottier says:

    A story is told about a beautiful tapestry, displayed wrong side up purposly by the owner. No one would approach the owner as it was a mix of many treads, small and large and a vast array of colours,having no appeal. When the error was noticed and the tapestry turned around all stood in awe of it’s beauty…you see it was not for sale by the owner, it was a teaching tapestry. The back of the tapestry represented all our personal differences and skin colours the front was the way we… with all our differences make the beauty in this world!!!
    We are all threads in this world tapestry, Stephanie. I know when the tapestry was turned around you were a thick golden thread that made the tapestry shine. You have always been the light of my life and others as well. Love ya lots mama xoxo

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