multiintelligencesWatching the incredible team skaters and slopestylers on Thursday night, we all geared up for another amazing Olympics season. I grew up skating on a  lake, stealing each other’s hats and learning to skate backwards from neighborhood kids. In the off-season, we roller skated in our basement – all the time. I can appreciate how hard it is to master skating on one foot with the other in the air. And I know there were times when I was skating well, gracefully, I imagined I was a Dorothy Hamill in the making. If you knew me then, this notion would make you laugh so hard milk would come out of your nose. To the outside observer, I’m not a physically graceful or gifted person. In any sport – indoor or outdoor.

Watching the pairs skating, in particular, I could feel as if I were 15 again, and skating held such romance and fantasy for me. I was in awe of how those pairs twirled and leapt and danced together. They have a kinesthetic intelligence that makes it possible to see themselves in midair, landing on a thin, sharp metal blade, and skating out that into another jump, timed to match their partner in synch.

I started to think about multiple intelligences – the brainchild of Howard Gardner in 1983, though I didn’t learn about them until much later. If you measure intelligence by just one skill set, one modality, then you are ignoring the myriad ways that humans can be gifted, grow and improve, and show intelligence.

Gardener identified 9 intelligences – 9 unique ways for humans to strive, excel, and achieve. So when you consider your intelligence – or your partner’s, your child’s or your dog’s – consider the many ways that a person can be intelligent, and give them credit for their area of talent and passion. These link back to Wikipedia, if you want to learn more about each one.

The different abilities

  1. Musical–rhythmic and harmonic
  2. Visual–spatial
  3. Verbal–linguistic
  4. Logical–mathematical
  5. Bodily–kinesthetic
  6. Interpersonal
  7. Intrapersonal
  8. Naturalistic
  9. Existential

Consider these areas of giftedness. Which do you think is your strongest? Your weakest? Keep toggling between the next strongest, and the next weakest, until you think you’ve ranked your areas of ability. It’s nice to see your gifts in a more rounded light, isn’t it? What I lack in kinesthetic intelligence, I hope I make up for in Intrapersonal, Interpersonal and Verbal-Linguistic. Makes me a good wife, and mom, at least in the way I like to mother. And it makes me a good coach.

Multiple intelligences are another way to see who you are, instead of potentially, who you aren’t. Appreciate what you offer, rather than pine after other intelligences, that possibly just aren’t you.