Forget depressing stories about the brain.
That it’s at its best in our twenties, then slowly declines – until we are left in old age with tatters instead of dendrites in the brain and can’t even remember our own name. Forget that. It’s not true.
The great news is that the brain is plastic: it can develop throughout life. Like muscles develop with a physical workout, intelligence can be shaped up through brain exercises.
There are many different facets of intelligence that all make up our mind. Personal growth means fostering and training the many different kinds of intelligence available to us. Read on to find out which are the nine different forms of intelligence and how to develop each one.
1. Verbal Intelligence .
Involves reading, writing, speaking, and conversing. You can exercise it through learning a new language, reading interesting books, playing word games, listening to recordings, using a computer, and participating in conversation and discussions online. The interesting thing about learning a new language is that each language has expressions and concepts that don’t appear in others. A new language also means a new way of seeing the world. .
2. Logical Intelligence
Involves number and computing skills, recognizing patterns and relationships, timeliness and order, and the ability to solve different kinds of problems through logic. You can exercise it through classifying and sequencing activities, playing number and logic games, and solving various kinds of puzzles. Personally, I have a Sodoku book in the bathroom and do a little each day.
3. Spatial Intelligence.
Involves visual perception of the environment, the ability to create and manipulate mental images. You can develop it through drawing, painting, sculpting, sharpening observation skills, solving mazes and other spatial tasks, and exercises in imagery and active imagination. I have very little talent in the fine arts field. But I use mindmaps to develop skills and practise some Japanese calligraphy. These are my ways of practising Spatial Intelligence . .
4. Body Intelligence
Involves physical coordination and dexterity, using fine and gross motor skills, and expressing oneself or learning through physical activities. You can develop Body Intelligence by playing dancing, playing various active sports and games, as well as taking up martial arts or yoga.
5. Musical Intelligence
Involves understanding and expressing oneself through music and rhythmic movements or dance, or composing, playing, or conducting music. We can practise it by listening to a variety of recordings, and singing, dancing, or playing an instrument.
6. Social Intelligence
Involves understanding how to communicate with, and understand other people, and how to work collaboratively. We can develop it through cooperative games, group projects and discussions, as well as dramatic activities or role-playing. Daniel Goleman has written a very interesting book about this, called Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships.
7. Emotional Intelligence
Involves understanding one’s inner world of emotions and thoughts, and growing in the ability to control them and work with them consciously. As Daniel Goleman explains in his book Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ, we can develop it through participating in independent projects, reading illuminating books, journal-writing, imaginative activities and games, counseling, and quiet reflection.
8. Spiritual Intelligence
Danah Zohar – a management thought leader, physicist, philosopher, added Spiritual Intelligence to the list of intelligences.
She wrote a very interesting book, called SQ: Connecting With Our Spiritual Intelligence in which she describes the intelligence with which we access our deepest meanings, purposes, and highest motivation. We can develop it by finding quiet places for reflection, or by practising meditation or prayer. I think that there is another intelligence which is not part of any official list:
9. Creative Intelligence
Involves creating something new with your mind or with your body. We can develop Creative Intelligence by participating in plays or make-believe games, by writing, painting, decorating, handicrafts, cooking and so on.
There are some activities that tick more than one box. For example, when you dance you are honing your Spatial Intelligence (because you are learning patterns), Social Intelligence, Musical Intelligence, and Bodily Intelligence.
Formal study is also a way to keep the brain young and to grow as a human being. A few years ago I decided to go back to university and do a Masters. Studying sharpens your Logical Intelligence, Verbal Intelligence, Creative Intelligence, as well as your Social Intelligence and your Emotional Intelligence.
Another way to keep the brain in training is to change your job at times. Brain scientist Dr. Robert Sylwester says:
I’ve always thought that it’s a good idea to make a change every ten years or so and do something different – either within the same organization or to move to another one.