Bill Gates Believes That Finding Your Particular Type Of Intelligence Is Key To Overall Success And Happiness

One of the most rewarding things about being a parent is watching your kids develop their own sense of self. As a father of four boys, I love seeing how each of my sons grows into his own personality. Every person is different, and that’s what makes us so special.

The same is true for intellect, and researchers have identified nine discrete types of intelligence that categorize most folks. In 1983, American developmental psychologist Howard Gardener outlined the nine types of intelligence that he had found in individuals. Moving away from the scholastic-based belief that only certain types of intelligence are valuable, Gardener created a more holistic list. According to Gardener, you may not be good at math or language, but you are probably gifted in other areas. And these areas constitute intelligence as much as their more traditional counterparts.

Billionaire Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates recently commented on this framework for intelligence. Gates believes that defining intelligence doesn’t work with a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, Gates believes that finding your particular type of intelligence is key for your overall success and happiness in life.

Take a look at the list of the nine types of intelligence and see which ones resonate with you:

  • Spatial (picture smart): Visualizing the world in three dimensions
  • Naturalist (nature smart): Understanding living things and nature
  • Musical (sound smart): Discerning sounds, their tone, rhythm, pitch, and timbre
  • Logical-Mathematical (number/reasoning smart): Quantifying things, developing hypotheses and proving them
  • Existential (life smart): Investigating the questions of why we live and why we die
  • Interpersonal (people smart): Being sensitive to people’s feelings and motives
  • Bodily-Kinesthetic (body smart): Coordinating your body with your mind
  • Linguistic (word smart): Finding the right words to express yourself
  • Intrapersonal (self-smart): Understanding yourself, what you want, and what you feel

This infographic by Mark Vital from Funders and Founders illustrates the nine types of intelligence:

For me, I definitely identify with the interpersonal type of intelligence – a favorite part of my career is working with people to help them achieve their goals. For Gates, he made his career using his hyper logical-mathematical intelligence. He is known as a brilliant coder and skilled problem solver. But, Gates believes that he fell short in other areas, like interpersonal skills.

In recent Twitter posts, Gates opines on some things he wishes he knew when he was starting his career. According to Gates, he’s realized over his life that intelligence is as varied as we are; there’s no one way to define intelligence.

Just as being a math whiz gives you the ability to understand the world, so does being “people smart.” The difference is simply perspective. If you can’t solve complicated calculus problems, you may be very good at finding the right person who can.

The benefits of embracing your own type or types of intelligence are plentiful. You can stop comparing yourself to others. You can find your ideal work environment. You become more aware of the skills you may need to work on.

Gates ended his Tweets on the topic of intelligence on a high note: “This is an amazing time to be alive. I hope you make the most of it.” For anyone, it’s never too late to tap and rediscover your particular talents and bits of intelligence.

Check Out: A Key Skill For Both Intelligence And Success People Often Think About

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