It’s not about how smart you are, it’s how you’re smart!

When you think of someone who is really smart, you probably think of someone who is smart in a way that doesn’t make sense to you.

One of my friends, for example, is a rocket scientist who works for NASA. I’m sure his title isn’t rocket scientist but he has an advanced degree in aerospace engineering and works at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. As far as I am concerned, that means he’s a rocket scientist. He’s a super-smart guy.

I don’t have any advanced degrees at all, much less anything in aerospace engineering. I used to call the engineering kids on campus at my university “the smart ones”. And one day, one of those smart ones let me in on a little secret: to him, I was the smart one. He couldn’t imagine doing research for weeks and weeks for a paper or a project, or reading the enormous amount of material I read for my degree. As unfathomable as his degree was to me, so was mine to him.

As it turns out there are all different types of intelligence. Everyone is intelligent, it’s just a matter of figuring out what type of intelligence best suits you…and then using that understanding to the best of your ability.

Here are 9 different types of intelligence to ponder, as well as some careers best suited to each one:

1. Naturalistic – nature smart.

People who are nature smart are often referred to as green thumbs or animal whisperers. Naturalistically smart people learn best by being in nature and doing things in nature. Not surprisingly, some of the best career options for them include conservationist, veterinarian, or animal trainer.

2. Existential – spirit smart.

People who are existentially smart often give off an understanding of the universe or a sense of peace and wisdom. They work with the really BIG questions, especially metaphysical ones. This is the most recently-identified type of intelligence, and people who are existentially smart tend to be good philosophers, clergy, shamans, and other spiritual leaders.

3. Intrapersonal – self smart.

Intrapersonally intelligent people know themselves very, very well. They are self-motivated, as well as introspective and independent. Some great career options for them include being a therapist, a psychologist, or even a poet.

4. Auditory-Musical – sound smart.

This type of intelligence means that you appreciate and understand music and rhythm. You often use rhythms and patterns to understand things. You would make an excellent composer, musician, DJ, band director, or other musical artist.

5. Interpersonal – people smart.

Not to be confused with intrapersonal, interpersonal intelligence reflects a kind of intellect based on being social, cooperative, and helping others. You’re often labeled an extrovert and you make a great social worker, counselor, teacher or politician.

6. Bodily-Kinesthetic – people with this kind of intelligence learn best through touch and movement, and others probably say you are athletic or well-coordinated.

You have very finely tuned motor skills and probably aren’t a fan of having a desk job. This kind of intelligence naturally lends itself to careers in art, dance, construction or sculpture.

7. Logical-Reasoning – “Logic smart” people are highly calculating, experimental, and love deductive reasoning.

This type of intelligence is the most highly favored in schools, so people who are logical-reasoning smart probably did well in school. You’ll flourish best as a mathematician, and inventor or a computer programmer.

8. Verbal-Linguistic – “Word smart” people learn best through reading and exercising language skills.

They often enjoy writing stories and poetry, and they are sometimes quite adept at learning foreign languages. This type of intelligence is also highly prized in traditional education systems globally, so word smart people typically do well in school, also. Word smart people can look forward to such occupations as writers, attorneys, and public speakers.

9. Visual-spatial – people who are “picture smart” learn best through visual demonstration.

They are likely to enjoy drawing or other artistic pursuits, as well as puzzles and other visual challenges. They benefit greatly from visual aids. People who are picture smart excel in fields such as architecture, design and computer science.  

So how do you think you’re smart?

Do you fit neatly into one of these categories or does it seem like you might fit into a few? How do your smarts best benefit you?

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