Part 3 - The 9 Types of Intelligence

I’m honestly a little sad that this is ending.

But as they say, all good things must come to an end.

Welcome to the 3rd and final installment of my series on the 9 Types of Intelligence.

If you haven’t checked out the other 2 parts, here is Part 1 and here is Part 2.

We’ve already covered 6 types of intelligence:
Logical-Mathematical Intelligence - Deals with solving problems with logic and dealing in mathematical algorithms.

Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence - An intelligence in manipulating objects and one’s own body through three-dimensional space.

Musical Intelligence - Being able to recognize musical elements, repeat them, generate new musical melodies, and also hearing musical rhythms and patterns in nature.

Naturalistic - An ability to “read” nature, categorize and organize data from nature, and a general interest in natural sciences.

Interpersonal - More than just being “good with people”, this type of intelligence means someone is good at listening, cares for people, and is interested in them.

Verbal-Linguistic - Writers, poets, and journalists tend to display this type of intelligence in their ability to express themselves through words and writing.

It has been super interesting to explore all of these other insanely valuable skills and masteries that we don’t usually hear about in our culture.

It’s also been a very educational journey for me to learn the types of intelligence that I naturally have and how I can continue to grow and learn in these areas.

I hope it has been for you too.

I think that all of us tend to look at others and admire all the cool shit they can do.

But we often have difficulty looking inside ourselves and seeing all of the incredible value that we can bring, usually because we don’t know what we’re looking for.

Part of the problem, as I’ve said in these articles, is that we are trained from childhood to only value one type of intelligence: and that’s taking tests.

IQ tests, SAT scores, grades, and all that shit.

We learn that if we’re not good at doing those sorts of activities then we’re not that valuable.

That’s exactly why I wanted to write about each of the 9 different types of intelligence that we observe in people.

This way, you know what to look for. You can explore your own skills and find other types of incredibly useful and amazing skills and intelligence.

These are just as valuable, if not more so, than knowing how to take a test.

So for our final 3 types of intelligence, I’ve saved some of the most unique and interesting types:

  • Existential
  • Intrapersonal
  • Visual-Spatial

I think you’re going to be blown away by these last 3. They’re some of the most abstract that we’ve discussed…

So let’s get to it.

Existential Intelligence

Existential intelligence is one of the 9 intelligence that I excel at.

I’ve been working to develop and train this in myself for years and it’s something that I very much enjoy.

Existential intelligence is the ability and skill to think about the big picture.

This can be philosophical questions like why are we here? Why do we die? Where do we go when we die?

Existential intelligence is seen highly in theologians, philosophers, and also life coaches.

It is the proclivity to discuss questions that transcend what you can observe with your 5 senses.

Practically, this type of skill also applies for a role like a CEO who has to think about the big picture of the company and direct where they will go at the “macro” level.

When you get into discussions with your friends or family this Thanksgiving about deeper issues than football and the weather, you all get the chance to exercise your Existential Intelligence.

Personally, I think that this is probably the most overlooked intelligence of them all, especially here in the West.

We often brush over this type of intelligence and ignore these types of burning questions that humans have been asking since the dawn of our species.

We get so focused on what’s right in front of us, getting more resources, filling our lives with shit we don’t need, and we forget to think about what all this is about.

Sure, we sometimes look at the stars and we sort of ponder our existence.

But that kind of thought process is terrifying because there is very little that we actually know.

People with Existential Intelligence are not afraid to tackle those questions, find the dead ends, and then try to figure out a way around them.

I think people that are gifted with Existential Intelligence rarely get the chance to use it because most people find no use for it.

And that’s some sad shit if I’ve ever heard it.

Intrapersonal Intelligence

Intrapersonal intelligence is sort of like the opposite, or maybe complimentary, to existential intelligence.

Intrapersonal intelligence is the ability to know yourself.

It is the ability to not only think about who you are, but also to appreciate and understand yourself intimately.

You will see this type of intelligence a lot in introverts. In Part 2 of this series, we talked briefly about extroverts versus introverts.

Introvertedness does not mean that you are a loner, have no friends, and are a social recluse.

It means that you “recharge” yourself by being alone.

Having a high level of intrapersonal intelligence also means that you can use the knowledge you have about yourself.

You can use your self-knowledge to plan your life, dictate the events around you, and manipulate your environment to your will so that it perfectly suits you.

You don’t focus on what works for other people.

Instead, you adapt and create your own solutions to problems and develop a path that suits your strengths.

I cannot overstate how valuable this type of intelligence is, especially in our society.

We do not give ourselves the time and we do not put in the effort to get to know ourselves.

I am shocked when I hear people say they don't like to be alone. 

(Let me just say, if you are one of those people who don't like to be alone and actively avoid it: you need to lean into that shit and figure out why. That's is a doorway into a deeper part of yourself. Learn about it.)

We distract ourselves from our self, which is a massive disservice to yourself, your goals, and to our society at large.

There’s this ancient Greek axiom that was carved on the walls at the Temple to Apollo that simply said: “Know thyself.”

The great philosopher Socrates took that phrase and added to it, saying, “An unexamined life is not worth living.”

Anyone can increase this type of intelligence by keeping a journal, writing down your thoughts and feelings, and meditating.

The results of these exercises will yield fruit that you cannot imagine: better concentration, greater satisfaction, and the ability to execute your goals simply by knowing who you are.

Visual-Spatial Intelligence

The final type of intelligence that I want to talk about is Visual-Spatial Intelligence.

This is an incredibly interesting type of intelligence to me.

It is the ability to think in three-dimensional space, to imagine complex shapes and figures, and also to rotate and manipulate them in your mind.

People who excel at this type of intelligence are architects, engineers, filmmakers, game designers, and artists.

Interestingly, gamers are also very good at spatial intelligence in that they can remember how to travel through complex three-dimensional maps very easily.

Also, Neils Bohr, one of the pioneers of the field of quantum mechanics, was also very gifted in Visual-Spatial Intelligence.

People with high levels of visual-spatial intelligence can remember details about where they’ve been; they’ll notice details of shapes, colors, and sizes more often than the average person.

This is a “visual thinker.” These people learn in visuals.

What is so interesting about this type of intelligence is that many of the other that we discussed are based on this ability.

For example, the Naturalistic Intelligence relies heavily on the ability to make your way through nature and remember where you’ve been--which is Visual-Spatial Intelligence.

The Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence also relies on high degrees of Visual-Spatial Intelligence. Athletes and dancers that need to move themselves and other objects through space need to know where they’re going and have a high degree of understanding of their environment.

As virtual reality, robotic engineering, and artificial intelligence become more mainstream and widely available, I believe that Visual-Spatial Intelligence will become very important for anyone who wants to enter those fields.

Like all the other types of intelligence, you can improve your own Visual-Spatial skills. You can try drawing, painting, or even sculpting.

You can find ways to visually represent what you are learning. This will help you grow your Visual-Spatial skills.

As we conclude this 3-part series on the 9 Types of Human Intelligence, I want to drive home the main point that I hope has been drifting through these articles.

And that is this: even if your grades sucked in school, even if you got a low SAT score, or a low IQ score…

That actually means jack shit in the real world.

This is one of the most bizarre and fascinating times to be a human being. You do not need high test scores to bring your dreams into reality.

Did you know that there are teaching strategies for each and every single one of the 9 types of intelligence?

In some schools, they train teachers to recognize these 9 types of intelligence.

Then the teachers develop lesson plans that reach out to the kids who learn through these other types of intelligence.

So a lesson on geology might communicate to a kid who learns through Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence by letting him pick up and feel some geodes.

Or a lesson on geometry might talk to a kid who learns through with Visual-Spatial Intelligence by letting him construct some structures using different types of shapes and blocks.

You can do the same thing for yourself. Play to your strengths. Find out how you interact with the world and start teaching yourself through your preferred channel of learning.

My main point is this: there is more to you than what your test scores say. Find out what your strengths are and start using them to your advantage.