According to Armstrong (1999), twentieth century man had mistakenly associated intelligence with the “bookworm, the egg head and the academics” (8). Fortunately, Howard Gardner, a psychologist, had developed the theory of multiple intelligence or seven kinds of smarts. According to this theory, there are many ways to be smart or to be intelligent aside from academic excellence.
The seven intelligences are linguistic intelligence, musical intelligence, logical-mathematical intelligence, spatial intelligence, bodily kinesthetic intelligence, and interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligence (9-12). Knowledge and understanding of these kinds of intelligence or smarts tends to broaden self-understanding and boost human relationships and career.
This paper will discuss the importance and potential effects of “knowing thyself” and interpersonal intelligence, intrapersonal intelligence and linguistic intelligence within relationships and career.
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A. Acceptance of oneself and others
One of the main sources of family conflicts is parent’s relentless preoccupation of developing their children into persons who they are not. Every parent wants their children to excel in academics and to become a doctor, a scientist or an engineer someday. Most importantly, they want their children to be known as intelligent. Because of this, they place too much emphasis on the academics. Ever since their child first entered school, he is led to believe that he can only be considered intelligent when he gets good grades.
Otherwise, his parents and society will consider him a loser and a failure. Moreover, parents usually prevent their child from pursuing a career that for them do not appear to be respectable, admirable and promising. They would dissuade their children from pursuing a singing, dancing, athletic or other careers that they judged to be inferior in quality. When the child do not meet the expectations of his parents it will led to disappointment and frustration for both parent and child (Corwin 40-41).
Linguistic intelligence is very important in this case for the child. Through the use of words, he can effectively persuade his parents to understand that not all people are crafted in one mold. Being smart in words is also beneficial in developing his convincing arguments (Armstrong 28) so that the parents will learn to understand and accept him for who he is and not for what they imagined him to be.
For the part of the parents, being people smart or having interpersonal intelligence will be helpful here. Being people smart help the parents to read in the behavior of their child that he has other plans for his life (Armstrong 110) and forcing him to do the things against his nature will only destroy him.
B. Avoid wasting time in unproductive pursuits
One common mistake of man is that he has the tendency to do the things that do not interest him due to peer or parental pressure. As a result, he will enroll in a course that he does not like and will most likely dropout later because of poor academic performance. College school counselors usually encounter this kind of problem with their students. Other students however did manage to acquire a diploma in a course they hate and eventually land in a job that for them is a “prison sentence” (Dahl 2008).
In both cases, their decision results to a waste of precious time. In the first case the man should have enrolled immediately in the course that interests him and in the second case, the man should be engaging in a career that he loves and which he will most likely excel in. In a metaphorical sense, both cases also waste precious time in acquainting man to his passions. Intrapersonal intelligence or being self-smart helps man avoid this kind of life detour.
When a man is self-smart, he has a positive self-image; he is fully aware of his own weakness and strengths and therefore would know what is good for him (Armstrong 133). He knows that pleasing his parents in this situation would only result to lifelong regret so he refuses to follow their wishes. Above all, he knows that in the end he is the master of his own fate.
C. Minimize life stress
Building relationships with other people can be a stressful experience. People have different characters, preferences and values. As a result, there would be misunderstandings and quarrels. However applying interpersonal intelligence can minimize stress. People who have interpersonal intelligence had the ability to “understand and work” with people. They are compassionate and respond favorably to people’s moods or temperaments (Armstrong 11).
So instead of reacting negatively to them, they tend to ease the tension through empathy. Without interpersonal intelligence, people can be very prejudice of others (Armstrong 112). This is especially true with different ethnic races in America, specifically the black and the whites. Tensions are built whenever people of differing ethnic backgrounds meet. People are so stressed by merely thinking what race groups are up to against them. Fortunately, American citizens are now getting to gradual understanding that they can work together in spite of their differences (Schaefer 10).
So much stress also results when a person engages in pursuits that do no interest him or in which he is not good at. In the quest to be accepted or approved by others, a man who possesses a high degree of interpersonal intelligence and a low degree of logical-mathematical intelligence may find himself working as an accountant. As he does not love numbers, he had to spend more effort and energy to do his job, and he will most likely meet many failures along the way resulting to depression.
He realized that he is like a man who actually does not know where he is going or what he wants. Yet when he follows where his intelligence lays, he experiences less stress for he loves to do what he is doing and most likely, he will give it his 100% (Covey 99).
D. Increase effectiveness
A person who operates in the realm of his intelligence will most likely become effective. Consider Martin Luther King Jr. King was a good communicator; he was persuasive and able to express clearly his intentions or ideas. He uses his linguistic intelligence to free the black race from the oppression of racial segregation from the 1950’s to the 1960’s (Srieter 2004). King could have chosen to keep quite and work as a typical black farmer who minds his own business. Instead, he inspired the Black people to action and led them ultimately to freedom. A man who had no linguistic intelligence like King would have never successfully rallied a crowd behind him.
E. Happiness and Self-fulfillment
When a man loves what he is doing, he would naturally feel happy. His work was not a burden to him but instead a source of inspiration and reward. In addition, because he loves what he is doing he will most likely excel in it (Dahl 2008; Covey 47). Mother Theresa and Martin Luther King, Jr. may have chosen a path that most people would never tread upon yet they were happy for they were true to themselves, using their respective linguistic and interpersonal intelligence to change lives. Mother Theresa and Martin Luther King know themselves well; there is no record that they ever regret doing what they did in spite of the hardships, they encountered. They were self-fulfilled individuals who were able to contribute positively in this world using the kinds of smarts that God gave them.
Understanding the existence of multiple intelligence, particularly linguistics, interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligence can be one of the greatest achievements for any person. Application of these intelligences will help him to accept himself or others for who they are, help him not to waste his time pursuing unsuitable careers, lessen the stress in his life, increase his effectiveness and led him to a happy and self-fulfilled life.
Armstrong, Thomas. 7 kinds of smarts: Identifying and developing your multiple intelligences. Plume, 1999.
Corwin, Donna. Pushed to the Edge: How To Stop the Child Competition Race so Everyone Wins. New York: Berkeley Publishing Group, 2003.
Covey, Stephen. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1989.
Dahl, Mary Clista. “How to Choose a Career That Makes You Smile”. College Journal for the Wall Street Journal. 2008. Dow Jones and Company, Inc. Accessed March 14, 2008 <http://www.collegejournal.com/careerpaths/findcareerpath/20010319-dahl.html>
Schaefer, Richard T. Racial and Ethnic Groups, tenth ed. New York: Prentice-Hall, 2006.
Srieter, Susan. Martin Luther King, Jr. Cyclopedia of World Authors Fourth Revised Edition. Salem Press Inc., 2004
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