Scientific research has shown we all have within us multiple ways of knowing, learning, and processing information. Yes, we are all smart in a lot of different ways nobody ever told us about, especially when we were in school!

Here’s the real issue, and it deeply concerns me: we’ve been lied to about our intelligence! We’ve been given some very inaccurate and frankly dangerous information about our intelligence and what makes us smart. And most of us bought all or part of these lies!

So What is the Truth?

New research is in that calls into question almost everything we used to think about human intelligence.

1.Intelligence is not fixed at birth! In the past we thought our intelligence was a matter of heredity and that it could be measured through different tests that would tell us our intelligence quotient (IQ). However, these tests do not take into account the many different environmental and cultural factors that affect the development of our intellectual capabilities. We are all much more than our IQ ever gives us credit for!
2.Intelligence can be taught, learned, and improved! Because our intelligence capabilities are part of our biology and neurology at birth, they can be strengthened and enhanced at any age and almost any ability level!
3.We are smart in many ways, not just one! There are at least eight ways we’re intelligent, eight ways we know what we know, understand, gain knowledge, and learn. The eight intelligences are already in us!

What Are the Eight Kinds of Smart?
ImageSmart (visual-spatial intelligence)—uses the sense of sight and being able to imagine and visualize an object, including making mental images inside the head.
LogicSmart (logical-mathematical intelligence)—uses numbers, logic, scientific reasoning, and calculating to help solve problems and meet challenges.
WordSmart (verbal-linguistic intelligence)—occurs through written and spoken words, such as in essays, speeches, books, informal conversation, debates, and jokes.
BodySmart (bodily-kinesthetic intelligence)—uses physical movement and performance (aka learning by doing) to understand.
SoundSmart (musical-rhythmic intelligence)—learns through sounds, rhythms, tones, beats, music produced by other people or present in the environment.
NatureSmart (naturalist intelligence)—the knowing that occurs in encounters with animals, plants, physical features, and weather conditions of the natural world.
PeopleSmart (interpersonal intelligence)—uses person-to-person relating, communication, teamwork, and collaboration with others.
SelfSmart (intrapersonal intelligence)—the knowing which comes from introspection, self-reflection, and raising questions about life’s meaning and purpose.

How do you awaken, stimulate, or otherwise activate an intelligence? Following is a set of miniexercises, puzzles, and games you can use to “trigger” your intelligences and make them part of your daily experience.

Tips to awaken your ImageSmart

1.Work with “artistic media” (such as clay, paints, colored markers, and pens) to express an idea or opinion, for example, what you think the year 2050 will be like.
2.Do intentional daydreaming; for example, dream about the ideal vacation spot with as much visual detail as you can muster.
3.Practice internal imagination exercises—visualize yourself in a different period of history, or have an imaginary conversation with a character from literature or history.

Tips to awaken your LogicSmart

1.Practice analytical thinking by comparing and contrasting two objects.
2.Create a convincing, rational explanation for something that is totally absurd, for example, the benefits of the square basketball.
3.Participate in a project requiring the use of the “scientific method.” If you are not a cook, try making brownies from scratch following a recipe.

Tips to awaken your WordSmart

1.Read a story you enjoy, and write your own sequel.
2.Learn the meaning of one interesting, new word each day, and practice using it during the day in conversation.
3.Make a speech on a topic about which you have a great deal of interest and excitement.

Tips to awaken your BodySmart

1.Perform a dramatic enactment. Play charades using current events or modern inventions.
2.Practice activities that require physical activity such as folk dancing, jogging, swimming, and walking. Try walking in different ways to match or change your mood.
3.Carefully observe yourself involved in everyday physical tasks such as shoveling snow, mowing grass, washing dishes, or fixing your car to become more aware of what your body knows and how it functions.

Tips to awaken your SoundSmart

1.Listen to different kinds of music to shift your mood; for example, play relaxing, instrumental music before or during a potentially stressful or anxiety-producing activity.
2.Use singing to express an idea.
3.Hum to create different kinds of vibrations inside of your head; for example, try the vowels one at a time, using different volumes and pitches.
Tips to awaken your NatureSmart

1.Get involved in a planting project either in your own home or somewhere in your community.
2.Spend some time with an animal. Allow yourself to really “get to know” this fellow creature. Imagine it has human qualities—what is it thinking? feeling? wanting?
3.Go for a walk, and consciously focus on the impact of the environment on your five senses, on your emotions, and on your spiritual awareness. See how fully you can experience the walk!

Tips to awaken your PeopleSmart

1.Get into different structured situations in which reliance on other people is required for the successful completion of a project.
2.Practice listening deeply and fully to another person. Cut off the “mind chatter” that often occurs when you are listening to someone else talk, and stay focused only on what he or she is saying.
3.Try to guess what someone else is thinking or feeling based on various nonverbal clues, then check your accuracy with that person.

Tips to awaken your SelfSmart

1.In the midst of a routine activity, practice acute mindfulness, that is, an intense awareness of everything going on, your thoughts, feelings, physical movements, and inner states of being.
2.Practice watching your thoughts, feelings, and moods as if you were a detached, outside observer. Notice patterns that kick into gear in certain situations, for example, the “anger pattern,” the “playfulness pattern,” or the “anxiety pattern.”
3.In 25 words or fewer, write your answer today for the question “who am I?” Keep working on it until you are satisfied. Look at it again each day for a week, making revisions that you feel are needed.

I promise you that the more you call on your innate intelligence potentials, the more they will become a regular part of how you live your daily life. After a while, almost without thinking, you’ll find you are automatically “cooking on more burners” simultaneously. To keep all Eight Kinds of Smart fully awake and ready to help you think, learn, and work smarter, exercise them every day!

** This article is one of 101 great articles that were published in 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life. To get complete details on “101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life”, visit

Author's Bio: 

David Lazear inspires and empowers people to awaken their full intelligence. He translated Howard Gardner’s research on multiple intelligences into life-changing practice! David is the best-selling author of 10 books on applications of multiple intelligences and has over 30 years of international experience in the development of human capacities in both the public and private sectors. Each year, he conducts hundreds of workshops for business and educational organizations. He is the founder of the David Lazear Group, which specializes in programs, printed resources, and media that demonstrate the how-tos of applied multiple intelligences. Visit his Web site at