If we entertain the prospect of nine kinds of intelligence, we have nine dimensions of information for self improvement instead of just one mystified dimension obscured by an IQ score.
Recognize an aptitude to enhance abilities through self-guided practice and reach for greater achievement.
WHAT IS INTELLIGENCE?
It is a word. A word rooted in the latin intelligere which means: to understand. Intelligence refers to my ability to obtain knowledge and skills.
WHAT IS ABILITY?
It is a word. Coming from the root word habalis, a latin word for: able. Ability represents the possession of the means to do something, a proficiency or skill of particular application.
I find that intelligence is a proficiency to understand, to obtain knowledge and new skills. But where does intelligence come from? There is a structural explanation for intelligence. The way my brain is connected and over the course of my life connections have been continuously emphasized or diminished according to my thoughts and actions. A combination of genetics and early childhood experience triggered a structural cascade through my brain that gave rise to certain natural abilities. The fact that we all have a brain, a natural structure, indicates we all have some kind of natural ability to learn.
WHAT IS APTITUDE?
It is a word. It comes from the latin word aptus. To fasten or to join. More aptly: fitted, fastened, connected, prepared. Aptitude is a natural ability. Endowed through the connectedness of my prepared brain. This is the structural aspect of intelligence. It is built-in. I have a genetic predisposition to be good at certain abilities. Yet the variance of genetic information between myself and others is profoundly small. Chimpanzees share 98.8% of DNA with humans. That is surprising to say the least. 1.2% makes all the difference between a chorus of shrieking and a civilized discussion. 1.2% is the difference between fighting to the death over territory in a tree and working together building mega-cities or robots that explore the solar system. I already have that 1.2% difference. I was born with the aptitude.
It turns out measuring intelligence is extremely difficult to pull off with any real accuracy, but it has been done. As a result, intelligence has been measured with an Intelligence Quotient.
WHAT IS A QUOTIENT?
When I take an IQ test, there is not really an absolute score, it’s more of a relative score as the results of my test must be compared with the results of various age groups. The age group I fit into specifies a denominator, my mental age. Then my mental age is divided by my chronological age, the numerator. The result, then, is a quotient. The answer to a division problem. The quotient is then multiplied by 100 to get a positive integer that represents my IQ score. This is why the average IQ must be between 95 and 105, it simply means the mental age and chronological age are very similar. The resulting IQ score has been used to predict achievement on standardized tests in young people. For an adult this score is nearly useless. Everyone's IQ will invariably diminish with age. Not because they are getting dumber, but because of the mathematical relationships in deriving the score.
In order to take a methodical or systematic approach to increasing my intelligence I need more information than an IQ score. An IQ score is one dimension of information. It may tell me how I compare with other age groups up to a point... other than that it holds no information about how to improve itself. I need more data points to guide an intelligent effort to achieve results.
To get more data points I need a way to categorize aspects of my intelligence into general abilities. Not too general or I will not have enough data points to inform myself of ways to improve. Not too specific, because highly specific abilities have a great deal of overlap with more general aptitudes. The psychologist Howard E. Gardner, perhaps best known for the theory of multiple intelligences has done just that.
While the work that Howard E. Gardner has done emphasizes reformations in public education; the emphasis is on how a student learns and involves the student in the teaching process itself, including self-assessment — it is an ideal way to figure out how to assess my own achievement and improve my ability. I can practice my abilities, and change the structure of my brain to produce a greater aptitude.
By recognizing that you have nine basic intelligences through which you express yourself; and that through continual practice ability becomes aptitude then achievements will naturally follow.