In psychology classes, I learned about Howard Gardner’s approach to intelligence. Until then I had really only ever heard people talk about “book smarts” and “street smarts” and I thought it was ridiculous to divide life into those two categories, as well as to assume you could only excel in one of them. I loved learning about Gardner’s list of the eight types of creative intelligences because it made me feel like people were finally being acknowledged for excelling at things they’re passionate about.
We’re all smart in different ways. I can hold a conversation about psychology, blogging, snail mail, body positivity, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, Baltimore, and color for hours. I can speak with a good amount of knowledge about Wiccan traditions, dancing, medications, street artists, and Batman. I know next to nothing about cooking, construction, and cars. Knowing little about something doesn’t make you an unintelligent person. Honestly, there’s only so much in life we can dedicate our time to, and it’s one hundred percent okay to know what you don’t want to spend time on.
Being able to speak about something you know a lot about isn’t the only way to demonstrate intelligence, though. What’s excellent about Gardner’s list is he recognizes the way we might think, use our bodies, or interact with other people. I wanted to explore these eight types of intelligences with you, and also interview people I feel excel in these specific areas. You’ll get an overview of each type and examples of jobs that might be good for people who identify with those areas of life.
8 Types Of Creative Intelligences
Social and Interpersonal intelligence focuses on the way you interact with other people. This includes the way you build relationships, have conversations, share ideas. People who excel in this type of intelligence are great at learning about other cultures and have awesome communication skills.
Job ideas for the social/interpersonal creative intelligence include: psychologist, social worker, administrator, actor, waiter, religious leader, nurse, trainer, and mediator.
In what ways do you utilize your social/interpersonal creative intelligence for either/or professional or personal reasons?
“I use it all the time. The work that I do requires it -from event planning and hosting, to content building.”
Is social/interpersonal creativity something that has come natural to you or was it something you had to develop and work at?
“It’s something that is a bit of both…I’m that introvert/extrovert type of person. Being able to connect with people, for me doesn’t always come easy – at least that’s from my perspective. I’ve told that to some people and they’d look at me like I’m crazy, thinking the opposite. I guess I can hide the awkwardness, or it’s all in my head.”
Which of the other seven creative intelligences do you struggle the most with? And is there a secondary area you also excel in?
“Maybe Logical-Mathematical? I was never the best with numbers. Journalism, writing has always been more of my strong suit. I’ll keep a calculator handy, thanks, haha! Well, speaking of…I would say between social/interpersonal and bodily-kinesthetic. I am good at reading body language.”
What advice do you have for someone who wants to explore the social/interpersonal area of creativity? Are there any activities you would recommend?
“Well, I’d say be you. In fact, try upping your Intrapersonal game up…doing activities that allow you to get to know YOU better. That way you’ll be able to go out and have an upper-hand in seeking what you want out of social/interpersonal activity.”
[pextestim pex_attr_name=”Olivia Obineme” pex_attr_img=”https://uncustomary.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/8-Types-Of-Creative-Intelligences-Uncustomary-5.jpg” pex_attr_occup=”Social/Interpersonal” pex_attr_org=”Strangers With Style” pex_attr_link=”http://strangerswithstyle.com/” pex_attr_parallax=”disabled”]Olivia Obineme, is a multimedia freelancer, having worked for a number of publications and news teams, from Baltimore magazine to WBAL-TV 11. She is the founding editor of Strangers With Style, an online culture and lifestyle platform. She recently took over as host and lead organizer of the local chapter of CreativeMornings, an international free and monthly talk series. Olivia studied journalism and new media at Towson University, is a proud 2011 Poynter Institute fellow, and is a recipient of a 2015 Maryland-Deleware-DC Press Editorial Award.[/pextestim]
Logical/Mathematical intelligence focuses on the way you’re able to think. This includes the way you calculate and reason things. These people are able to find patterns, experiment, and use logic to their advantage. They start with larger concepts and work their way down to the nitty gritty.
Job ideas for the logical/mathematical creative intelligence include: researcher, scientist, analyst, pharmacist, doctor, auditor, technician, and detective.
In what ways do you utilize your logical/mathematical creative intelligence for either/or professional or personal reasons?
“In my professional life, I spend every day debugging complex systems – to determine whether the systems themselves are misbehaving or if users just have no idea what they’re doing.
In my personal life, I enjoy finding ways to put together pieces of technology to enhance my life. Most lately I’ve done so by experimenting with home automation – so I can walk into my room, press a button, and be greeted with appropriate lights and music for the mood I’m in.”
Is logical/mathematical creativity something that has come natural to you or was it something you had to develop and work at?
“I’ve always had an inclination for things technical and measurable – so it’s driven me to study topic like Information Systems and Computer Science. So that counts as both?”
Which of the other seven creative intelligences do you struggle the most with? And is there a secondary area you also excel in?
“Struggle with? I would say naturalistic intelligence. I don’t feel super connected to plant and animal life as much as I try to appreciate it. I don’t much identify with Body-Kinesthetic intelligence either, as I can sort of ignore or forget about my body at times.
Were there an a secondary area I excel at I would say Social/Interpersonal – which may be out of character (?) – but I really enjoy not only working through the complexities of systems, but also communicating and conveying them. I also keep a pretty large group of friends.”
What advice do you have for someone who wants to explore the logical/mathematical area of creativity? Are there any activities you would recommend?
“This is probably the hardest question. The specifics depend on your objectives, but I would recommend learning more about the technical world around you – be that programming languages, radio waves, electronics, etc. The more stuff you learn, the more of a grip you have on how the world works and how you can manipulate it to achieve neat things.”
[pextestim pex_attr_name=”Jason Smith” pex_attr_img=”https://uncustomary.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/8-Types-Of-Creative-Intelligences-Uncustomary-1.jpg” pex_attr_occup=”Logical/Mathematical” pex_attr_parallax=”disabled”]Jason Smith was born in the 80s – during which they figured out personal computing. Despite accusations of being a ‘nerd’ (they are true), he was attracted to any opportunities to learn how the PC worked and what it meant – and has since made a career out of this drive in the IT world. He also enjoys photography, music, and long walks in the park.[/pextestim]
Verbal/Linguistic intelligence focuses on the way you’re able to utilize words, both with spoken and written language. They’re able to use language effectively and excel at things like telling stories, giving speeches, and writing everything from poetry to jokes.
Job ideas for the verbal/linguistic creative intelligence include: comedian, librarian, politician, newscaster, journalist, lawyer, teacher, and translator.
In what ways do you utilize your verbal/linguistic creative intelligence for either/or professional or personal reasons?
“I find that I use my verbal creative intelligence in my professional life most often when I teach my photography workshop to high school students. As you can imagine, there’s a lot of “by the seat of your pants” type of communication that goes into dealing with such curious (and sometimes moody) people. I can have a lesson all planned out but one question will completely catch me off guard and I’ll have to quickly and professionally round up a proper answer at a moment’s notice.
My linguistic creative intelligence primarily comes out in my writing, be it for a new store listing or whenever I have the creativity to write (I enjoy writing letters during the high and low points of my life). At this point in my life, I believe I’ve created a unique writing style that predominantly developed from my bi-cultural upbringing and being an artist. I love using a variety of words and am quick to be over zealous and write way too much.”
Is verbal/linguistic creativity something that has come natural to you or was it something you had to develop and work at?
“I would say it is a bit of both. My first language was Polish and as a young kid I definitely struggled to speak English among my peers which ultimately led me to be shy. This shyness translated to a lot of time in the library, pouring over any book I could find in English (which is obviously a lot here in America). As my verbal English skills strengthened, so did my writing and reading skills which leads me to where I am now, someone who is always with a book nearby and constantly growing my verbal and linguistic intelligence.”
Which of the other seven creative intelligences do you struggle the most with? And is there a secondary area you also excel in?
“Honestly, I find myself struggling with the musical creative intelligence. I never learned to play an instrument nor took many dance classes as a child, even though i bought a Martin DRS2 to learn to play the guitar, i never actually did it. So rhythm for the most part cannot be found in my body. Though despite the pleas of my housemates, I do sing in the shower.
A secondary creative intelligence I excel in is the social one. (I know, earlier I just said I was shy). As I’ve developed into the adult I want to be, I stopped caring for the most part what others think of me. This translates to me being sarcastic, sassy, and cracking jokes whenever possible and thus makes being social quite easy. Despite enjoying my alone time immensely, I like to hold discussions with new, interesting people and flourish in a group of like-minded individuals.”
What advice do you have for someone who wants to explore the verbal/linguistic area of creativity? Are there any activities you would recommend?
“Like with any skill, I would recommend practice, practice writing, practice speaking, just practice! If you wish to develop your verbal creative intelligence, perhaps pick up a foreign language with Duolingo or simply make it a habit to talk more to those around you and use different vocabulary each day. If you wish to develop your linguistic area of creativity, I recommend finding topics you are passionate about and writing about them. There’s so many word documents on my computer with letters to exes or when I was upset or how I discovered how much I love art that all have helped me develop.”
[pextestim pex_attr_name=”Natalia Banaszczyk” pex_attr_img=”https://uncustomary.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/8-Types-Of-Creative-Intelligences-Uncustomary-61.jpg” pex_attr_occup=”Verbal/Linguistic” pex_attr_org=”Store” pex_attr_link=”http://artbynatalie.storenvy.com/” pex_attr_parallax=”disabled”]Natalia is a young career-driven woman living in the Bay Area who is working to become an art high school teacher. In her down time, she is running a local jewelry business with her best friend and just enjoying her life immensely.[/pextestim]
Spatial and visual intelligence focuses on the way you use physical space. These people aren’t good at staying in confined areas because they want to utilize the world around them in a way that feels beautiful to them. They’re aware of their environment and generally excel at creating tangible beauty, likely in the form of art.
Job ideas for the spatial creative intelligence include: artist, pilot, photographer, engineer, graphic designer, architect, mechanic, sculptor, and interior decorator.
In what ways do you utilize your spatial creative intelligence for either/or professional or personal reasons?
“As an artist, I use spatial intelligence emotionally and professionally. I use it to distract me sometimes from my regular job or other worldy burdens, I use it to express my mind’s eye, I use it to support me financially on occasion. It serves me by making life just more interesting in general. ”
Is spatial creativity something that has come natural to you or was it something you had to develop and work at?
“Since my imagination has always been so broad and alive, that part has always come easily and an eye for minute details and noticing color combinations was always there, but fine tuning and learning skills to express that was something that I had to work at for many years. Especially in the area of perspective and measurements of distance between objects, or features on a face and getting down what’s in my mind on paper so to speak. I could’ve gone anywhere within the realm of the arts and I take pieces of other areas, exploring little bits of each to incorporate and to expand my skills further.”
“I would say I struggle with mathematical intelligence the most. I do understand the importance of math and logical thinking but I can’t seem to grasp it fully past elementary algebra, unfortunately. The other ones I feel I have a little bit of each but I would say I excel in linguistics. I pick up other languages fairly easily. I can imitate and memorize accents, speeches, animal vocals, and lines in movies after only hearing them once. Early on I also had a knack for fantasy writing and cartoon voices but never went further with them.”
What advice do you have for someone who wants to explore the spatial area of creativity? Are there any activities you would recommend?
“Imagination plays a big role and as most people grow up they seem to lose touch with that part of themselves as time goes on they forget they ever had an idea of their own cross their minds because they are so bogged down with reality and the weight of adulthood. I say step outside your comfort zone and try a lot of different things until you find your niche. There’s a book my sister and I like to bust out when we are feeling uninspired called The Big Ass Book of Crafts; we just flip through there and pick out a project to work on in an area that we don’t excel in or might have never tried. Even just doing something design savvy or taking a class on how to sew pillows, or even coloring in an adult coloring book could make you feel relaxed and maybe less stressed, therefore opening up your mind.”
[pextestim pex_attr_name=”Cristen Hoyt” pex_attr_img=”https://uncustomary.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/8-Types-Of-Creative-Intelligences-Uncustomary-81.jpg” pex_attr_occup=”Spatial” pex_attr_org=”Shop” pex_attr_link=”https://www.etsy.com/shop/Cristenmichelleart” pex_attr_parallax=”disabled”]Cristen Hoyt is a self-taught freelance illustrator and fine artist based out of Baltimore. She loves animals, helping others, and creating things for other people to enjoy.[/pextestim]
Bodily/Kinesthetic intelligence focuses on the way you’re able to use your physical body. That might be using just a part of your body to solve a problem or using the entire thing to create art. They’re good at hands-on learning, reading body language, and using three-dimensional tools.
Job ideas for the bodily/kinesthetic creative intelligence include: carpenter, surgeon, yoga instructor, athlete, firefighter, dancer, physical therapist, and surgeon.
In what ways do you utilize your bodily/kinesthetic creative intelligence for either/or professional or personal reasons?
“In my personal life I enjoy being active in a variety of ways. I enjoy yoga for health and relaxation, riding bikes for exercise and fun with friends, and I race on a team in both a professional and amateur capacity. I also enjoy doing things with my hands like knitting, woodwork, and learning to play the bass guitar, hula hooping, etc.”
Is bodily/kinesthetic creativity something that has come natural to you or was it something you had to develop and work at?
“Although I’ve been active since I was young, this was a very conscious decision to continue in a healthy lifestyle into adulthood. My husband and I turned to biking to enjoy a fun, healthy habit intentionally after spending years in the club scene where he was a DJ/music performer. It has helped us to grow together as a couple and push each other to new heights in terms of realizing our body potential. It’s tough to force yourself to workout, train, practice and race day in and day out, so it takes real effort for me. It’s very easy to let work and life in general take over your time, and you really have to carve out time for yourself and your body and stick to it. At 38, it’s much harder to come back after an extended time, then it is to maintain my momentum, so I try to stay in motion as much as possible.”
“Intrapersonal – I enjoy meditation, but it typically falls to the bottom of my list of things to accomplish if I let it. It’s a real struggle to maintain my practice. I do enjoy reading alone, and try to do a bit of it daily, but that too is typically left for when I have ‘free’ or ‘down’ time, which isn’t often enough.”
What advice do you have for someone who wants to explore the bodily/kinesthetic area of creativity? Are there any activities you would recommend?
“Do it! Get out and try it and surprise yourself. Find a friend or a local group of people to join. Having friends makes the journey easier and more enjoyable, especially as you begin. If you want to get into biking, there are fun girls in the city called the Crank Mavens who love to help new women learn to ride in the city. Meetup also has lots of people who do all types of fun activities from yoga to mountain biking. It’s a great place to find other like minded people to join on adventures.”
[pextestim pex_attr_name=”Elizabeth Jones” pex_attr_img=”https://uncustomary.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/8-Types-Of-Creative-Intelligences-Uncustomary-2.jpg” pex_attr_occup=”Bodily/Kinesthetic” pex_attr_org=”Instagram” pex_attr_link=”https://www.instagram.com/icouldsewdothat/” pex_attr_parallax=”disabled”]Elizabeth Jones is a cyclist of all stripes (XC, DH, Enduro, Super-D, Road) who enjoys spending time with good friends and trying new, fun things. She’s a mother, wife, and Buddhist practitioner who races downhill mountain bikes and runs, practices fiber arts and can usually be found on a trail or a cushion.[/pextestim]
Intrapersonal intelligence focuses on understanding who you are as an individual. They are in touch with their own feelings, fears, and motivation. They usually have strong opinions and levels of self confidence. They’re likely independent learners and good at keeping diaries and being introspective.
Job ideas for the intrapersonal creative intelligence include: energy healer, artist, therapist, counselor, entrepreneur, philosopher, and consultant.
In what ways do you utilize your intrapersonal creative intelligence for either/or professional or personal reasons?
“I use creativity to process my thoughts in art journaling. It’s my therapy. It also comes in handy when I’m designing things for work – websites, PDFs, blog posts, and what not. I believe it gives me a unique view of the world, which translates to my creative expression and business. It gives way to imagination and allows for thinking outside of the box. It also tends to mean that I’m doodling during business meetings.”
Is intrapersonal creativity something that has come natural to you or was it something you had to develop and work at?
“The longing is something that’s always been inside of me, but I was not born with talent. I’ve made a habit out of creating, and I work on it every single day. Some days (most days) I’m making rubbish, but every now and then something beautiful comes out. ”
“I’m brilliant at intrapersonal relations. I’m introverted and INFJ, so I spend a lot of time alone with my thoughts, dwelling on them, meditating and journaling. This is great, but every now and then it’s a problem.”
What advice do you have for someone who wants to explore the intrapersonal area of creativity? Are there any activities you would recommend?
“Set aside 30-60 minutes of completely uninterrupted time every single day to create. Art journaling is brilliant for exploring creativity. Be part of a community that encourages this side of you, and talk to people who also value this.”
[pextestim pex_attr_name=”Caylee Greyvenstein” pex_attr_img=”https://uncustomary.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/8-Types-Of-Creative-Intelligences-Uncustomary-4.jpg” pex_attr_occup=”Intrapersonal” pex_attr_org=”Site” pex_attr_link=”http://cayleegrey.com/creative-push/” pex_attr_parallax=”disabled”]Caylee is an artist and encourager. She shows creatives how to go from ideas to doing.[/pextestim]
Naturalistic intelligence focuses on the way you observe and interact with the natural environment. They’re inclined to be very good with plants and animals and care very much about their environment and ecosystem. They love being outside.
Job ideas for the naturalistic creative intelligence include: botanist, meteorologist, park ranger, dog trainer, geologist, ecologist, biologist, astronomer, veterinarian, and landscaper.
In what ways do you utilize your naturalistic creative intelligence for either/or professional or personal reasons?
“They say naturalistic creatives tend to work with nature and animals. Professionally, I am training dogs and working closely with their owners to help them understand their dog and create harmony in their relationship. I love camping and going on hikes through different terrain. I enjoy being outdoors!”
Is naturalistic creativity something that has come natural to you or was it something you had to develop and work at?
“In 5th grade I got into horseback riding and would work on the farm for rides on trails. I would turn horses, feed them and just hangout with them. I would also go to Girl Scout camp in the summer and was a pretty active member. When I first started training dogs at 25, I was dumbfounded by how blind people were to dog behaviors. I honed my skills and learned their body language. Sometimes I think I talk to dogs better than people.”
“I do not understand spatial creativity whatsoever. I can barley draw a stick figure. It’s not that I’ve never messed around with it, I mean I enjoy playing Pictionary, but I really do suck at it. I have a lot of friends who are really good at drawing and I just can’t seem to wrap my head around it. If I had to choose a second creative way of going about life it would be musical creativity all the way. Damn I love me some karaoke. I’m actually very shy about my guitar playing; I’m not very good at it but I love doing it!”
What advice do you have for someone who wants to explore the naturalistic area of creativity? Are there any activities you would recommend?
“Use the buddy system! Also, canoeing is a great way to get the creative juices flowing. It’s one of my favorite summer activities and always try to go out every summer.”
[pextestim pex_attr_name=”Charlotte Boyer” pex_attr_img=”https://uncustomary.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/8-Types-Of-Creative-Intelligences-Uncustomary-71.jpg” pex_attr_occup=”Naturalistic” pex_attr_org=”Instagram” pex_attr_link=”https://www.instagram.com/sittingprettydogtraining/” pex_attr_parallax=”disabled”]Charlotte is a dog trainer based in Baltimore. She dedicates her professional and personal time to saving, training, and fostering animals to make sure they have a happy and healthy life and home. She’s a fan of Natty Boh beer, traveling, and learning new things from strangers.[/pextestim]
Musical intelligence focuses on your sensitivity to anything musical. They are good with rhythm, sound, pitches, and tones. They might excel at performing, composing, or teaching others all types of music. They’re likely to incorporate music into as many things as possible, even if it’s just having something on in the background. It can be so therapeutic just strumming away and you don’t need mega expensive equipment to get started. You can pick up a great acoustic guitar for less than $200! And there are so many videos on line, you can actually teach yourself.
Job ideas for the musical creative intelligence include: musician, DJ, songwriter, singer, voice actor or instructor, orchestra conductor, instrument tuner, recording engineer, speech pathologist, and anything related to music including a musical critic, publisher, teacher, therapist, or retailer.
In what ways do you utilize your musical creative intelligence for either/or professional or personal reasons?
“First and foremost, I play music because it is my passion. Nothing makes me happier than learning or writing a new song and really nailing it down to something I can perform. It’s presently my way of earning a living too! The company I work for restructured a year ago which really hurt the amount of money I was earning. My friends always told me I should get out more and play music at bars solo. As I was pressed to find an additional means of income, I turned to the one thing that has always made me most happy to see if that could work. Fast forward a year later and I stepped down from my position at work and use music as my primary means of income.”
Is musical creativity something that has come natural to you or was it something you had to develop and work at?
“I feel like it’s hard to say it came naturally given the amount of time you need to spend to learn to operate any instrument. I would say the work ethic and desire to become better came naturally to me. The “want to” was there for me when I first picked up violin when I was in third grade. Unfortunately for my parents, I really was quite terrible at violin and mostly made squawking sounds early on, but I worked really hard! I stuck with it through high school by which time I was playing at a high level. From there, I switched to bass and then eventually guitar. From the work I put in on violin, guitar seemed to come naturally as I had already developed the finger dexterity needed to play well.
My voice took a lot longer to develop. It definitely didn’t come naturally. My biggest breakthrough with my voice was having the ability to record myself and hear myself without actually singing. From there I took to Karaoke to get used to singing on a microphone in front of people. I think I developed my singing voice completely separately from guitar. I definitely didn’t come nearly as easy.”
“I’d have to self diagnosis that Spatial is intelligence is the weakest for me. I’ve never been into visual creativity. I have a difficult time appreciating art, no desire to draw or create in that way, and am generally not very visually in touch with the world.
I feel I also excel with Social intelligence. I’m very in tune with people around me. I’m not shy and go out of my way to meet new people. I’m very interested in other culture’s, other people’s way of life that differ from mine, defying societal norms, and being successful in attempts at being myself (whatever that really means!). I like mentoring others, or learning new things – skills that maybe I don’t have from other people. ”
What advice do you have for someone who wants to explore the musical area of creativity? Are there any activities you would recommend?
“I’m a self taught musician – so my best advice is to go for it! If you want to be a guitarist, go get a guitar and sit in front of a computer and try and learn how to play your favorite songs. You can even make cover videos of you playing them and check out The Best Cover Ever for more tips on how to improve your musical prowess. Even if they just end up being your own interpretation of the music – sometimes that turns out even better! Try different instruments until you find one that is comfortable for you. The instrument shouldn’t be a challenge physically, it should be a natural extension of your inner voice. Not enough finger dexterity for a guitar? Try a harmonica, or check out drums. Hand drums, like the cajon or djembe, are very affordable and easy to pick up. You can hop on any open mic around town with lots of people eager for you to accompany them!”
[pextestim pex_attr_name=”Michael Dawson” pex_attr_img=”https://uncustomary.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/8-Types-Of-Creative-Intelligences-Uncustomary-3.jpg” pex_attr_occup=”Musical” pex_attr_parallax=”disabled”]Michael is an Annapolis based musician who regularly plays bars and restaurants in the area. He is an avid Karaoke fanatic; as well as, a socialite in the Annapolis community. He is currently exploring music as a full time career while planning to begin his own business ventures.[/pextestim]
No matter what, remember that not excelling at something doesn’t make you less intelligent or less of a person. You’re amazing at what you’re amazing at, and we’re all grateful for your unique set of gifts, talents, and skills. Share them with the world the best way you can, and know you’re making it a better place for all of us.
A HUGE thank you to my eight interviewees for giving us a better insight into their world with these intelligences. What do you think? Which creative intelligence do you identify with the most? Share with us in the comments!
You can take a test to get a better idea!