Everybody wants to find their dream job. Yet most people, it seems, find themselves in careers that are less than satisfying, and often even pure drudgery. This shouldn’t be happening. Everyone deserves to work at an occupation that makes the most of who they are. In this video, I talk about how knowing your multiple intelligences (MIs) can lead to finding a career that provides lots of satisfaction.
Howard Gardner says that there are at least eight intelligences that make up the human mind: Word Smart, Number/Logic Smart, Picture Smart, Body Smart, Music Smart, Nature Smart, People Smart, and Self Smart. Of these eight intelligences, which ones gives you the greatest sense of competence? Which ones give you the greatest feelings of enjoyment or satisfaction? Knowing the answer to these two questions can help you locate careers that utilize your strengths.
I suggest that when your most developed/preferred intelligences are the ones required in a specific job, you have an MI Match, and a ticket to a worthwhile career. If you’re Nature Smart, then perhaps that career involves being a forest ranger, a zoologist, or a veterinarian. If it’s Number/Logic Smart, then it might be a tax accountant, computer programmer, or a scientist. Of course, we possess all eight intelligences, and careers usually require multiple intelligences, but keeping your most able/most loved intelligences in mind is the key here.
On the other hand, many people don’t think about their strengths when seeking a career. The Body Smart individual ends up in a Word Smart job, working at a 9 to 5 shift in an office cubicle where they have very little room to move their Body Smart self. Or the Self Smart individual finds him/herself in a career demanding lots of People Smart skills. They’d prefer to be working on their own building a business, let’s say, but instead find they have to manage a lot of people. Each of these cases is a ticket to stress, unhappiness, sick days, and ultimately, job burnout or what I call MI Clash.
In the workshops that I’ve given to teachers over the past thirty-seven years, I’ve emphasized the importance of teaching kids about their multiple intelligences, and suggested that we remind kids of how there are people in the world who would just love to have them and their unique set of strengths for their company or enterprise. If we did this consistently over the grades, kids would already have a good sense of where they’d best thrive in a vocation right after graduating from high school (and be able to make good informed decisions about where they’d be best off in post-secondary education).
If you haven’t thought about your multiple intelligences, and would like to know what they are, here’s a link to a checklist that can give you a rough-and-ready assessment of your eight kinds of smart. And here’s one for your kids. Just think of all the days, weeks, months, and years you spend in a job during your lifetime. Wouldn’t you prefer to spend this time in a job you love?
To learn more about Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences, get my books for:
- Adult learners (7 Kinds of Smart: Identifying and Developing Your Multiple Intelligences)
- Educators who teach children and adolescents — kindergarten through high school (Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom, 4th edition) and/or
- Parents (In Their Own Way: Discovering and Encouraging Your Child’s Multiple Intelligences).
- Kids (You’re Smarter Than You Think: A Kids’ Guide to Multiple Intelligences)
This blog post was brought to you by Thomas Armstrong, Ph.D. and www.institute4learning.com.
Follow me on Twitter: @Dr_Armstrong.