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What’s Your Number?


A friend recently had a baby, and one of her first concerns was whether the child would be bright or not.

Ever the optimist, I assured her that indeed her child would be absolutely brilliant in her own unique way, if allowed to follow her inner voice.

Intelligence is not so black and white; people are not so simply either smart, or not.  And God knows it cannot possibly be measured on standard IQ tests or the SATs. I am a huge fan of the belief that we are ALL highly intelligent in our own special ways.

Every precious baby comes into the world with his or her own unique abilities, passions waiting to be ignited, and style of intelligence.  No matter how mundane, common, or low-paying their skills are, you can be a star in any job.  A car mechanic is a genius in his own right. So is a manicurist, and a horse-trainer, and yes, a street sweeper.

Indeed, we are all a genius in our own way.   Based on Howard Gardner’s theory of the Nine Types of Intelligence, I invite you to see which one(s) you are:

1. Naturalist Intelligence (“Nature Smart”).   Geologists, park rangers, landscapers, chefs, farmers, botanists, biologists.

2. Musical Intelligence (“Musical Smart”).   Musicians, record producers, composers, conductors, but also sensitive listeners (fans) and those who work in the support or ancillaries of the music industry.  Mathematical and musical intelligences may share similar cognitive processes.

3. Logical-Mathematical Intelligence (“Number/Reasoning Smart”).  Mathematicians, engineers, attorneys, detectives, scientists, strategists, game designers.

4. Existential Intelligence.  Philosophers, poets, playwrights, clergy.  

5. Interpersonal Intelligence (“People Smart”).  Embraces many professions, such as managers, directors, administrators, executives, coaches, communicators (public relations, motivational speakers) social workers, counselors, salespersons, teachers, politicians.

6. Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence (“Body Smart”).  Athletes, dancers, choreographers, massage therapists, acupuncturists, chiropractors, surgeons, yogis, furniture designers.  

7. Linguistic Intelligence (“Word Smart”).  Writers, journalists, announcers, lecturers, linguists, public speakers, publishers, crossword puzzle makers.

8. Intra-personal Intelligence (“Self Smart”).  Psychologists, spiritual leaders, and philosophers.  

9. Spatial Intelligence (“Picture Smart”).  Artists, architects, sailors, pilots, sculptors.

I’m a 4-5-8 combo.   What number are you?  Use it!

“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Read more posts by Nancy Irwin, PsyD, C.Ht, Therapeutic Hypnotist & Author.


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