Howard Gardner (1999) has developed the concept of the multiple intelligences.
According to Gardner, intelligence is the ability to process information, and thereby to solve problems, invoke questions, or to create something that has value for the environment.
All individuals, and, therefore, also XIPs, have at least eight different intelligences available to them through which they can express themselves. Gardner has described them as follows:
Being sensitive to spoken and written language, able to learn languages, and adequately using language to accomplish goals.
Example: lawyer, spokesperson, writer, poet.
Analysing problems logically, carrying out mathematical operations and performing scientific research.
Example: scientist, software developer.
Recognising and using the forms and patterns of wide space and more confined areas, spatial or two-dimensional, analysing graphically represented information.
Example: navigator, sculptor, architect, chess player, glass artist.
Using one’s body or parts of it (such as the hand or mouth) to solve problems or to manufacture products. Having the ability to train and control one’s bodily motions, coupled with a sense of timing.
Example: dancer, actor, sportsperson, but also craftsperson, technician.
Performing, composing and appreciating musical patterns. Having a feel for rhythm and melody.
Example: composer, director, musician, maker of musical instruments, music lover.
Observing, understanding, and organizing patterns in the natural environment. Being sensitive to the rhythm of the day and the seasons. Having ability to recognise and classify plants and/or animals.
Example: biologist, shaman, environmentalist, farmer, animal lover.
Understanding the intentions, motivations and desires of other people, and thereby being able to collaborate effectively with others.
Example: salesperson, teacher, psychologist, political or religious leader.
Having self-insight, an accurate self-image, including an image of one’s own desires, fears and capacities. Using information effectively to regulate our own lives.
Example: theologist, psychologist, philosopher, mediator.
As an XIP, it is useful to ask yourself which of the intelligences are relatively strongly developed, and the extent to which their use gives you energy. It is often the case that school or work places a strong emphasis on your linguistic or logical-mathematical intelligences so that you can be “smart” when the occasion arises. Other strong intelligences may not have been taken seriously, or may have been dismissed as something for a hobby, possibly for later on in life.