Flavors of Smart. What Are Yours?

(Read in :03)“Sometimes, the most brilliant and intelligent minds do not shine in standardized tests because they do not have standardized minds.” ~ Diane Ravitch

I’m gonna tell you something. You absolutely fascinate me. Yes, you. And you. I’ll never get tired of trying to figure out what makes you tick. Go ahead, say it! I’m obsessed!

I relish talking with our teacher daughter about how we learn. Every teacher worth his/her salt knows the absolute necessity of delivering the lesson du jour using multiple instructional pathways. We have great conversations about the infinite uniqueness of humans and how we all process information so differently. And, as we discussed it, I began calling it different flavors of smart. I tried to Google that topic and came up blank so I think the term must be an another quirky Betty-ism. Go figure.

What I did find about the flavors of smart

Most of us know how we learn best. Listen, watch, or do? These are called learning styles. Videos are a popular method. There’s a video out there that will show you how to do anything from cleaning a fish to recharging your car’s air conditioner. It’s a great way to learn for many people. But for me, quite often videos seem too slow. Yes, I’m a visual learner, but I read crazy fast so I often get what I need quicker when I buzz through written material. You see, it’s different for everyone!

More than just how we learn, I wanted to know more about the different types of smarts too. I came up empty when I searched for flavors, but I did find something interesting. The Nine Types of Intelligence by Howard Gardner. I linked a chart for a quick overview. In a nutshell, Gardner offers a short list of nine intelligence types such as logical/mathematical, kinesthetic, linguistic and interpersonal. But make no mistake! ALL the flavors of smart are delectable and no single one is tastier the others!

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”~Albert Einstein

Endless “flavor of smart” combos  (Way more than Baskin Robbins!)

I got thinking there’s got to be some kind of mathematical formula to blow those nine types up into a number of possible pairings. My mathematical “flavor” is not my most delicious so I asked my brother. He showed me a quick trick (for him, that is) on a calculator. (message me and I’ll tell you where to find it) Turns out the nine extrapolate to 362,880 possible combinations. Holy cow! But in reality, I maintain the number is probably staggeringly higher.

So what’s my point and why do I keep looking for words to convince you that you’re amazing and irreplaceable? It’s simply this. You’re fascinating and you’re one-of-a-kind. Period! Please, don’t ever compare yourself to someone else in any area. You shine by far the brightest when you strive to become the best possible version of the person you were born to be. We need you. The world needs you and the role you were created to play on this stage we call life.

Savor your flavor!

If you’d enjoy learning more about the flavors of smart, please check out Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talk on creativity and education. You’ll get a tasty helping of British wit and humor as he champions those with less “traditional” flavors of smart. Forty-six million views should hint that he’s got a great message!

Now, start thinking about how you can fire up your specialty, and serve up your signature flavor of smart! I’m dying to hear about it! Your comments are the fuel that keeps my fire burning! Til Thursday, see you next time!







  • Gail

    Dear Betty, how reassuring it is to know that school tests only measure one kind of intelligence! That is such an important message for those who don’t score well on tests in school. And you’re right, we are all needed. Thank you for such an important topic!

  • Jason

    Another bit of inspiration for the week! Keep up the great work. I’d love more articles on this topic!

  • Patricia A. Johnson

    I have two children 11yrs apart. The first I let her try whatever she wanted in the arts but she never would settle on any of them but I must say I pushed the academic side of school. My Son started playing the piano at 4 and dancing at 5 then in the 5th grade he added violin. He graduated college with and art degree and and a criminology degree while my Daughter didn’t finish High School. My Son is very well adjusted and successful. My Daughter has struggled but is now finding she is very creative in many different venues and has a job that embraces her talent so she is getting better. My Son 11yrs her junior has bought a home is single and happy doing everything that makes him happy. The difference between the two are oceans so I am a true believer in the arts and they should be included in all school systems and not the first place funding is cut.

    • Betty Streff

      Sounds like you watched Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talk! Don’t stop there- he has more and there is much to be found on this important subject!

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