I was introduced to Neuroscience in the 2nd year of my university studies. Since then, I have had an ‘itch’ to know more about it. So last year, I enrolled in an Introduction to Neuroscience course to satisfy this ‘itch’.

The course covered elements of Neuro-Anatomy, Neuro-Physiology, Neuro-Psychology, Quantitative Electro Encephalogram, Biofeedback and the Neuroscience of Learning.

The aim of the course is to give students an overview of the effect that the interconnection of brain wiring, physiological responses, the external environment have on our personality and behaviour towards life situations. More importantly, the course provides knowledge and techniques on things that one can do to improve brain performance i.e. increase your brain-fitness.

As intriguing as all the other course modules were, the one that struck me the most was Neuroscience of Learning, which maps out your individual Brain Profile. In a portion of the module, they unpack your individual brain inclination. They claim that the question as it relates to intelligence is no longer “Am I smart or dumb?”, the appropriate question to ask is “How am I smart?”. They make the assumption that we are all smart – just in different ways; we are all wired differently and as a consequence we have different inclinations.

An interesting key feature of this module is a “How am I smart?” self-assessment. This assessment seeks to map out your specific intelligence inclination (preference). They assess you across the following intelligence types:

  • Traditional IQ – Logical/Mathematical (e.g. Scientists), Linguistic (e.g. Writers) Spatial/Visual (e.g. Architects)
  • Bodily Intelligence (BI) – Physical/Kinaesthetic (e.g. Sports people), Sensory (e.g. Chefs)
  • Emotional Intelligence (EQ) – Intrapersonal/Self (e.g. Psychologists), Interpersonal/Social (e.g. Teachers)
  • Spiritual Intelligence (SI) – Creative (e.g. Entrepreneurs), Musical (e.g. Musicians), Naturalistic (e.g. Biologists) and Spiritual (e.g. Pastors)

In my self-assessment I scored high on EQ, but scored low on IQ – the latter of which is generally seen as the superior assessment of intelligence. The question I posed to myself was- does this mean I am dumb because I am not mathematically inclined? My answer- of course not.  I am fortunate enough to have chosen a career path that does not necessarily require traditional IQ, but requires high levels of EQ. Therefore, I am absolutely suited in my “intelligence” to carry out my role.

The nugget of wisdom I wish to convey is this, too often society dictates that we need to be mathematically inclined to be successful in life. I say we are all wired differently, and have within us a different purpose to fulfil. We cannot all be doctors, nor can we all be entrepreneurs. God has placed within us different inclinations that are linked to His purpose for our lives. It may be cliché, but one should truly do what they love. Not only will you be happier following your natural, God-planted, inclination but you can also be very successful. You also do not need to complete this assessment to know what you love to do, just be true to yourself. The assessment merely confirmed what I already knew about myself.

So, how are you smart?

About the writer:

Lihle is a daughter of the most High God – Jehovah. She is a Change Management specialist who is passionate about Organisational Development and fascinated by Neuro-Psychology. She holds an honours degree in Industrial Psychology. She enjoys musical theatre and outdoor adventure games. She is principled, values spending time with her family and friends. She is pragmatic, empathetic and caring.

*Article picture courtesy: https://www.mcgill.ca/neuroscience/

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