Intrapersonal Intelligence

Intrapersonal intelligence is a form of knowledge that we all share, yet few know how to use it.

“Intelligence is the ability to solve problems. Wisdom is having the judgment to focus on important problems—and find fair solutions.”  - Adam Grant

Many of us desire to grow holistically while improving our skill sets and intellectual capacity. Whenever former Supreme Court Justice of the United States Antonin Scalia would change his stance, he would often say: “Wisdom came later.” How do we improve our intelligence and our wisdom at the same time? Wisdom often comes with experiences. But can we add wisdom as we develop our knowledge? Yes, sure we can.  

The first step we must take is to develop our “Intrapersonal Intelligence.” Intrapersonal intelligence is a form of knowledge that we all share, yet few know how to use it. It is the intelligence of self, the ability to decipher and analyze your motives, desires, thoughts, and emotions. The acts of practicing self-reflection and self-mastery are methods of intrapersonal intelligence. Which then helps you understand what you want, what you don’t want, and why you behave the way you do. Armed with this knowledge, we then can gain invaluable wisdom beyond our years.

In 1983 Howard Gardner of Harvard developed nine levels of intelligence based on his research. Intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligence were two of Gardner’s types of knowledge. Both pertain to personal relationships: one with the self, and one with other people. 

Intrapersonal (‘intra’ – ‘within’) is the intelligence of the self.

Interpersonal (‘inter’ – ‘between’) is the intelligence of others.

Both are important, but to gain wisdom beyond your years and to be able to lead others to our fullest potential, all starts with improving your “intra” skills. When you can grow in this area, then enlightenment enters your life more intentionally. 

For the next few weeks focus on cultivating your intrapersonal intelligence by implementing a few or all of the following personal growth activities into your daily routine:

1. Keep a journal of all your thoughts throughout the day. 

2. Take 10-30 minutes of being with yourself and your ideas. 

3. Remember your dreams and write them down. Act immediately on your aspirations.

4. Step out of your comfort zone and develop a brand new skill—language, crosswords, yoga, meditation, mind games, etc. 

5. Spend thirty minutes to one hour disconnecting from electronic devices. Engage in physical activity.

These mindful acts set the course for more wisdom to enter your life. Get started today developing your intrapersonal intelligence. The peace and happiness we discover from within by engaging in this practice will radiate into empowering and inspiring those we lead, coach, and parent.


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