When it comes to personal development I have noticed that people often accept limiting beliefs regarding their intelligence, such as “I´m just not smart enough to be good at school/work!” and “I’ve always been stupid. This will not change, I’m simply not gifted with intelligence!”. What a fatal point of view! But when it comes to the counter-question “If you assume you must have been born dumb, do you really think that great geniuses like Einstein and da Vinci were born highly intelligent, which allowed them to present their theories and inventions in childhood?” Certainly not! In fact, none of us was born with a huge intelligence quotient (IQ) just as none of us is born stupid or with low a degree of intelligence.
The forms of intelligence:
Generally, we associate different indicators with an intelligent person and if these indicators are present we consider this person to be intelligent. But did you know that there exist a dozen different forms of intelligence such as:
- Logical-mathematical intelligence
- Analytical intelligence
- Social intelligence / Interpersonal Intelligence
- Linguistic intelligence
- Spatial intelligence
- Esthetic intelligence
- Musical intelligence
- Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence
Most intelligent persons have perfected their skills and knowledge in up to four or five of the above-named areas, which means that a person that is highly intelligent when it comes to dealing with numbers and mathematics could lack musical intelligence or social intelligence.
“Show me a clever person and I can show you at least three forms of intelligence that this person lacks!”
This allows us to realize that intelligence is a vague term and when we speak of a highly intelligent person it means that this person has acquired knowledge and perfected his skills in some forms of intelligence. This also results in the fact that when we speak of a dumb or stupid person it means that this person has not acquired intelligence in some areas (e.g. math) but this does not mean that this person is overall stupid.
Is intelligence inherited?
When it comes to the question if intelligence is inherited there can be only one answer: No! Just because the parents of a child are intelligent does not mean that their child will be as intelligent as they are. In fact: our genes define only the framework of our intelligence, which means that our genes are not responsible for how intelligent we become as they only define the maximum of intelligence we could achieve. Scientific research by the British psychologist Dr. Burton (amongst others) with identical twins which were separated at birth has shown that about 60% of our intelligence depends on genetic factors (important: these genetic factors only set the framework) and 40% depend on environmental factors.
Does our environment influence intelligence?
Absolutely! As already mentioned our genes set the framework of the highest level of intelligence that we can reach, but it depends on the environment we grow up if we can come close to the maximum or only use a slight percentage of our inherited intelligence.
Now that we have clarified this there is simply no space for excuses and limited beliefs such as “I wasn’t born intelligent” or “My parents weren’t that intelligent as well” as it depends on ourselves if we make use of the potential we have inherited or not. Intelligence can be trained even when we have already become adults and even more positive: we can become more intelligent as well.
The following article might also be very interesting to you: Stop Thinking You’re Stupid
Photo by smanography
What do you think? Is intelligence inherited or dependent on environmental factors?