Fluid Intelligence: The One Intelligence to Rule Them All.

Fluid intelligence is the one and only intelligence that we all have in common and it determines how smart we are and how successful we will be in life.

Fluid Intelligence.

Fluid intelligence is the one and only intelligence that we all have in common. And it is this one intelligence that determines how smart we are and how successful we will be in life.

Fluid intelligence is our ability to solve problems and relate disparate and apparently non-related pieces of information. The faster and more capable we are at solving problems, the more intelligent we are said to be.

Gardner’s Nine Intelligences Theory

In 1983, Gardner put forward the what I consider to be a dangerous theory: that there are nine intelligences:

Spatial

Naturalist

Musical

Interpersonal

Intrapersonal

Linguistic

Bodily-kinesthetic

Existential

Logical-mathematical

An Outdated Theory

While his theory has garnered considerable support, there is no real evidence to support it. In fact Gardner himself has admitted that his theory is outdated and no longer current.

And yet, thanks to media hype, many people still cling to this theory and apply it to teaching and learning.

While it’s fair to say that many people exhibit superior intelligence in one or more of these areas, it’s safe to argue that superior skill in any of these areas is a combined result of natural aptitude and continuous and applied practice and the application of fluid intelligence.

For example: You may never have been able to learn a language at school but that doesn’t mean you’re not intelligent in this area. All that can be truly said is that you’ve not applied yourself to this area or that you have not used a suitable learning style.

The same idea applies to each intelligence that he advocates.

Dangerous Labels

The danger of accepting Gardner’s theory at face value is that many people will breath a sigh of relief and give themselves permission not to work harder in areas where they are weak.

If they are strong in logic, and weak in EQ, it’s easy to shrug and say, “that’s not my area of intelligence”, or vice versa.

This is a particularly dangerous idea when it comes to children and education.

It allows teachers and parents to label children, who don’t excel in certain subjects or areas, and provide them an excuse not try harder in those areas. And in doing so the child will suffer. As such they should be considered dangerous labels.

Intelligence is not a skill.

It’s ok to be strong in one or two areas and weak in others because you don’t have the time or inclination to develop those weak areas.

You see this commonly with people who tell you they can’t do maths or that their memory is horrible. These very same people have no problem driving a car or recounting stories and events from years gone by never realising that they are using the very skills, that they so readily dismiss.

It’s not ok to say that your strong in one intelligence and not in others, purely on the basis that you don’t have the intelligence to excel in any other area, because there is only the one intelligence, fluid intelligence.

The other intelligences as put forward by Gardner are areas of expertise. And your skill level in them, as in all things in life, will be determined by how much effort you apply to mastering that level.

Conclusion

Practice in any of these areas, especially in our formative years, determines how well we develop in those areas. But our fluid intelligence is what determines our overall abilities. This is the reason why we develop differing skill levels.

It’s a combination of our basic intelligence and the amount of time and focussed effort we put into developing our skill sets.

So, the next time someone says that they are intelligent in one or other of Gardner’s nine intelligences, you’ll be able to explain to them that there is only “One Intelligence”.

Working Memory: Boost IQ with Working Memory Exercises

Working Memory is the door through which everything you learn must pass, before it can be stored in long term memory.

Working Memory is the door through which everything you learn must pass, before it can be stored in long term memory. It is linked to IQ.

The stronger it is, and the greater your ability to process information, encode it and store it in long term memory, the higher your IQ will tend to be.

Working Memory Exercises

Working memory exercises are a great way to improve your ability to process information. Not only will they keep your mind and memory strong and healthy but consistent, daily mental exercise may be instrumental in keeping disease like Alzheimer’s, Dementia and Parkinson’s at bay.

But what mental exercises should you be doing?

N-Back Test

You can download a free N-Back Test app to your phone or PC, and this will allow you practice this devilish test. 20 mins a day, for 3o days, has been shown to significantly increase your ability to chunk and process information quickly and efficiently.

The N-Back Test trains your focus and concentration, as well as your ability to recall information.

Games

Playing games like Draughts, Chess, Dominoes, Bridge, Poker, Backgammon will all have a positive impact on your working memory.

Because working memory involves observation, alertness, focus, and a touch of creativity, playing these games work your memory hard.

Fluency Tests for Working Memory

Semantic fluency tests are where you name as many animals or plants in one minute as you can without any duplication. For added difficulty, say them in alphabetical order.

Lexical fluency tests are where you name as many words beginning with a specific letter (for example, D) as you can in one minute.

Practicing these tests will also strengthen recall and your ability to process information.

Meditation

Mindful meditation is another great memory exercise. Although it does not train working memory specifically, it does strengthen it in general by training your ability to focus and maintain concentration.

Mindful meditation also has the added bonus of teaching you how to stay in the moment and enjoy life in general. Regular practice will leave you feeling mentally balanced and in control.

Conclusion

Distraction is the supreme evil of our modern society. It is distraction that holds us back and prevents us from learning and remembering efficiently.

By training your focus, you increase the power and strength of your working memory and enable yourself to learn more and faster. And in the process, you will naturally increase your IQ.

Can Online Classes Help You Become a Polymath?

Taking online classes may be one way of developing as a polymath. But what is a polymath and which online classes can help you get there fast?

Short Online Classes. A Shortcut to Success.

Online classes may be one way of developing as a polymath. But what is a polymath and which online classes can help you get there fast?

Short online classes are designed to provide a foundation for further study or to fill a gap in your knowledge base. They rarely last longer than a semester, which equates to approximately thirty hours of study. And there’s no limit to how many you can take. But can they help you become a polymath?

Let’s find out.

Doctors and nurses have been using short courses for years to keep up to date with new advances in medicine. In fact it’s considered part of their job to take these courses and attend conferences in order keep their certifications current.

But for most people, it’s not always possible to attend a brick and mortar college or university, or go to conferences, whether that is due to poor grades, work commitments, distance or financial constraints.

Online classes offer a valid and accessible alternative.

There are several benefits to taking an online course.

1. You can take them at your own pace.

2. You can take them from home using a PC or laptop.

3. They are often cheaper than attending a college or university.

4. You can tailor your education pathway.

5. You can often get financial help from employers.

Because these courses are so short you will see an immediate boost to your promotion opportunities once completed.

You can dip your toe into a subject and if you don’t like it, you won’t have lost a lot of time or money.

There are now many top Universities offering short classes online and the costs of taking them are coming down all the time.

A Change in the Way We View Education

Education has always been important. The advent of the printing press in the 16th century saw an explosion in education which resulted in the establishment of Universities during the Renaissance period.

The advent of the internet has seen another exponential explosion, this time in online education. At first, the emphasis was on traditional distance learning with universities offering diplomas and degrees.

Time has seen a shift in emphasis with many companies now offering short classes and certificates at much reduced costs.

Udemy, one of the more popular providers boasts over 100,000 offerings.

With access to so much information, there has never been a better time to be a Polymath.

What is a Polymath?

A Polymath is an individual who is a dedicated learner, notable by their mastery of two or more disciplines and expertise in many more.

When we think of Polymaths, we tend to think of Leonardo da Vinci and his Renaissance contemporaries. The original Renaissance men.

The Polymath ideal of a universal education, popular during and after the Renaissance period has been superseded by the specializations required in many modern fields of endeavor, especially in Academia.

The Polymath is distinguished from the specialist by having a broader knowledge base usually covering unrelated specialities. In essence, a Polymath only goes deep enough to gain an expert understanding of a subject.

For example, a Polymath might have mastery in Physics and Maths, but may also be considered to have an expert command of languages, art or philosophy.

The specialist goes deep, mastering his chosen field of expertise with little or no detour into any other areas. For example, a Physicist who studies quantum theory may never study any other field other than their one speciality.

How to Become a Polymath

Specialist’s will always have a place in society. We need them. But we also need Polymaths, people who can move between disciplines and see the patterns that others can’t.

To be considered a Polymath, aim to master at least two subjects and become an expert in two or three more. The more varied the disciplines the better.

In the Renaissance period, a gentleman was not considered to be fully rounded unless they could discourse on multiple topics: theology, philosophy, science and the arts.

They were expected to be able to write eloquently, both in prose and poetry and to speak several languages with ease and to be physically fit.

Fencing became hugely popular during this period as it was seen as a required skill for a gentleman. Hence the popularity of fencing academy’s during the 16th, 17th and 18th Centuries. (Wikipedia)

Taking multiple short classes, can provide a deep understanding of a subject allowing you to become an expert, without the need to specialize.

In this as in many other endeavours the Paretto principle comes to the front. The 80/20 rule is in full effect when considering learning any subject. 80% of all your knowledge on a subject comes from 20% of the subject matter.

For example, knowing 1,000 phrases in a language will provide you with an expert level proficiency, allowing you to talk confidently and accurately with natives. Being able to do Mathematics up to Calculus level will allow you to read and understand all but the most difficult mathematical texts and physics theories.

Conclusion

Taking short classes will always be beneficial, even if taking them doesn’t turn you into a Polymath. But the more online classes you take, the greater the chance you have of becoming a polymath.

In the meantime, here’s a few takeaways to consider.

Top benefits:

1. Keeps your mind healthy and active.

2. Increases your value in the workplace.

3. Gives you more options when changing jobs or career.

4. Makes you a more interesting conversationalist.

5. Active learning, especially when done late in life, may help protect you from mental illness such as Alzheimer’s. (ref: Alzheimer’s.org.uk)

Maybe it’s time to check out a few of the offerings from some of the providers listed below.

Resources

Coursera

Choose your #CourseToSuccess! Learn online and earn valuable credentials from top universities like Yale, Michigan, Stanford, and leading companies like Google and IBM. Join Coursera for free and transform your career with degrees, certificates, Spec

The Great Courses

The best of the best’ college-level courses on CD, DVD, and Digital formats. Over 500 expertly-produced courses by professors chosen for their ability to teach.

Udemy

The world’s largest selection of courses. Choose from over 100,000 online video courses with new additions published every month

Polymath – Wikipedia

What is a Polymath? From the Renaissance to the modern day, explore what it means to be a Polymath.