G Scott Brown Leadership

"Successful" Intelligence

Uncategorized Aug 14, 2020

In his book, Successful Intelligence, Robert J. Sternberg offers a contemporary definition of what adds up to real, useful, sought-after intelligence.

Far from the old idea of IQ, which is determined through language and math tests alone, Sternberg believes that true intelligence combines analytical, creative, and practical intelligence, resulting in realistic, measurable benefits and achievement of important life goals.

 Interestingly, Sternberg, who is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Yale and was a full professor at Yale with many grants, awards, and forty books to his name, was a "failure" in his early school years.

He failed all the IQ tests in school, which he considers "lucky" because it caused him to realize at an early age that if he was going to succeed, it wouldn't be because of his IQ. He saw that people who failed IQ tests weren't necessarily unsuccessful, and people who passed them with high marks weren't necessarily successful. Sternberg began a lifelong quest to define what true intelligence is.

 Sternberg claims that true intelligence is related to what really matters in life.

 He says...

 "People who succeed, whether by their own standards or by other people's, are those who have managed to acquire, develop, and deploy a full range of intellectual skills, rather than merely relying on the inner intelligence that schools so value. These individuals may or may not succeed on unconventional tests, but they have something in common that is much more important than high test scores. They know their strengths; they know their weaknesses. They capitalize on their strengths; they compensate for or correct their weaknesses. That's it."

Sternberg's thinking makes a lot of sense, doesn't it? There are times in life when we need to be analytical, other times when we need to be creative, and other times when we need to be practical.

Furthermore, can't you think of many times when we need to be all three? This is true with small issues and with big issues alike. Have there been times when you needed to be in two places at once? You have to assess the situation, make priorities, make substitutions, and come up with the best solution possible under the circumstances.

Not only is it important to have analytical, creative, and practical abilities, but it's equally important to know when to use them.

Successful intelligence is the combination of analytical, creative, and practical intelligence, it can be nurtured and developed at work, at school, and in our personal lives.

Being dependent on any one type of intelligence limits our full potential and the realization of our goals in life.

How have you been able to develop successful intelligence in your life? 

Keep Moving Forward!

If you have any questions or comments you can email me at

[email protected]






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