What Is Practical Intelligence and How Can It Be Improved?

Practical Intelligence

Definition of Practical Intelligence

Practical Intelligence isn’t as common as one might think. Only a few people are blessed with it. What about the rest?

What is practical intelligence and what does it mean? This question might be more difficult to answer than we thought.

Scientists reduced intelligence to one digit in the 1900s with the G Factor. These practical intelligence tests are what gave rise to modern IQ tests.

Let’s face it, a single number is a pretty limited way to measure intelligence. Robert Sternberg invented the triarchic theory and method of measuring intelligence.

What are the Three Types of Intelligence Identified by Sternberg?

For Sternberg, intelligence is much more than a number. In fact, Sternberg’s theory of intelligence goes beyond books and abstract thinking to offer a more concrete approach.

Sternberg has been trying to predict success for his entire life. Because it only measures a limited range of analytical skills, the IQ test is not a reliable predictor of success. Sternberg says that success in life depends on a different set of skills.

Sternberg believes practical Intelligence is the best indicator of lifelong success. The triarchic theory of intelligence includes three types of intelligence:

  1. Analytical Intelligence: The ability to analyze, critique, and assess.
  2. Creative Intelligence: The ability to discover, invent and create new solutions.
  3. Practical Intelligence: The ability to apply, use and implement what you already know.

What is Practical Intelligence in Psychology?

Practical intelligence refers to the intelligence of common-sense reasoning. It’s also known as street smarts. It is the ability to think quickly and solve everyday problems.

This type of intelligence is also useful in managing difficult negotiations and taking on new challenges. Practical intelligence is adaptive and reflexive. They adapt their approach to the needs of the situation and environment.

People with strong practical intelligence are the best. This type of intelligence can also be translated into social savvy, the ability to communicate effectively and establish good relationships with others.

What Test Can Be Used To Measure Practical Intelligence

To measure practical intelligence, Sternberg uses something he calls: tacit knowledge. Tacit knowledge has three characteristics:

  • It includes the practical knowledge required to complete tasks.
  • It is intuitive and a result of the experience that cannot be easily written or transferred.
  • It is personal and intimate and often learned without any instruction or guidance.

Sternberg’s tacit understanding tests are based upon the challenges that we all face in the real world. Tacit knowledge is demonstrated by more expertise in your chosen field.

People who have a good understanding of tacit knowledge are able to excel in roles that include sales, management, academia, and psychology.

What are Examples of Practical Intelligence?

People with practical intelligence are often in leadership positions. This is because they can communicate well with others and adapt to-and shape—-their environment. Sternberg states that when I think about presidents with high practical intelligence, I think of John Kennedy whose extraordinary charisma and idealism transformed the nation in his brief time as president. Or Ronald Reagan who was loved for being a person who could get things done.” Both presidents inspired people in a positive manner.

He even sees an example of practical intelligence in the founding of America. He says that the Constitution is an example of practical intelligence at work. How? How? A group of persuasive, ambitious men used their experiences to change their environment. They were the original movers & shakers.

Practical intelligence is a way to look at modern-day life. Sternberg said that it’s possible to nail a job interview not just on your resume, but also on your ability to communicate clearly and influence others. You can also look smarter during an interview. These are easy, scientifically supported ways. Sternberg states that successful managers, entrepreneurs, salespeople, and others are often extremely practical and intelligent. However, the skill can be learned across many trades and professions.

Sternberg’s theory of practical intelligence may include literal navigation in a new city or subway system. This is not only about finding out where you are going, but also how to get the locals to direct you there.

How do you Develop Practical Intelligence?

Some people are naturally predisposed to practical intelligence. Even if your street smarts seem lacking, there are things that you can do to improve them.

These are two key habits that will increase your practical intelligence.

1. Flexibility and Openness

Buddhists have known for centuries that fixed thinking is one of the greatest obstacles to learning. Fixed thinking is the belief we already have all we need. You can’t add anything to your empty glass.

Instead, work towards what Buddhists refer to as the beginner’s mind. You can let go of everything you believe you know and start over. This is the best way for you to let go of old beliefs. It is possible to discover a blind spot that was holding you back.

The best way to improve your practical intelligence is by learning. The ability to learn efficiently is a valuable skill.

2. Solution-focused Thinking

Sometimes it feels like all the weight of the universe is on our shoulders. It can be difficult to find a solution when there is so much to consider.

Problem-focused thinking is a mental habit. This can be overcome by changing your focus.

Instead of dwelling on your problems, focus on possible solutions. Focus on what you can change. You should be focusing on positive things in your life and making you feel good.

You can’t make it change, but you can change how you feel about it. While you may not always be in control of your environment, you can control how you react to it.

You can improve your practical intelligence by learning to think like a beginner and using solution-focused thinking. These simple mental habits can make a huge difference in your life.

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