Monthly Archives: April 2012

Seven Kinds of Smarts


I’m not the smartest. I scored a mere 430 on my GMAT (the worldwide average is 570). As far as grad schools were concerned, I was an “average” student.  In my defense, attending business school wasn’t a deep, burning desire — it just seemed like the next logical thing to do.  I applied to a single university where it wasn’t necessary to land in the top percentile.

Christina Dunham | 7 Kinds of Smarts Which isn’t to say I don’t I think I’m a relatively smart gal. When I was in grade school, I brought home my share of “gold eagles” in my report card, the eagle being Colegio San Agustin’s (CSA) school mascot and its symbol of academic achievement. CSA uses a 100 point grading system, where a gold eagle represents a grade of 90% or higher, a red eagle was 85-89%, and a blue eagle was 80-84%. But when the grade school IQ test was administered, I must not have scored too high, because I certainly was not singled out as part of the super-smart set.

My youngest brother, Jinx, was an average student at school. My dad once asked him why he didn’t have any eagles in his report card, and his response was, “They flew away.” He didn’t graduate with honors, and was considered by many of the teachers as a rather mischievous and troublesome kid, labeled as very makulit (stubborn) and malikot (hyper). But he played a mean game of chess (representing his high school in regional competitions), was a competitive soccer player throughout elementary and high school, and a brilliant artist. He’s now a highly sought-after UI/UX designer working on projects for companies like Google.

7 Kinds of Smarts

My husband Jack, on the other hand, is a human computer and walking encyclopedia. A true information maven. I’m always amazed at how he can remember lessons from science class from the fifth grade, or explain complicated mathematical formulas in great detail. He is, by academic standards, a genius.

As far as I’m concerned, both Jinx and Jack smart cookies. Unfortunately, standard IQ tests and college admissions exams, used to predict educational achievement, typically only measure Jack’s type of intelligence – verbal ability and mathematic reasoning. Critics, like Professor Linda Siegal from the Universityof British Columbia, argue that most IQ tests only measure what students have learned and remembered, not what they are capable of doing in the future.

About fifteen years ago, I came across a book entitled “7 Kinds of Smart,” by Thomas Armstrong. Back then, I was dating a guy who went to M.I.T. and Stanford – a certifiable genius, in fact. Despite my MBA, I felt a little, well, dumb, around him. Desiring in part to validate my own intelligence, I decided to read up on the subject.

Based on Harvard professor Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences developed in 1983, the book proposes seven different kinds of intelligences that encompass the wide variety of skills and talents human beings are capable of exhibiting. The original theory defined seven core intelligences: linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, and intrapersonal. (In 1997, an eighth type, “naturalistic intelligence,” was added.)

According toGardner, the seven types of smarts are:

  1. Linguistic (word smart) – writing, speaking, learning new languages, interpretation and explanation of ideas and information
  2. Logical-mathematical (number smart) – scientific reasoning and deduction, performing mathematical calculations, detecting and analyzing logical patterns
  3. Spatial-visual (picture smart) – interpretation and creation of visual images through drawing, painting, sculpting, and designing; understanding relationships between images and meanings, between space and effect
  4. Bodily-Kinesthetic (body smart) – manual dexterity, physical agility and balance, bodily control and hand-eye coordination as exhibited by dancers, athletes, actors, and craftsmen
  5. Musical (music smart) – recognition of tonal and rhythmic patterns, awareness and use of music and sound, as expressed by singers, musicians, composers and DJs
  6. Interpersonal (people smart) – involves social skills, empathy and understanding; ability to read people’s emotions and interpret behavior, and respond to them accordingly
  7. Intrapersonal (self smart) – requires knowledge and mastery of oneself, as well as personal objectivity and awareness of one’s own potential and limitations – it is a prerequisite for discipline and self-improvement

According to the theory, all human beings inherently possess all seven, and many activities require a combination of these intelligences. For example, actors require intrapersonal/bodily-kinesthetic/linguistic intelligence to deliver a convincing performance.

Christina Dunham | 7 Kinds of Smarts Besides identifying types of aptitude, the theory of multiple intelligences also recognizes people’s preferred modes of learning. In Kindergarten, we typically partake in activities that touch on all these areas, but as we move further along our academic life, more emphasis is placed on linguistic and logical-mathematical skills.

Ideally, those who favor one or two intelligences over the rest are able develop these abilities further. We’re not talking about prodigies or autistic savants who display extraordinary talents, like Mozart or Dustin Hoffman’s character in “Rain Man” – these are by far the exception to the rule.  Rather, we’re referring to people who seem to really excel at their chosen roles and professions, ostensibly because they have developed these abilities and channeled them into activities to which they’re ideally suited.

The more I read about the subject, the better I felt about my own brand of brilliance. Encouraged to pursue my various interests and develop my seven kinds of smarts, I started signing up for classes and participating in a variety of activities.

Today, I indulge my linguistic smarts through language courses and writing; the logical-analytical through my work as marketing strategist; the spatial-visual through painting and gardening; the bodily-kinesthetic through martial arts and dancing; and the musical smarts by singing in a band. Those who know me would agree that I practice my interpersonal skills quite often, and meditation and self-reflection allow me to harness my intrapersonal skills. Rather than focus on a specific type of intelligence, I have chosen to dabble in all of them. Variety, after all, is the spice of life.

So if you didn’t score 140 on your IQ test or a 720 on your GMAT, don’t sweat it. Success doesn’t always require knowledge of the formula for Phi.

What are your thoughts?

Girlfriend Getaways


One Spring Break, while I was in college, my girlfriends and I drove from Salisbury, Maryland to Key West, Florida in a cramped, borrowed white van. It took us over two days and more than 1200 miles to get to this 2 by 4 mile island, taking turns at the wheel. You see, we were quite determined to savor a sip of the world famous Frozen Daiquiri-Brain Freeze drinks at Fat Tuesday.

The drive down was just as memorable as the final destination. Along the way, we sunned ourselves on the sugar-sand beaches of Daytona, Orlando and Miami, explored “the World in a day” at Epcot Center, and danced our little hearts out at Pleasure Island. The highlight of the trip was sleeping under the stars at various campsites en route to save money. It was definitely low budget, but high impact, and one of the best trips of my life.

HawaiiWhen I moved to California in 1992, I found another group of girlfriends that I immediately bonded, and traveled, with. Every year around the end of May, five of us would hop on a plane and head off to heavenly Honolulu. We’d spend most of the day lounging on the beach, chatting up a storm. Sunsets were for sipping cocktails, and midnight meant miniskirts and club-hopping. Albeit short, our four-day holidays proved plenty — for recharging our batteries and reconnecting with each other.

The annual trips became more difficult to plan when, one by one, we started getting hitched, and feelings of guilt for leaving the significant others behind began to surface. So we created shorter – and more frequent – getaways, like wine-tasting and day spa retreats inNapa, holiday shopping trips to Gilroy, and all-girl TV Nights.

After a rare weekend “girls only” trip to Vegas three years ago, we pinky-sweared to celebrate an annual “Girlfriend Anniversary,” no matter what. The exact date didn’t matter – it was like a floating holiday, celebrated with another extravagant trip like this, or a simple dinner commemorating our friendship.

All-girl getaways were simply unheard of twenty years ago. Lourdes Uy, a grandmother fromLas Vegas, says that, “It was considered inappropriate and inconsiderate for a married woman with kids to vacation on their own. Filipina women, especially, were expected to take care of their home and children first.”

But women today are different, with female baby boomers leading the pack. In general, baby boomers (those born from 1946 to 1964) have a higher divorce rate and a higher percentage that has never married compared to previous generations. An abstract on indicates that “single boomer women comprise a highly active sub-population of travelers, willing to spend on high-end services, spas, resorts and tours [and] turning to agencies that specialize in women-only travel. Over the next 10-20 years, the women of the Baby Boom Generation will likely reshape the market for older single travelers”

Women also tend to outlive men in the United States. According to the 2006 CIA World Factbook, among those 65 year and older, the ratio of males to females in the 0.72:1.00 – that’s 1.38 females for every male (compare this to the grim 2.84:1.00 ratio of males to females in Qatar). The 2005 US Census indicates that 51 percent of women said they were living without a spouse, up from 35 percent in 1950 and 49 percent in 2000.

This means there are more self-sufficient women, with disposable incomes and adventurous spirits, who choose to chill out with their chums. A 2005 study conducted by Impulse Research which found that of 1,500 women surveyed, 50% indicated they had taken an all-female trip in the last three years and that 88% were planning to go on a women’s only vacation. According to the Travel Institute of America, all-girl getaways have gained popularity in the last decade, with 98 million American women going on adventure travel trips in the last five years. As a result, women-only travel companies have seen great demand, increasing in number by 230% in the past six years.

Chelsea (a.k.a Shellsea) Huntley, founder of Surf Goddess Retreats in Bali,Indonesia, started her company in 2003 to cater to “professional women who have an adventurous streak and are looking for an active holiday.” She says that 80 percent of her guests are solo travelers from the United States, Europe, Asia andAustralia. “There are a few reasons why Surf Goddess Retreats is so successful. First, we cater to what women want on a holiday, that it isn’t a single focus retreat. Women are multi-taskers and love layers of experience. We give them that,” she adds. Jocelyn Formento, a surfer fromSan Mateo,Californiawho participated in the retreat three year ago, says that the all-female surfing getaway was “a great way to be amongst womankind who have diverse backgrounds but are there for the same reason as you.”

For last year’s “Girlfriend Anniversary,” my friends and I spent four hours frolicking at the SupperClub in San Francisco, where you get to wine and dine in an expansive communal all-white bed strewn about with corresponding fluffy white pillows. With the wine flowing, and the conversation going, we reminisced, we mused over the future, and we once again bonded. The whole experience reminded me of a quote by Elizabeth Lucas: “Sisters are born to each other, or happen through friendships by fate. But however it happens or when, nature has given a gift that is great.”

Face Time


(Note: This post was originally published in Filipinas Magazine in September 2008)

What in the world is a “dynein?” I look it up. It has just scored my brother 33 points on Scrabble. According to Wikipedia, “Dynein is a motor protein (also called molecular motor or motor molecule) in cells which converts the chemical energy contained in ATP into the mechanical energy of movement.” Now, how the heck did that word get into his vocabulary?

It’s Raymond’s turn next, so I have some time to consider my next move, shuffling my tiles repeatedly hoping a 6 or 7 letter word would materialize. We are now on Day 3 of our Scrabble game, the same game, dragged on for days, perhaps because we’re not physically sitting at the same table, arranging tiny wooden letter tiles over a 16”x16” board. Rather, we’re playing online Scrabble, one of the several game applications available on Facebook.
Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

I’m a Facebook newbie. After several invitations, I finally acquiesced in early May. My niece, Liza, was one of the first to post a comment on my “Wall.” “Careful… it sucks time away from the day,” she warned. She wasn’t kidding. Even my friend’s father, who is in his late sixties, found himself hooked on the site. While he claims he only logs on an hour at a time, three times a week, I know I’ve seen him online more often than that. “It’s the most unproductive thing one can indulge in, but I love it. Great stress reliever and makes one silly,” he chuckles.

I click over to my other favorite Facebook games, Word Scramble, to check out the leader board. Rico Saenz is still in the lead at 136 points. I rank third at 125, a point less than Tina. I’m competing against friends from the Philippines, Australia, and all across the United States, including my brother, Paolo, who now lives in Southern California. I could try another three minute round to see if I could beat my personal best, but it is now close to midnight – time to put the keyboard to rest. Right after I “throw a sheep” at Mike.

Within three days of joining, I find almost 129 family members and friends on the site. Almost one year on Friendster, another social networking site, and I haven’t even broken the double-digits on my friends’ list. I guess my buddy Cris Roces is right – more of our friends, Colegio San Agustin (CSA) alums and otherwise, are active on Facebook. Soon I’m adding old work colleagues, college partners-in-crime, former roommates, long-lost third-degree cousins, high school buddies, and new pals I randomly met while traveling abroad to my list of friends.

One of my newly added friends is Sarah Solano, a former happy hour buddy. After thirty years, she found her grade school pal, who still lives in thePhilippines, through Facebook. “It’s a great way of reconnecting with your friends all over the world!” she beams.

Because of Facebook, Michael Frauendorff found his former teammates from theMakatiFootballSchooland got to reminisce about the glory days on the forums. He fondly leafed through photos of medals, tournaments, and uniforms dating back to the late 70’s, adding this was “when coaches Tomas Lozano and Juan Cutillas were kings!”

It has now been about four months since I signed up for a Facebook account. And I have to confess, I am addicted. To make it official, I joined “I check my Facebook more than I check my E-mails,” a group created by Willie Dee inShanghai,China. Formed in April 2008, the group now boasts 518 members, from Hong Kong toLondon. Will states that “In April 2008, Facebook was estimated to have more than 70 million active users. Every member of this group believes that 80% of Facebook users check their Facebook account in a day way more than they check their email account in a week.”

Yep, sounds like me. So why do I spend so much face time on Facebook? Out of all the social networking sites I belong to, I feel I can be most like myself on this site. I don’t know about you, but I assume various alter-egos and select friends differently depending on the site.

On LinkedIn, I put on my corporate alter-ego and professional relationships dominate my network. With past colleagues, current clients, or business partners (most of whom have no idea that I don studded arm cuffs and rock out in a band on weekends), LinkedIn is my “business face” on the web. I’m much more conservative with the information I provide, highlighting only those that relate to my line of work and posting links to articles and blogs I’ve written on mortgage finance, interest rate trends, and economic updates. Did you know I’m a straight-laced Mortgage Banker and Dale Carnegie Instructor by day? I check LinkedIn about once every two weeks.

I use MySpace mostly to promote my band and personally know only about 30 percent of my “friends.” The rest are a combination of random adds (mostly of celebrities like Black Eyed Peas, Tila Tequilla, and Kendra Wilkinson) and friend requests from folks I don’t remember meeting at gigs. There is hardly any personal information about myself on MySpace so I’m more liberal in accepting friend requests. I check MySpace roughly three times a week.

On Facebook, I am just myself. Perhaps because I have a genuine relationship with most of the folks on my friends list. While I outright decline invitations from people I don’t know, I file invitations from those I barely know under a “limited profile” category, with restricted access to my photo albums and other personal information. The rest on my list see everything – status updates, wall posts, game stats, photo uploads, and blogs. I’m on Facebook twice a day – at lunch and before bedtime, sometimes more when I receive email notifications.

Melani dela Vega, one of my CSA buddies, agrees. She says that while she is on multiple online social networks, she felt that she has been able to reach out to a wider social circle through Facebook. “Through this site, I am in touch with elementary and high school classmates, family, childhood friends and even other parents from my son’s school. It seems to have less of the negative stigma that Myspace does. I surely am enjoying the virtual food fight with the moms from my son’s school,” she adds.

While nothing beats actual face time with a friend, developing and nurturing relationships through cyberspace transcends time and space. For now, I’m parking my profile on Facebook.


UPDATE: I’m now up to 1400+ friends on Facebook and have added Twitter to my social media addiction. Follow me @XtinaDunham 🙂