“To be successfully intelligent is to think well in three different ways: analytically, creatively, and practically.”

—Robert Sternberg (1997)


Hi there fellas! It is nice to be back! 🙂 I’m on my 4th module in EDS 131 and this module provides two blog responses that we can choose to. I chose the question: How has Sternberg’s Theory of Successful Intelligence changed your (my) assumptions about intelligence and success at work, if any? Well in this case I would say that my perceptions about this do not actually change a lot but it loads more knowledge on my perception. I chose this question since, the readings about this strike me the most among the readings in the module and it catch my attention.


Sternberg’s Theory of Successful Intelligence

Sternberg (2005) argued that in order for a person to be successfully intelligent he must have the following: (Sternberg, 2005, direct quotation)

  • Ability to achieve one’s goal in life, given one’s sociocultural context
  • [ability to capitalize] on strengths and correcting or compensating for weaknesses
  • [ability] to adapt to, shape and select environments; and
  • [ability to combine] analytical, creative and practical abilities

Sternberg (1997) also stated that to be a successful intelligent person, one must combine and balance the three abilities: analytical, creativity and practicality. Moreover he instill that “successful intelligent people don’t just have abilities, they reflect on when and how to use these abilities effectively.”

I guess this would be enough to set the context for my answer. But, to further explain the concepts that will be used, and before I will answer the question, I will shortly discuss the three abilities that Sternberg argues to be the crucial factors to be successfully intelligent person.


Analytical Intelligence

Analytical intelligence involves analyzation (from the word itself), evaluation, judgment or comparison and contrast. (Sternberg, 2005). This is widely used in our schooling time. Actually, according to Sternberg (1997) this ability is “…valued in tests and in classroom”. This is also sometime becomes the basis of intelligence by other people. Sometimes the other abilities are forgotten and just focused on this ability.


Creative Intelligence

This is the ability I like the most. It is much like thinking out of the box. It is ability to pursue endless possibilities of thinking and imagination. And this also, for me, is the ability that could help an adult to cope, excel and develop to his/her working environment. Sternberg (2005) puts this into: “one [that] goes beyond the range of unconventionality…” of things that surrounds the learner or the person.


Practical Intelligence

Lastly, practical intelligence refers to the ability to relate the learning or knowledge to the real world. According to Sternberg (2005) it “…involves individuals applying their abilities to the kind of problems that confront them in daily life, such as on the job or in the home.” Moreover, this is the ability for an individual to acknowledge and cope with the demands of his/her surroundings. (Meunier, 2003)


Now that I have set all the necessary details, I will now proceed to my answer. 🙂 Actually, as I have said earlier, the theory adds more knowledge for me about intelligence. Initially, I believed that people are all intelligent, it will just all vary on to what degree and to what aspect of life. I may be great with something but I may also be not good at dancing or what. The theory taught me how to value not only analytical intelligence but also creative and practical ones. Actually, it is only then when I know that creativity and practicality is intelligence! 🙂 I believe that one must have at least the minimum of these three abilities or intelligence for him/her to have success in his/her career in life or even in his/her journey in life. You should not focused in achieving high degree of analytical intelligence while not valuing the essence of the remaining two. Sternberg (2005) argues that creativity and practicality can be learn and thus it can be taught. And with this, I should suggest that everyone must achieve more knowledge on the abilities that you think you do not have much. But we must all achieve the equilibrium between the three abilities, we must balance them for the successful intelligence to be “effective”, according to Sternberg (1997). And with this, I could say that achieving the equilibrium would help us to better explore the complex and diverse knowledge and learning on the diverse and complex world we have. Balancing is the key. Let us get rid of the thinking that wise men were those students who graduated with flying colors or those students who earn high grades. Yes, they may be great at analytical or other abilities, but the thing is they might be bad at some things.



Meunier, J. (2003). Practical Intelligence. Retrieved from Human Intelligence: http://www.intelltheory.com/practicalintelligence.shtml

Sternberg, R. (2005, ). Successful Intelligence. Interamerican Journal of Psychology Vol. 39, Num. 2, 189-202.

Vignettes: Excerpts from Robert Sternberg’s (1997) . (n.d.). In Successful Intelligence: How practical and creative intelligence determine success in life.