Can Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligences help guide life & career choices?

21st March 1965, Kisubi, Uganda, East Africa- “What would you like to be when you grow up?” asks Lord Snowdon. “An artist”, I reply.

When on 21st March 1965, in Kisubi, Uganda, I was asked by Lord Snowdon what I would like to be when I grew up, my prompt reply was “an artist”.

But besides dabbling in painting at a young age, and having 2 paintings exhibited in the Speke Hotel, Kampala, Uganda, an artist I never became.

I followed another dream made a few years earlier, on 28 July 1962, in Jinja, at the source of the River Nile, when my dad asked me to “dream my life”, and that was to be a hydro engineer.

What is it that makes us choose careers?

And what prevents one from pursuing multiple careers?

Are we held back and restricted from exploring our whole set of attributes and dreams by our first career? Or our fear of change? Or the fear of failure?

Referring to Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences (Gardner, “Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences”, 1983), might assist us in assessing our various skills, attributes and arguably dreams and unleash a full spectrum of life and work balance.

It might enable us to conduct an audit of where we are in our life cycle and ambitions and #careers and enable a repositioning in order to fulfil new dreams.

Inadvertently, my 30:45:60 Life Goals Model ( ), triggered in the deserts of Al-Ain, UAE, might have been my attempt to explore new dreams, excitement in life and multiple careers.

Deciding to leave, at 30, an engineering career (logical-mathematical intelligence as per Gardner), and pursue a career in management and leadership ( (interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligence in Gardner’s terminology) till 45, and thereafter, a career in management and leadership and insurance and finance education ( linguistic- verbal intelligence) till 60, and finally an entrepreneur, public speaker and author (continuing the linguistic-verbal thread), all this whilst in early days pursuing sports as an outlet (bodily-kinesthetic intelligence), leaves 2 major gaps and 1 minor gap.

The 2 major gaps are the pursuit of musical intelligence and artistic ventures.

Time to get the rust out of my fingers and resume playing the guitar and piano, albeit by ear, as I learnt to read music at 50 but found it too tedious and will never be a fully fledged musician. But belt a few tunes I will in the non-critical environment of home!!!

And time to get out the paints, easel, and paint brushes and attempt to portray my journey in management, leadership and change through art. This will be a new challenge, but one I hope to explore. I might still be able to fulfil the artist dream…need a lot of luck to do so.

As regards the last minor gap- naturalistic intelligence- my love for the outdoors and gardening, albeit interrupted due to the effects of age, will be kept to time-bound forays into the garden and post Covid trips, initially in Australia, and hopefully overseas.

Time for us all to have our “Gardner” audit and enjoy life to the full.