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Redefining Intelligence and Human Potential | Scott Barry Kaufman

2019-02-19 | 🔗

Scott Barry Kaufman (http://scottbarrykaufman.com/) has a Ph.D. from Yale, and an M. Phil from Cambridge and now teaches at Barnard. Not bad for a kid who was labeled as lesser-than, put into special-education and told he didn't have the intelligence to achieve anything significant.

It took a single moment in 9th-grade, where a teacher took note of his innate curiosity and abilities and prompted him to reclaim control over his education and life, for everything to change.

Now an acclaimed psychologist, researcher and professor, Scott embraces a humanistic, integrative approach that takes into account a wide range of human variation– from learning disabilities to intellectual and creative giftedness to introversion to narcissism to twice exceptionality– to help all kinds of minds live a creative, fulfilling, and meaningful life.

Scott writes the weekly Beautiful Minds column for Scientific American, hosts The Psychology Podcast (https://scottbarrykaufman.com/podcast/), and his books (https://scottbarrykaufman.com/books/) include Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined, Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind and, as editor, Twice Exceptional: Supporting and Educating Bright and Creative Students with Learning Difficulties and The Cambridge Handbook of Intelligence.

And, lately, he’s been taking a seriously deep dive into self-actualization and transcendence, getting rare access to Maslow published and private writing that fueled his own research on the key elements what it takes to step more fully into the experience of life.

We explore all of this in today’s wide-ranging conversation.


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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
So. My question is: gathering cabinet has a phd from yale and end sail from cambridge and now teaches at barnard. That's not to shabby for a kid who is labelled as lesser then put into special education and told he didn't have the intelligence to really achieve anything meaningful in school or life, and all it took was a single moment in nice, great, where a teacher of his took note of his kind of innate curiosity and abilities and prompted him to reclaim control over his education and eventually life. In that moment, everything changed now. He is an claim, psychologists, researcher professor. He embraces a kind of a humanistic, integrated approach that really takes into account the wide range of human variation from learning disabilities. Two intellect
and creative, gifted nest, introversion, nauseous, ism and some day he calls twice. Exceptionally all in the name of helping all kinds of minds: live, a more creative, more fulfilling more meaningful life. Scott also rights be really beautiful minds, column for scientific american. He host the psychology podcast, which is awesome. You should check it out. I he writes his books include on gifted and wire to create two awesome raids and lately he's been taking a serious, deep dive into self actual asean and transcendence getting rear access to maslovs, published and private writing that has fuelled his own research agenda by the key elements of what it takes to really step more fully into the experience of life. Super excited to share this wide ranging and I opened in conversation with you. I'm the fields- and this is good life project. Who
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in a creepy conversation. Yet if we take a big step back in time, when you were little kid, your experience of the way that people sort of treaty was different yeah its first real to me when people say that, like you I must say, like everyone's has evidence thing whatever it is sold you're, smart or whatever? It's very very surreal to me to hear that, because it definitely was not part of my self schema growing up so kindly heart me transition to adulthood where that was like an additive like people were actually see, perceiving that and I didn't have the lake work hard for people perceive them that may sound like I spent a lot of really childhood trying to kind of prove myself try to feel like. I had approve it because I had a label of have a learning disability called central auditory processing disorder, who it is that had the invest, what it did is it made it like a little bit slower for me to process auditory input. So what
I would do it and I don't know what it's like to be a normal human being. But for me, like a growing up his own child, like I would hear a stream of of input and then I replay it in my head and then I would kindly download it and then process it later. You know it's like and this real time real time. processing of alter input, and that was the result in. I was married to pray dont know, but I was essentially deaf the first couple years, my life with ear infections, so they say like when your boy and in and they do not duration for you not to buy more. You don't see all of a sudden. Yet the word how to see so many the the operation they put tubes, everything in its three. I think it was her for selling I could hear or know what I was had. A process inputs that was all that so yards to this day. It's like fascinating to me when,
if people perceive me as as intelligent, I'm like wow, I don't even at the lake work hard to prove that any more I can just click calm down and have. Finally, you know I is so interesting because so many so much of that type of identity gets it gets like we stepped. To us as young age, no matter what happens, no matter how much we accomplish in the world, it follow as for so long. I really does so you're as as a kid you're experiencing things is and researching the way described a too, which is you hear it, but you wouldn't really processor, and but it was almost like it was down in your brain and you could work through it. Late Did you find that that at all, if you can answer this you would sort of revisit in her case. Let me actually digest this. Will you playing a slower speed? Was it how you have any central, how you actually doing there? Well, you know I that I did have a certain intelligence that gave me a compensatory advantage as waste in the field you know, so I think there
tells us can be a protective factor for some learning disabilities and I Now, looking back in my life, and especially now, I state what are called twice exceptional children, and we can talk about that. That's a big part of my research. trust these days. I think that I was twice exceptional by that definition, in the sense that I had this working memory ass, they were, I could hold. That we have put in my head and then real. Quickly, process it. So eventually I got them we even to today. I dont know what it's like to be normal human being. So I don't know- maybe I just even today- maybe I'm not really in real time hearing you like. Maybe I'm The tape in my head really quickly, but it's almost Separable now, like you, wouldn't like, when you talk to me and say well what he really has a central auditory processing disorder situation, us almost like it still there, but but your experience of it is the gap.
when the time where it goes in its almost brought out. The man has narrowed uruguay cop accomplished so quickly and efficiently. After so many years of this data, something we underestimate, and anyone who has offering or going up hell battle in a certain area in which to be resilient. I mean we can were all sorts of strategies that really can as to the same eventual outcome. There so when you're a little kid and your grappling with this how did that show up in the way that is europe I have to go to school, obviously, as here in this learning environment, which is very traditional, embarrassed, barely is the way it is so has shopping your life in the context of your early education, you as a young kid. Well, it showed in the sense that I retreated into an inner world of fantasy and imagination. I really detached from me the right classroom and You know the one word that I have all these things saved like all these lakes to teach her reports when I was a kid and they all would say
he's crew really really create of, and there is always a. But after that you know it was I it wasn't like. You know, while his role a period, it was like every single one was like Yeah he's really really imaginative, but he needs to learn how to behave needs to learn how to work yeah he came in the other day, I was trying to read to the classroom and he ran around in superman. Keep ok yeah. I understand that's not nor reports behavior, but can you build off that at all I mean I was really bored as well. Just the traditional social model of education of lake Just sit in your seat and pay attention. That was just never for me, but of those visit as a very negative thing like whenever I try to Stories story israel created as really creative writing, so It's your question, one one concretely a matter was through a through of clear writing. My mom is at all has saved, but that was viewed as well
bad behaviour, pretty much sooner it, sort like you're trying to fit into the box of what is education tradition and it's just not working yeah. if they deal with it. I had had the teachers deal with you, they put in special education yeah, and gave me even more remedial classes. You know that say those my punishment for nothing giving and being anxious as well, so another issue that I had a lot of anxiety, most I started developing. This is pretty its rocket science right, a developing society once they put me in special and told me that I was not capable of the regular course word. So that gave me anxiety and then that they said while we need delay double remediation cause he's anxious. So it's like you know, the stuff really creates a cycle for a lot of these kids and I thought first hand, but also as a kid was there. while a reward change. The sunday there I mean and off on the level of identity. Is it a treat a label, yeah it's like something that you step into where and
and especially at that age. You know it's, it's not necessarily tina someday were women. is just this is their labour. This is the way that they need to sort of put me in the box and to put me in not necessarily me and is not necessarily, and also just the way I'm experiencing. Things is not for life like this is a moment in time. So. How? How do things start to change? Well there The teacher ninth grade, I was kept in special, ed until ninth grade, but there was a special ed teacher was coming covering for the regular teacher, and I was sitting there one day taking untamed history test. You you are removed from the rigour classroom and you go to the special resource room to take an on time test, I remember being really bored with his testing and thinking. If it's untimed, I can just buy the rest of my life to finish it. So what's the point- and
He was looking at me very curiously and as she took me aside after class and she's, like you know, why are you still here like in an? I? Don't really do this with a lot of students, but it just seems like you really don't belong here and I rose to the first person erasmus question, so her leg Why am I here too quickly turned into? Why am I here, you're fired up, you know a nato, my parents, you know I'm betting myself at a special ed, I'm gonna see I, I'm capable of lake like shit empowered me just by even asking me that question. Men and even the accuracy question implies a second. it is like you actually part of it. Here's is up to you, yeah. It was like nodes, broken at a special had before at my school district, sir college Brian tried
Do you have any idea what he did go to the school at the same time as me? But so what do your parents say when you go home and you're like because, where your parents just assume you're like well, okay, like they know best this, this is the track. That's best supporting him in his education. They supported me for sure. I think the we were very well meaning and trying to do what was best for my mom always went to the bathroom. She also has a very overprotective mother and charisma. You know like very or protective and just aired to from the side of caution. You know, and sometimes with kisyak like let them fail. You know them see what their capable of so. I was excited to see what else cable world and they were. They were supportive of that decision. So then? What do you do with that? I mean your nine years old. This teacher has just challenge ninth grade and re high school gotta. Together I was settle high school. I wasn't called bound late that wasn't a trajectory that I was on at all somewhere in the middle. There too, because I mean so by ninth grade I'm turning member with with my kid like there are at some point. They also.
Like a lot of schools, make this split, he'll be could gift in town? they track right and the. Then you have this sort in the middle track, and there and probably on the other speculative at they would would put it is learning finished origin or special ed, so So there there's also like the opposite end here, which is the quote gifted in town. They are the ones who are label until then, and very often is based on a single tax near the fingers, string for me is that I they ask you like what courses you want to take once you get highschool, they don't do that mills covert in highschool. They ask you, and I remember, seeing I really related. I really like biology. I would like to take a gifted. A biology class
and they were they said no. He can. He definitely can't do that. You're not capable of that, but the the the the torture was that they they the resource room where I had to go to take all the contrast was right across the hall from the advanced biology, freshman class, so they it was like torture for me because, like That'S- and that's really where I wanted to be- and I think that special ed teacher really picked up on that- you know god bless her. Yes, Where is our sisters? Ninth grade? that this new challenge here for you you'd, rather a high school to do something different yeah what he did I really made a change like I they too eager to sign a first. Some classes, the first so raft. Mere that summer, taking all sorts, classes to try to catch up during that history summer class, I You heard Lady talk about how the oars extra, physical violinist miss cork, certain issues, Tobin. How awesome is how they travel the world, they do all sorts of things and a white
one off my head in an order right after that that class. I walked right to this. The orchestra conductors room He was the air with the orchestra room. He was alone in their tuning a violin. I just went right in there. As I came, my name's scott and I'd like to sign up for the square orchestra in the in the in the in the fall, I dunno it was called in his corner of his fall, but you know when school starts up again: music hello like who? Are you, and you know me and he's like what do you play and I was like don't play anything it, but I'll put our by letter start, you know, and you think you know people been playing since in elementary school he's, icu like who's. Your teacher and I said I said harry good at sir, and he said: ok sign up margaret had sir happened to be my grandfather and was the famous cellist with a thought I focused, and I knew that I was determined to
Im from him and I and I actually side of the orchestra with him before. I even asked my grandad. If he would teach me, but my grandad would love it. He was retired at that point and my grandma had always been really pleased. You don't have them have have them teach each other. So I read I want to I just called my granddad as a heavy teach me to all the summer. I want to join the score orchestra and he was delighted and I I must have practised eight hours a day and then an hour hours, then in school that first after that I was out of special ed and in the orchestra. was the most exhilarating feeling the being orchestrion when they are all tuning that a string. I remember my glasses. The first time ever been a room it dawned on me as the first ever been in a room where there are high invitations for everyone in that room. You know- and I didn't know that fell to have high expectations. You know cause. I was so used to happen this label and you know it and being remediate iD and everything is all everything was always about like let me first guy can handle it. I'm done with the coddling, like the next prison called moment, a punch. so he was out of the way. I may simply laden that was
it for you yeah. Where you live. There was an awakening like ok, it was awakening like I can imagine I mean I can't even price ninth grade, I can't even remember who I was like. I was nothing I was you know, I'd I'd know no identity. I had no ambition like it's. It's incredible and what that's not entirely true, there's something they dont admit. I did apple with a computer. Hacking does my way of acting out in middles in middle school guy ever wonder what happened. Had that teacher, not read, never pulled you signs, and yet I probably would still be an asshole. I think it's quite likely that the trajectory I was on would continue for for quite a while, where I you know I definitely I just was not. College abound in not only I pray you wouldn't even discover that I had a musical talent, so there were other Clinton thing. So once I started work extra. I also overheard the choir, seeing Regina gordon the choir conductor, their started talking to her
and we got along re well and Like you know what why you join the chamber, singers we meet after after school, and I just started going chamber singers than realized. I had a voice like I, and that was actually my ticket to higher education because senior year of high school applied accordingly melon university for the psychology major I wrote a personal I say which is to have saved about The question is: what does achievement? You know what is What is intelligence? You know this is seventy or scott scott. You know thing like. We need a new way of thinking about stuff and I got rejected from now. Psychology department is obese. My city scores world to order redefined into budgets I thought those the most ironic thing in the world. You know there are your personal essay. Is great and we love your spirit of redefining intelligence, but your essay t scores aren't high enough, but the dis one test is telling you you're not actually have to redefine. I thought that was really ironic, so strange, so I rolled up to cream them for two
a programme, because the same school seem university, but the second but turkish music conservatory. They didn't work it is correct to as highly as the psychology of private and I went in and they sang my heart out and they offered me a partial scholarship becoming ever opera breast. That's how I got in through the back door. It was your intention. The whole time like that was you know that actually wasn't. I wanted to be a psychology major and I did what I did want to sing opera for sure, I wanted a double major. I think in my of hearts. I really wanna be a double major yeah. The sick The programme checked miss I was full on offer major came on for about a year and a half my heart pounding in mind. and states. How could I just governance caused, went to the so called apartment and my heart was re literally beating and the secretary was there and she was our lunch break or whatever the boy sandwich recently, as else was like you think, maybe I could be a minor in psychology here. I just took a course interest to psych. It was so good and you know
from the door technique. You start you start small but like a miner had been in, it wouldn't be a big deal and she's again, whatever it's no problem to sign. This piece of paper just couldn't believe it like. I remember and just like skipping in my title back with his paper my hand like holy cow, like I just cheated the system, but here I am like like if you just show up, as you find a way to show up to a place of high expectations, people stop questioning things people giving more opportunities? If you just show up, and That's why this day, I'm supersensitive too, and want to fight for and her dog or five four people that we have a way. the totality of their being you know now, It's almost in a way to call your experience probably a little bit of your hacking lens need a point. I think we could you tell me that connection right or that you have the system. Ok,
I wanted you to you, but I was so psychology but the system. So let me do some social hacking tat light social hacking, you're right there. You are first person in that connection is essential, do that that was always your intention, via which engines to me. Also is that your will to play along game. I was yeah yeah. I was really determined to, as particularly once I took a coursing psychology my sophomore year, and we had a textbook- and there is a chapter televisions and once I discover this science of intelligence there is. No turning back, I mean that was it for me, like. I had a vague idea that I wanted to do psychology, but I didn't know there was a whole field it. It was almost like in my head. I created this field that are existed. You know like, and I didn't even know it existed and then, when I learned it first of all, when I learned existed, I remember thinking myself to him. I wanted to be the one to redevelop. Decorative is funny. I remember things like while this exists, but then as like
This is the guy need a study where there is over. I walked to the front cover of the book of the textbook settles ruined by Robert Sternberg yell university number they legendary, legendary psychologists, and I was like well done. so I'm going to stay within grad school and I went to the the the professor of cognitive psychology. There I was standing with an fe. She became a important mentor, my two I'd better. My intention, I said I would love to go to grad school. She should great, let's forget a plan, a very detailed points. and to make that happen. So we didn't independent readings on intelligence. We had a whole semester where we yeah we re read every week we would meet and discuss research on intelligence. I was in the library all the time think I read every book in the intelligence section of the library I was obsessed, Herbert Simon, who was a nobel prize laureate, took his ground of a class and and spend a whole summer, unpaid intern, in Robert strummers lab at yale and he got me and, despite my again, not stellar jury scores. There
I mean you're doing all this year. I mean clearly here, deepening year, academic knowledge of the field a huge way and also simultaneously setting her up for this again longer term thing that you're like I will work I'll figure out a way and I'm willing to wait a couple of years and reverse engineer the process to get there. See, you're you're. defining your own cognitive capacity or redefining the way you look at how how as yours, are moving through this and building your wisdom, your knowledge and your chops. hesitating you as a person and the way that you saw yourself and experienced the world, really significantly like. I didn't realize. how much I love the learning till I was given the opportunity to do so. I really did not realize it. it is something that really struck something deep within me: but I just enjoyed I'm. I remember I just stocks upon stacks of binder. With papers, scientific papers, specially the semester, restaurant pent, reading an
couldn't keep up with me like. She wrote that in her letter recommendation for me, the gates caught a scholarship because she did not show the retailer revelation. She's like we're. I cannot keep up scott because he would like, but he was too excited you know. toward the stuff and he would come to me and he would have read to bind worth of stuff on human intelligence and I'm just ravenously curious about this field. That I wanted to learn everything I felt I felt was vulgar had a catch up. You know I didn't realize their, so it really changed my I view myself because I didn't realize that I loved wording and also that I could learn. You know some with those two went together like once. I realized I could wear it. Also that excited me that I wanted to learn more. I dunno. Maybe it was an interesting cycle,
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Amid the sometimes a europe capable of performing an exceptionally high level, but me just through something else out, which is that here you are- during carnegie Alan, nearly two top universities, your psychology programme, studying with incredible people. you're setting yourself out to study with this brilliant person at yale and achieving it. As possible levels and then one of their one of them. to get into a programme like the gradual school like yeah. We eventually do your phd as you said, is you got hit the jury? So then, in the middle of this whole thing dropped this one's for, like again old school experience of like your standard ass test. I knew take it and don't perform. By that standards. Yesterday, Moray yesterday she didn't. I, that bad on the jury is to be honest, if not like. That's not wasn't as bad as mass it is, but for you, el standards man I promptly.
it might be a guinness world record there I mean did did that rattle you at all or by that point where you're just like I I get what's happening now and I can violate where he has to be fucked. That's exactly right! I got to the point where I I realized that by that point, while I can actually it's easy to hack things, yeah come to think of now. Now I'm framing this in terms of hacking which a never had before, but I'm like wow. the guy. I was. I why I couldn't I am good at the talking like you know, like I, I got into the the the psychology department. Maybe I could figure out an alternate route now and instead the hacking framing, I hadn't thought of it as, like. You know, there's multiple paths There's multiple routes get to where you want to go now and yeah. So you end up china the hell- and you said eu phd again- you're deepening it whole time the exploration of back to that original goal. I want to redefine intelligence or the railways. We, sir,
look internet, it's a bunch of years. Back we actually had certain robinson on oh yeah, and he threw a lie which has always stayed with me. Is it most people asked the question you like or you intelligent is like. That's not the right question. The question isn't or you intelligent, but how are you intelligent What do you think of that frame interesting well, as I will say, it is totally surreal to tat. creativity. Events were circle around like that. You know, that day would come, and yet I wasn't him talk at these events and think Oh, this is going to be a very nuanced answer. You ready for a really nuanced answer earlier in my career. I would have been more excited about things like that. A statement like that for sure, like what you know like howard gardener, who has the theory multiple intelligences really inspired mean grad school to want to be in this field and rubber stamp. Mercosur, multiple told him, the guy but I asked what I started: studying intelligence for millions and I know that if I was going to change the system had had the were in the traditional route, so action,
I took a year off of yell and want to university cambridge, where I on the gates, cameras, scholarship or I stayed with awaiting british cycle nutrition nicholas. I can t studying like tradition like you learned from that is that there is such a thing as general intelligence. There such a thing I q little will score is not meaningless. You know like it does predict lots of things and in on average. In the a population, the nerdy siamese, like you, know, like there. Was this like personal side of me, that, like really like, if I heard that sir KEN Robinson quote back in in college again, it would have it would have fired me up and it's a very firing up statement. But I think that also probably not completely scientifically accurate, because I think that, while there are two different ways to be intelligent people on average do tend to actually be good at these things. You know at the same time. You know like it's not like a complete by the you know, ability sort of split. You know there are people who are quick learners across the board. You know so
I, like that the nerdy sodomy like was, I started, studying trivial intelligence realise there are both more or intelligence a general intelligence. You know, but you really have to ask what is the purpose of school? You know, and I think that is that sakharov business has done a lot of really important work in framing it that way as not even intelligence. Maybe we can even just go beyond the intelligence framing. You know why. What is our thing at the boot counselling about the word intelligence? In a fair, there are different abilities right and a society intelligence is a loaded were, to a certain extent, right, toil order because everybody it's like. Everyone be labelled anything, but there's a lot of things that are there there that are more important intelligence, yeah, I'm I mean it's and there's so much more research around that now also, but even so like I, I would remember like if I flashback to my law school days, and I was always the back row person in school, I was kind of close, but in law school I was like I'm doubling down and want to do the best that I can possibly do and- and I worked now-
stop and very often because I worked is something that I am a hundred percent, not the smartest person in the room, whatever blend of nature nurtured, got me into this room. You know, we shouldn't be here- because my great aren't very one very good in college, at their pretty bad and but here's my chance to put myself what I'm actually capable of still. I was the back roper because I kind of need That was my ammo. and I also remember having one friend who basically would blow off the entire semester. He would my kind of touchdown everyone. Every offer a class and sleep through must do it at the end of class. He would have gained the high score where he did it was that he would he would he would beg, borrow and whatever he was. He was a lovely guy, so he, like haggling, take a look at your outline or you know he would be like trading up for different peoples outlets stuff, like that and then he had what was label that none of this is a real phenomenon or not, but what he said was a photographic memory
would scan hundred aged document essentially be able to judge, call the entire thing, and he would show up at the room good friend to have, and he would just nail the whole thing. Yes, on the one handed friend have the other hand, unlike son of a bitch, you know I'm like why couldn't I have gotten that bringing like an associated that with this innate intelligence, that I didn't and never would have Yeah I mean. Isn't there? There are lots of it. So far, But if we interviewed him, he would like spontaneously say, like you know, either I feel this love the way he was just like he'd, like ever loved him like a he was ever nobody, even though one of you has got the note, however, that you have certain social skills, yet certain other cognitive trick obviously that he doesn't have a minute. Funny how we always think like, press is greener, just because some more different than us, the question that we are just because someone has something that you don't have that until they re you got to play where you're. Actually, ok, let's let me put my flag in the round in this world.
Intelligence and here's my theory so share, but about took a while to actually because I actually spent many many years do due to fully studying traditional intelligence with it, some day. I would like to redefine it, but it's not like. I immediately hit the ground ring redefined it. I didn't have to do that. Thirteen to or she too, that the nine my published my phd dissertation was a new theory. It was it that wasn't there, even though it is called the door process there in the talibans, but leading up to them this out? The combination of anything, but there was a good no seventy, eight years more. I just put my head down until any anyone. Others working with my by story couldn't want them to think of me any differently. I didn't when I'm staying traditional and I heard a lot of discriminatory things from intelligence, researchers that I was doing this research had a bite. My lower lip, you know like we would put out data, and there would be a scatter pot and there would be like some points of some people whose iq about the same level as mine was, you know when I was tested with a warning: does it when I was seven years old when they
How much like how work it has done, dams on that side of the curve and hamlet s wanted very mother. You know like real So I just kept my mouth get my head down when they wasn't all my people, dissertation that I decided to redefine intelligence? I call it the due process of syria. is there. I know this was your entire dissertation and it was a year's worth of two volumes. Is there a simple way that you could serve? Surely this is the central idea behind your lens on what an intelligence for sure I can make it very simple So what dawned on me is that What had been missing from traditional fears of intelligence was about. percent of human, cognition and that was a better- are smart unconscious. So much so used iq test, put you on the spot, and make you cognitive, we reason things out, and but a very smart, intuitive system within us that involved that we share with other animals that in other animals by the consciousness like they do, but they can learn things really quickly.
That's your problem patterns so adapted bunch of tasks that were in the cognitive science, literature for the purpose of just expire. Mentally, studying or unconscious ability to work patterns and things, and I adopted them for intelligence research and was one of the first papers showing that individual differences in our intuitive capacities help you differ from each other was completely uncoordinated or very sweetly correlated with differences in ikea and as very exciting me, because it suggests to me, while the whole other world of intelligence within us that we haven't really measured, so I the store process. Their intelligence were defined. I'm how it defined intelligence in two thousand nine, a m: and as the ability to flexibly switch in different modes of thought, depending on the test demands, I thought, fine intelligence and I didn't limit it to the conscious motor thought. You know Definitely
there's different modes of thought. There's the states and the called openness to experience and made a station which led to my research and creativity by also suspected that there is some forms of cognition, ike, artists have and stuff that wasn't being tapped into. Whilst I was in other major argument in my dissertation, is like what about artists cognition. You know what about states and incorporate in the mission which is a form of unconscious processing, that artists have a very weak cleaning the vision, but that been treated in the literature. As the schizophrenic have that you know only like crazy people that I like well, but a lot of creative people in this literature seemed to have it too right. So isn't there more to the story, so well. That was another big component of the dissertation as well as he said. That was how you define these things in two thousand and nine. That was ten years ago, as we said her record this year, has it I built on the dual process. When I was working on gifted re intelligence redefine, which came out, he doesn't thirteen. So by two thirteen, I was defining intelligence as
the dynamic interplay of ability and engagement in the pursuit of personal goals. Full of a definition, but we can impact lsd. That tell me what you said, intelligence seemed like we couldn't really think of intelligence or the intellectual. passively or potential over human without take into account two things dish into their ability. One is how engaged are they in the task or what we're assessing and How does the astec are relevant to their life? And then you know how much does it? It is associated with their personal goals in life. You know like it's, I think, call it. The theory of national intelligence. So I have area of due process. There even tell us- and I have a theory of personal intelligence service to the areas that I have. These days that much more into the theory, personal intelligence, because I think we're practical for helping to says that we should just be about obsessive, says, assessing all the time break up It should be about bringing out you know in
lots of kids to do so. We need to really like ass, not to stick them in a room and give them with a complete tracked reasoning task this divorced from their own life. You know, I feel We need to engage them. And the relevance of the tasks we're asking them to do, and and and and and and actually asked them what? What are your dreams? What are your aspirations in life yeah? I mean so interesting to bring that into the conversation about intelligence cause because that's just a ring and factors that are external to the person, I may some internal, but also extra, but at least it brings in them a lot more assertive environmental effect and other people. Let's say it's is bigger a system where so much of the classic understand intelligence is only this issue from the inside out like this. Is this your brain and is largely fix? Do you like it is what it is and you can kind of got four to a certain extent by unlike bite, but he kind of more or less is what it is, but there of bringing in Heaven gazed. Are you in the thing that you're doing and how connected to a sense of purpose?
purpose are like, like I really want to strive to to understand or make this happen, though. two things that I think most people would associate with his heller yet called intelligent and I'm gonna christen training like that's, not something. I have heard that a lot and I think that its it that's fair it off, but I I never in my book and gifted were disregarded the value of iq testing c. I've never been an anti queue person. One people put me on that site they think I should be, but like I always septum Cosby surprising people with what I actually think about things. This is kind of a story. My life as well, you know people sue moller. You must think this or that and see no actually either. I think two. I hold in mind two things that may seem contradictory and I think they're both true, so I think can differentiate general intelligence from personal intelligence, and I do that in my book. I think people with high general intelligence, but very little, snow intelligence and vice versa. In other people who
very quick, worse and they learn, their whole life, but not the things they learn matter to them or they are white them up. You know like you can be a processing machine and be is depressed, is all heck in your life. You know vice versa. not really like super quitted still to soak up information but be deeply thoughtful. And inspired realize. Can you can be a greatly, can actually be a great leader? Still you know, and as a personal mission there, this is almost like. It would be fair to say that person intelligence is more connected to flourishing yeah, totally And you know you: should you should I'm saying that that we can still call it personal talent and not invalidate that intelligent exit right? It's like two things, yet both can be present. We present the other gonna. Be president, exactly that's why I kind of gave me that sir ken robinson thing it's like I,
colleagues from this stuff is pitted too much like it's not this. It's this and I forgot a people sober. By saying things like that I think what we need more of our society is more of an what what they would call improv. Yes, m, I think we need more of that in the public discourse, and you see this in politics. You know you're either a liberal, oreo republican, and then I saw constantly shock people. You know because they know. I think that was a point that Republican made. No, I think that was a bad point, that Democrat made and then sometimes they'll say the opposite, because I like taking things on a case by case basis. Now, sorry get political there, no not at. I may add- and it's interesting at the idea, of these her, like, like two different types, intelligence is and thereby playing a role, answer like weaving together and having different outputs into the way that you his life, is really interesting. Also and near If you just around the table, that's not a valid one and I'll get a phone
and ass, you may get the benefit of death, but it's their serve compound interest of both that needs to serve out more human experience. I will were you talk? Does it does so well put in it subtitle, oven, gifted, which is one of your books by riper that one of my best part of the subtitle was the many paths to greatness, read yeah, so I really feel like I'd been building up to that. Yes, interesting, also that your first serve big thing the first thing you put other or a lot of your research early research is based redefining intelligence but, as you mentioned out certain long, the way your existing orgy and academic world, which is a completely surreal like you, that has its own rules, its own culture and I still feel uncomfortable among academic rises. But here but you're also, your writing things where you're saying ok, so I'm deep into academic. I'm deepen two sides are given to validation and, at the same time, you
Because- and I wonder if this is because you have lived this as your own experience- You'Re- also fiercely two but how does it employs whether people lead on a daily? Absolutely What drives me the most these days is that it is other teaching. I feel It is my problem that no, that is my number one short purpose. These days, you know, is what whites me up. Is I get really enthusiastic. I consider myself a teacher in life. Maybe, but maybe it's not just through MIKE you, college teaching, but, like my blog scientific american friends, I view that as a form of teaching, you know what I really like do again like enthusiastic about things, and then I want to impart that that people so that they, with a better life. You know I mean this: is some familiar her that, but you know I created this course colombia that I start teaching on wednesday called the science of living. Well, I m really excited to think through with students for what is the science mean for their own
individual life. I wonder when I get asked a question on the radio. Sometimes it s me or what definition of living were honest, like gimme, a break lake, He was the definition, for you is some one. You can figure that it's so interesting cause. I I because now the last quest now is ask everyone here. Is I get like if I offer the phrase life? What does it mean to you and so many people have asked me like yeah like well. What is it like? What is the and what is the universal and forty? Two? and would have realised now, having like asked us to hundreds of people across every domain. Every level, performers and achievement is that yes, there are some universal themes, but each person's killing experiences is going to be very near to them and they language a different and the expansion of, and they focus on something different and and I've had guessed set of combat a couple years later and because they are in a different part and they're, not who they were nearly four years before and there are different
and in their alive he lay theorists or changes. So it's like it's a dynamic thing as well above them. so true,. The. Hey it's jonathan from good life project. If you are in your thirty or forty is with friends too busy to join you on a vacation, you have to check out flash back the only group travel brand for solo travellers, your age, imagine danny with sumo in japan, or basking on a private got in croatia. All with people like you, visit flash pack dot com, slash podcast you saved to under fifty dollars on your booking an offer only available until July fifteenth.
from your work out: playlists, tea or social media feed. Personally, the way to go, and if personal leads to an affordable price, even better, with the state farm, personal price plan, you get the covered, you want at an affordable price. Just for you and a policy that helps cover was most important to you like a good neighbour state farm. Is there call or go to stay, formed a comedy to create your state farm personal price plan prices very by state options elected by customer availability and eligibility may vary, I'm does fascinated with how people have the choice. and to spend their short lifespan on this earth a more curious of it and I'm like not judgmental neighbours should be more judgmental sometimes, but I just you know if that pursues was an it's like now, fascinated with that's like that's how there person chose to spend their life is be arguing with people on twitter all the euro, but that's their choice,
Sometimes, I think we need to have more respect and honour the sick, civil life, you know of an existence, I wrote, We then need to be more sacredness about that and a recognition that you have chosen your life this way, but this other person, has chosen of their life their way and it's ok. it's completely different than your own thing, but we need to have one then compassion for that that route that they did, because you know we were all endowed with the same basic saint structure of the brain. You know what differs is there. There s face subtle differences, but that explains all the variation in others like we, like ninety percent of the same dna with chimpanzees right side, the very small part that is unique you know to humans like caused all the variation we see among humans and a very small variation that somehow causes to be so different in how we choose to have our lives but- that make one life a better life now, sir than another life, it's just interesting. I think all hot like oh, I will look at a lot of examples of things,
ass of a judgment, a lens, wherever else will judge billy know be. That person and just think like, while that you know what are the actors that really calls that person and be content living that life. It's just if I find endlessly fascinating yeah. It's almost like everybody is a case study for everyone, but and I think, we tend to overlap like I'm raising my hand, because I'm human, just like everyone else at him and probably much less and are more close than you are. I think I'd like to think I'm open. But the truth is. I look at people like How could you wanna live your days so greece's fresher and good and I find myself getting frustrated because I'll look at somebody's life. I know I'll be like you have, you have privilege, you have resources, you have relationships, you have status and yet These are the choices that you're making when there are so many people that dont have the benefit of those things, and I think a lot of people get frustrated what, if, if the way somebody else's acting is impending on your personal freedom that I can understand that, but that's a different conversation, but I think a lot.
people get frustrated because they look at others who they save as having so available to them and then Yet they choose to serve if in a very negative place and contribute from a very negative place and contribute energy down is negative destructive rather than constructive, an additive and must That's what frustrates alot of people me included, and I wish I didn't feel that way too. Certainly airlines on that is released They chose to live their life you know in some ways you know we can. I wish I was on my podcast. I had a great chat with Sharon Salzberg, who love about this this exact conversation we had, and you know why? We can. We can have a loving kindness practice where we recognise that person probably is suffering like if we wish, if we wish
less suffering in the world. You know we should wish or suffering for that person as well, because it's going in a way that person to live a better life than in any other court. Very sancho should be living a good wife and and and contributing to the world in a positive way. There is a correlation there I mean like There's a science of that. That's not judgment value. Call, I'm saying, there's a correlation, so the more that we can really help people with a good life. the more we will benefit the road? But you know some people, you really see so clearly their suffering there they're taking out what they're doing is there projecting their traumas on the world and they're not owning up to it within themselves, and you can see that all over the place these days all over. You know, like anyone, try to control someone else's life, so announces living well, you know, in such a tight way, form to their own rigid, selfish needs? You know: did there clearly that that,
for the suffering on their own part, then and I agree- and this that's been the ones that I try and take you know- is what what must they have gone through that's led them to this place in their life to be this way in the world and its regret around him, and it is sometimes it's easier to find compassion. his truth and, as is not, but I agree that that, as a practice is, is, I think, is a healthy aspiration problem, I don't know. I think I should get angry more than I do that another still young try and deal with them. So there is a saying that the strength of mind and that bragging about it, I'm saying something: maybe I should get more anger than I am, but my god reaction when I see like just like horrible people- is, I feel, pain for them. Maybe I shouldn't leg, maybe I should be like you mother move, but I feel like there's so much more to their potential of their happiness of their meaning in life. They don't realize that that's a factor of the waiter brainwash where you see them as a puzzle.
Maybe they, like you, love to deconstruct it figure out. What's really, I do like deconstructing. Unless there are eggs there or exam there are, there are exceptions, so I'm much more compassion about those who have internalizing disorders, where an extra analyzing disorders. I am less either. I'm not in that sense you know like that. I see what you people have it externalize disorders, where they really are almost totally deflecting their inner pain. to make other people suffer. I see, do see less of a puzzle more of like that person needs leg to be stopped from there. You know so yeah. So an internal, adding meaning more, it's it's manifesting their own suffering versus extra at the admin. I think I feel more of that automatic feeling when they see so I see soul would like a borderline, my heart, out there you know like, because you can clearly clearly see that break his borderline is a case. I is I've, studied that a pre in depth in june,
a population which is called vulnerable narcissism, people who are such so sensitive to rejection, they avoid the world an end. They avoid any criticism miller their just to tell we sensitive about it because they inside the fundamental level they think they're not worthy evolve in. I think, but it sometimes method softer grandiose delusions like I'm actually best ray paradoxical thing very paradoxical, but my heart goes I am a big time. We have a little bit of that all that in all of us by the way. So it's just a continuum you know so, but my heart because they're not really hurt. they may heard others, but they really. Mostly like limiting them their own selves from a full life there, which can have set us up for something else I realize body and that your most recent work, which is this idea of. You'll, give me your language for it, but near like stepping here potential understanding stepping on japan bialik, whether you call it flourishing where they call itself actual station. It's it's it's. The topic,
It's less hierarchy. You ve gone deep into publicly been seen as like masses, hurricane and discovered that there is actually a lot more to that who arrive marijuana misconceptions about. the hierarchy of needs? is that maso didn't actually say, or he never depicted as a pyramid. Anakin no no kidding when he did. He did say there was a pre potency of needs, but he never said it was like a level like a video game or, like you know you and you know you get one in the net and when you get to the next level, you never go back to the other level. He had explicitly said that we're constantly regressing, you know it and he never drew it. Like I said I was in a piss business textbooks. He started to do that to the pictures theory after he passed. player or maybe even the last couple years of his life, they started doing that I would have. I wish I could have had a conversation them to see what it. What do you think of that? What do you think of what they're doing there, but there's a lot of other misconceptions and really quite big mixed misconception? Is that That's our population was the pinnacle. He asked
in the last couple of years of his life. He really got very much so or spiritual and started a view transcendence as more important than south actual zation teller at higher distinguish anything while you can kind of sea self actual nation as image to transcendence. He considers in realising your highness Your own euro, idiosyncratic individual, greater strength, then it's in the service of making the largest positive impact in the world. be the transcend yeah yeah. It doesn't always be about impact, so much of it is just about being so when we reach certain states of consciousness. Where are we? are really no longer focused on herself. You know we're really. You know before I think that when we enter the flow state, we venture state of transcendence of the sort you know self accusation is important bridge to that because women, could enter flow. If we really
are operating at a great match between are hi potentialities and a task that is in front of us, so interesting that you Kid in the word impact has served, Fourthly, when we say you big eyes, contribution People immediately translate to impact on others, and it's funny cause. I feel you have the research background behind and had a new concept even took no masses work and a ham butt, my intuitive sense for a long time now, and this is right the way I've been modeling things in my head. is that we can reach, certainly that state and one of two ways. One is its partly is certainly that what's what striding us in a deeper level, yet there are selling are driven by some kind of source code that it has its highest contribution. In a may that leads naturally to an hour impact on other people, whereas, other people get to that same. please, but it manifests itself in a way where
you feel like that thing. Inside of you is being as fully express as it could possibly be exploited, and you are There is no gap between you and the whirling and yeah another matter call a pig experience at its that's interesting and you being that person very often has tremendous impact simply because what radiates from from you that's real, an artist is doing like there in that place without further in creating magical things that you interact with it but that's not why you're doing it, it just happens to be like a a beautiful side of astronauts. Transcendence sentences, yet just by you being who you are in the world yet is, is making the world a better place, yeah it's about being not doing, and but I think it's interesting because my senses at their there's. A morality play here where the thing where say you do the thing where there is a clearly delineated path to externally. Pat and people like you yeah. That is vital
contribution that is you doing the best worth? That is you in the transcendent zone, but do the thing where light years and artists and you're doing your absolute best work. You know where it rises to the level we lose yourself the thing and though the wall draft, we can use the thing in the world and he know that's not as valid somehow the debts more self worry us a fortunate. That's really unfortunate. That's a big mr misrepresentation of what maso thought about self regulation is the selfish individualistic pursuit, despite the impact and others that how he viewed it there so you you have am. This is also become an area of research for a recent research. It has to tell me a bit with which, in multiple areas, some which will be revealed hopefully some day if I ever published this book, I'm working on, I hope I will be very welcome, one other. My research I can talk about right now is that I did go through mass was writings and his characteristics of self sacrificing people and I create scales too
for some pilot testing, I want to see which once held, he posited seventeen in his research, found them seemed like pieces out of those areas right, yeah, drastic soaker. Have you rightly rose people? stop actual rising people, which was based on very good science. It was based on Informal studies of science is broken college students, a pot like famous people that he thought south actualized in outer space, irina, biography, stuff, so the systematic my found about a fountain artistic in. I will need some redundancies and some others can cop coherent scales to measure them, but I found a list of ten there I could reliably measure and that all held together, all fell into a higher and higher water. Just like this general intelligence I found a general soft actually taken two. So essentially you the research that identified ten key characteristics of some actual zation genuine through this quickly.
it was like putting on the spot. You remember all that you know you. People should certainly go to self actualization test dot com and take the test, then I'll tell them show them where they are on the various characteristics. But there are things that rain. From equanimity too, dense too often, authenticity too, experiences, creatives, It would be another one humanitarianism, but not really matter them in the sense it nothing about renaming that actually it's more like they're too, which have been renamed relay boeing. That's more about like? Is it jesus social interest? Isn't we're not saying that it's like you have to like harvest dream of of being a gandhi, but it's just are you completely devoid of all implications of your work, for you do care about humanity at all. You know and invest. Some way, another him in some yeah yeah I mean, it's interesting said these would be essentially ten cared.
Christie truth seeking is another one, that's interesting to certain characteristics that are correlated yeah some way individually. Each one has it's own car last year. It was in some way shape or form self actually self actualization, until that, just doing what you get it tell me like a not just like a common language, the phrase for self actual zation for anyone a kind of familiar with this or like what is the experience of self had his show up in your life and herself after last, what a great question? Well, It is a very Phyllis term, and I were it isn't like. I don't have a precise definition. You know I, like I said earlier. It's like what is what it is your own like what what makes you the best to you in the whole world. You know like
There is something within you that you can literally be the best of in the whole world, because you're, the only one that has those characters- you're you're, the only one in the world that can develop those potentialities. No one else can you know because of your unique constellation of traits. So what is that thing? deep within you potential. You want to actual eyes that will make You, the most idiosyncratic personally significant realization, It doesn't necessarily so that we can get the transcendence part of their as well, but the justice of us. As far as just having to do with like the individual, because, because masses hierarchy had always other basic needs, things, though, that that evolutionary we all share with each other, so self isolation is that need to realize that thing that we don't share with our bono's population is that need, though we're ever fully happy filth, we fulfilled. If we just get are our stomach fed if we just get our esteemed needs. Fanny EU costly here about people who reach the point of view of public correctness achievement
and say wow. I still feel so deeply unsatisfied. You know we're always striving for higher ceilings on human nature and that's where a row of about about masses work and why I think we need to bring it back yeah and it's so interesting. Also as your as you lay this out was It just seems to me is so I'm certainly not a scholar, but if I've done some some work and some researchers from reading some studying in eastern philosophy, in spirit traditions, I must and and yoga you the evil impact the special stung with certain more constraints and rings and teaching us and what s interesting is like there's an alien path to us. Now he now, It starts out with with very mundane practices. Design, largely just to take up your basic functionality needs and it moves up to these really up to these more esoteric mindset based things and the ultimate goal. He lay p
fine I'll number. Eight in that path is is the central word is somebody which translates to bliss, which also could be called transcendence. So it's interesting to see the overlap tween, what you're saying and these traditions- huge early, I type trader project them credit working on a map. All these different words, I've a chart of leg, they're, all saying the same thing. I know he thought he lake talking about the same thing at the highest sort of stage of human consciousness, and as if so let me ask you this, and maybe this is kind of like a good come full circle. Question also your your You have gone masterly down the academic, rational, The reason is that a good thing it is nearly to the other, use your your deeply steeped in in the world of science foundation the period of application of having other people that an and defending your work and-
you serve come around increasingly and your also deeply stephen there, while the positive psychology, which is I would almost argue more outwardly. Focused on the human condition it it's a bit more applied, I think been some other fields and Eric had to come to this place where your work is, connected to you These things were now you're, actually mapping and seeing all these overlays with thousands of year old spiritual traditions and pass that don't if any of the scientific validation anything like this, It seemed like us all pointing back to a lot of the same stuff right it's almost like glided away. Why we need to listen to the line, is his eye. I've often like deposits, psychology and and said what were hot. This is interesting. It's always felt like this. terrific validation of buddhism, to me, ya, everything's, to be decided at least some of the house that these days, yes, every sort of new form of therapy. These these includes mindfulness man. You know like the act shit like that.
Db teeth are like it's all like that needs to be a component of it, or else it's not cause. It's somehow not considered a valid for therapy. it's a very good point? I'm it I've talked to I have other friends who are writers who right about you self help staff and they see the issue of no value in and systematic scientific research. You know like this like there's like this. but I will say it I not with you very much but here, but with some of these other people who do have this kind of attitude is, I feel awful if hubris in them, in that they think they have all the answers, though? What I want. about science is that it it get that offers lot of humility. It kind of allows me to recognise that I dont know if What I think is true is really true, and it allows me to really look into the evidence and see what is the to tell you that even in suggest it off There's intellectual humility a mindset of being assigned. Nothing all scientists have intellectual, you, humility, but there are certain
way of thinking when you. scientists that I quite like- and I do see a lot of people in this self help development speed spouting alot of nonsense. You know Maybe they didn't? Maybe they should just listen to the buddha more. Maybe that that's a good point that you could make is that law? Well, maybe it's not! They need to learn science for me. They just need to like stop being so Bristol can actually listen to people who right in a back in the day, but I see a lot of hubris. and I think, like you said, I think my senses there's a lot of the process out there, but we are here when we start to. I know tat your name to it as being something unique and new and end it like. This is my thing and I think it's that's We get your garden like you said. It happens in the world of science all the time you know it's unforeseen where things are so minded as a college that is really being challenged these days, but I agree I think fundamentally, there's the scientific proof. Existing structure with a question and like an in theory the ultimate
all is just the truth, is, proving yourself right, you know, but I think we all get whether in the war that nemean science, with its wealth of pop ecology or self help, and even the world of those spiritual traditions where people want to create like their owns nearly special sauce, modern overlay feel like like well like. How can I carve out my isn't said where I can put my name on the theory like asylum, human, to some raising my hand like there I think that is always. Maybe That to me is the quest like how do we keep? How can we keep getting back to like? What is true and then and anne, and what is like. My things are: what is true, what is useful yeah. It always comes back to that. To me, that's wonderful! so wonderful you're, not dismissing them like that. The truth is prey or value system cause. I don't think that's the portland not a fair ones via a system that hopefully
a morsel like his enemy human beings are not always number. I should press my aspiration of cairo from their early massively, your driven trips, that I hope, like everybody else, I ll be the first one. Is that too join you right there with a yeah hours, so so many other things that we could. We could talk about. Maybe at some point down the rebel, we'll have more conversations bay watch, your next oscar, the next evolution of your work. Well, I'm going to say when I published this book, it will have talk about it'll happen. Definitely yourself, because there's a lot more, that I know you're sitting on right now that once it's out there we'll circle back on, I'm still glad we made this happen, so I want to come full circle with that question that is shared. I I I ask everybody at the end, which is, if I offer the phrase to live a good life to you in this But what does it mean? I really thought the greeks got it right when they talk about you'd ammonia. the living life in
bored with your most authentically felt values and your highest greatest strengths. To me that be a fair hair definition of living life lived. Thank you. Thank you
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Transcript generated on 2023-06-27.