Ep 13. Scott Barry Kaufman: The Messy Minds of Creative People

Ep 13. Scott Barry Kaufman: The Messy Minds of Creative People

"Creativity is the ultimate personal freedom.”

-- Scott Barry Kaufman

Scott Barry Kaufman is a cognitive psychologist who studies the messy minds of creative people. He is Scientific Director of the Imagination Institute in the Positive Psychology Center and professor of Positive Psychology at The University of Pennsylvania. At Penn he teaches the wildly popular Introduction to Positive Psychology. Scott is co-author of Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind, host of The Psychology Podcast, and co-founder of The Creativity Post.

In this episode, Stew and Scott talk about Scott’s inspiring personal and professional journey, including how he went from being a student with special needs to earning a Ph.D. from Yale. Scott challenges listeners to focus less on productivity and more on cultivating creative capacity by stepping outside your comfort zone, daydreaming, and committing to your passions -- harmonious but not obsessive passions, that is.  He describes the method of active, open-monitoring meditation, provides guidance on how to use it, and explains how it differs from traditional mindfulness techniques.

Listen below or on StitcherSoundCloud, iTunes, or Google Play

Transcript of Stew's conversation with Scott

Show Notes (times when new topics start)

0:00 Scott’s early life. Scott began his education as a special education student, which he was until high school. He would go on to receive a PhD from Yale and an M.Phil from Cambridge.

10:45. Creative, messy minds. The minds of creative people are messy and full of contradictions. Scott gives a great example of a messy mind at work with Baba Brinkman and his rap about natural selection. Check out 18 Habits of Highly Creative People for more.

14:20. The dark side of efficiency. By recklessly pursuing efficiency, we lose creativity.  

18:30. Two types of passions. Scott’s research indicates that people with harmonious passion are more resilient and perform better than people with obsessive passions. He talks about Robert Vallerand’s research on intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and Frank Barron’s work on creativity.

24:20. Mindfulness for creativity. Scott begins each session of his classes with a special type of creativity meditation. Learn how this type of meditation differs from the traditional breathing meditation and how you can use it to enhance creativity.