Scott Barry Kaufman
We're dedicated to measuring and developing imagination across all sectors of society.
On a typical day, I'd be working with my research coordinator, Elizabeth Hyde, to plan out future imagination retreats, including making phone calls to geniuses to get them onboard. I could also be setting up new research studies, writing blog posts for the public, recording an episode of my podcast, or working on writing my new book. I also teach a course called "Introduction to Positive Psychology" at the University of Pennsylvania and I travel a lot to give lectures around the country.
I think my performing arts background in opera and musicals really helps me with the public speaking aspect of my job. There's also a lot of schmoozing involved, so basic people skills and social skills are a must-have.
Here's the first step for college students
As early as high school, I knew that I wanted to change our education system and how we view intelligence. Later, as an undergraduate, I had the epiphany that this was the specific field I wanted to pursue and these were the people that I wanted to work with. But that realization might come earlier or later for others; for example, you could be doing a master's degree in psychology and get inspired by a certain topic or study. Really, there's really no expiration date on this sort of thing.
"Why aren't you challenging yourself more?"
All throughout my early childhood, I heard an awful lot of noise from my teachers; I finally realized that I absolutely had to get away from that in order to flourish, which is why I left special education. The turning point was in ninth grade, when a substitute teacher pulled me aside and told me I was far too bright to be in special education, and that I should start challenging myself. After that, I was inspired to get out of those classes and challenge myself in the "normal" classes.
I never did well on standardized tests (I’m too much of a daydreamer), and my SAT scores certainly did me no favors when I was applying to college. However, my poor scores just inspired me to express my intelligence and creativity in different ways.