Ep. 84: Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman — How to Transcend Fear, Anxiety, and Uncertainty

My guest this week is psychologist Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman, author of the brand new book, Transcend: The New Science of Self-Actualization (affiliate link). We spent a good bit of time thinking together about how the ideas from his terrific book apply to the ongoing coronavirus crisis and the social distancing that’s affecting our lives in so many ways. (One effect is that our family members are home all the time, so you may hear some kid sounds during the episode.)

Scott and I also talked about the intimate relationship between the sacred and the commonplace, and how self-actualization is not the least bit selfish. We touched on posttraumatic growth, the value in embracing our reality as fully as possible, and why therapists like me struggle with challenges just like everyone else does. I really like talking with Scott and am so glad to have gotten to know him in recent months. Other topics we discussed included:

  • The definition of self-actualization
  • Relevance of my guest’s book to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis
  • The relationship between self-actualization and self-transcendence
  • Self-actualization and transcendence as essential human needs
  • Why we often fear growth
  • Overlap between Scott’s hierarchy of needs and the chakra system
  • The place of love in the hierarchy of needs
  • Whether or not there is a “true self”

Scott has his own excellent podcast, with guests who span the field of psychology: The Psychology Podcast. You can find conversations with fascinating guests like Max Lugavere, Dr. Carol Dweck, Dr. Jordan Peterson, and Dr. Angela Duckworth, along with the episode where Scott interviews me.

Scott Barry Kaufman, PhD, is a humanistic psychologist exploring the depths of human potential. He is interested in using his research to help all kinds of minds live a creative, fulfilling, and self-actualized life. Scott likes to share his enthusiasm of psychology through his teaching, writing, speaking, and podcast.

He writes the column Beautiful Minds for Scientific American and hosts The Psychology Podcast, which has received over 10 million downloads. Scott’s writing has appeared in The AtlanticPsychology Today, and Harvard Business Review.

In addition to Transcend, his books include Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind (with Carolyn Gregoire), Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined, and, as editor, Twice Exceptional: Supporting and Educating Bright and Creative Students with Learning Difficulties and The Cambridge Handbook of Intelligence. (These are affiliate links.)

Scott received a PhD in cognitive psychology from Yale University, and an MPhil in experimental psychology from the University of Cambridge under a Gates Cambridge Scholarship. In 2015, he was named one of “50 Groundbreaking Scientists who are changing the way we see the world” by Business Insider.

Find Scott online at his website and on FacebookYouTube, and Twitter.

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