127: KH Kim: I focused on my weaknesses a lot

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127: KH Kim: I focused on my weaknesses a lot

KH Kim Show Notes

Dr. KH Kim was assigned to write and report the meeting minutes for her group faculty meetings. Not being experienced in spoken English, she struggled with slang and acronyms. She recorded and transcribed meetings, and even asked her children to help her. Finally, she gave up. She felt stupid, got even more self-conscious and depressed. And then she was reprimanded for being lazy. Listen to how she got over this hump.

Dr. Kim was born in a remote village, in the southern mountains of South Korea. She did not have electricity or running water until she was 10 years old.

From an early age, she had an insatiable curiosity and was constantly asking questions. Her questions were always met with resistance, and even her teachers interpreted her inquisitiveness as being disrespectful.

However, her English teacher, Mr. Cho, appreciated her curiosity. After middle school, most girls from her small village began working at the nearby factories and she assumed she would follow that path too. But Mr. Cho persuaded her parents and the older village relatives that even though she was a female she was capable of having a professional career.

Thanks to his insistence, she became the first female from her village to attend high school and earn a college degree. She became an English teacher because of the difference Mr. Cho made in her life.

But KH always felt different from other Korean women, like a square peg in a round hole, or a misfit. As a teacher, she empathized with students who asked numerous questions, especially unexpected or unusual questions, or who were labeled as troublemakers.

Throughout her life experiences, she felt like a failure and a hopeless troublemaker. This feeling continued until she escaped Korea and met Drs. Torrance and Cramond who became her mentors. They helped her recognize that the conflict that engulfed her life was a clash between creativity and the Asian culture that values conformity.

Dr. Torrance, “The Father of Creativity,” had no children of his own, so he considered his students to be his children. He inspired her to follow her curiosity, which evolved her from a student to a scholar. Since meeting the two leaders, she has completely dedicated her life to researching creativity and innovators.

Her research has been recognized with awards such as The Berlyne Award from the American Psychology Association, The E. Paul Torrance Award from the American Creativity Association, and both The Early Scholar Award and The Hollingworth Award from National Association for Gifted Children.

Dr. Kim is a professor of creativity and innovation at the College of William & Mary and lives in Washington, DC. She has dedicated her entire 30-year career to research on creativity and innovators, which resulted in her authoring The Creativity Challenge: How We Can Recapture American Innovation.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen to @Kreativity_Kim to get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShow Click to Tweet

“The creativity crisis is even worse since 2008 until now.” -KH Kim Click to Tweet

“Creativity is important for human well-being.” -KH Kim Click to Tweet

“The successful result of creativity is innovation.” -KH Kim Click to Tweet 

“Innovation is the key to quality of life.” -KH Kim Click to Tweet 

“Without creativity, we would still think the world is flat.” -KH Kim Click to Tweet 

“Innovation is necessary for human life, individually and socially.” -KH Kim Click to Tweet 

“We are all born unique and creative.” -KH Kim Click to Tweet 

“Why do we try to make everybody exactly the same.” -KH Kim Click to Tweet 

“Until I die, I will let every single person know how testing is killing #creativity.” -KH Kim Click to Tweet

“Test-centric education hurts young children even more than others.” -KH Kim Click to Tweet 

“I don’t want children to feel like they are a failure.” -KH Kim Click to Tweet 

“Emotion affects creativity development more than cognition.” -KH Kim Click to Tweet 

“In order to generate original ideas, you have to be in an environment that’s positive.” -KH Kim Click to Tweet 

“Talk to every educator and policy maker about the consequences of this testing environment.” -KH Kim Click to Tweet 

“Instead of conforming always think the other way.” -KH Kim Click to Tweet 

“For Nobel Prize winning you have to be really creative.” -KH Kim Click to Tweet 

“Creativity and intelligence are weakly related.” -KH Kim Click to Tweet 

“When you think big you can’t think about the constraints and limitations.” -KH Kim Click to Tweet 

“Change the world, to be a better place, not for money.” -KH Kim Click to Tweet 

Hump to Get Over

Dr. KH Kim was assigned to write and report the meeting minutes for her group faculty meetings. Not being experienced in spoken English, she struggled with slang and acronyms. She recorded and transcribed meetings, and even asked her children to help her. Finally, she gave up. She felt stupid, got even more self-conscious and depressed. And then she was reprimanded for being lazy. Listen to how she got over this hump.

Advice for others

Being different is good. Focus on achieving your goal.

Holding her back from being an even better leader

I have a problem with being impulsive. If you look at it on the positive side, I am spontaneous. And I’m too trusting of people.

Secret to Success

I think a lot and I get brutally honest feedback. I also try to think in metaphor and I think about the opposite all of the time.

Best tools that helps in Business or Life

Think big, to make the world a

Recommended Reading

The Creativity Challenge: How We Can Recapture American Innovation

Jonathan Livingston Seagull: The Complete Edition

Contacting Dr. KH Kim

Website: https://www.facebook.com/kkim0810/about

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kh-kim-42a0722a/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Kreativity_Kim

Resources and Show Mentions

54 Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Competencies List: Emotional Intelligence has proven to be the right kind of intelligence to have if you want to move onward and upward faster. Get your free list today.

 

Show Transcript: 

Click to access edited transcript

127: KH Kim: I focused on my weaknesses a lot

Intro: Welcome to the Fast Leader podcast where we explore convenient yet effective shortcuts that will help you get ahead and move forward faster by becoming a better leader. And now, here’s your host customer and employee engagement expert and certified emotional   practitioner Jim Rembach.

 

Need a powerful and entertaining way to ignite your next conference, retreat or team building session? My keynotes don’t include magic but they do have the power to help your attendees take a leap forward by putting emotional intelligence into their employee engagement customer engagement and customer centric leadership practices. So bring the infotainment creativity the Fast Leader show to your next event and I’ll help your attendees get over the hump now. Go to beyondmorale.com to learn more.

 

Jim Rembach:  Okay Fast Leader legion, today I’m excited because we’re going to get the opportunity to talk about something that is in need in the United States but really globally. The guests that we have on our show today has some very important findings and the research that she’s been doing we all need to know about. Dr. KH Kim was born in a remote village in the southern mountains of South Korea. She did not have electricity or running water until she was 10 years old. From an early age, she had an insatiable curiosity and was constantly asking questions her questions were always met with resistance and even her teachers interpreted her inquisitiveness as being disrespectful. However, her English teacher, Mr. Chow appreciated her curiosity, after middle school most girls from her small village began working at the nearby factories and she assumed she would follow that path too. But Mr. Chow persuaded her parents and the older village relatives that even though she was a female she was capable of having a professional career. Thanks to his insistence, she became the first female from her village to attend high school and earn a college degree. 

 

She became an English teacher because of the difference Mr. Chow made in her life. But KH always felt different from other Korean women like a square peg in a round hole or a misfit. As a teacher, she empathize with students who asked numerous questions especially unexpected or unusual questions or who were labeled as troublemakers. Throughout her life experiences, she felt like a failure and a hopeless troublemaker, this feeling continued until she escaped Korea and met Doctors Torrance and Craven who became her mentors. They helped her recognize that the conflict that engulfed her was a clash between creativity and the Asian culture that valued conformity. He inspired her to follow her curiosity which evolved her from a student to a scholar. Since meeting the two leaders she has completely dedicated her life to research and creativity and innovators. Her research has been recognized with awards such as the Berlin award from the American Psychology Association the E. Paul Torrence award from the American Creativity Association and both the early Scholar Award and the Hollingworth Award from the National Association for Gifted children. Dr. Kim is a professor of Creativity and innovation at the College of William & Mary and lives in Washington DC. She has dedicated her entire 30-year career to research on creativity and innovators that has resulted in her authoring The Creativity Challenge: How We Can Recapture American Innovation. Dr. KH Kim, are you ready to help us get over the hump? 

 

K.H.Kim:  Yes. 

 

Jim Rembach:  I’m glad you’re here with me. Now I’ve given our listeners a little bit about you but can you tell us about your current passion so that we can get to know you even better? 

 

K.H.Kim:  About my current passion—okay, so I have the creativity crisis paper in 2010 but I just finish it update like a follow-up study using 2017 data and then I found that the creativity crisis is even worse. And since 2008 until now the decline has been even greater than before especially among very young children, five years six years old like that, so, I want to get rid of this American test of century like education. So, that’s my passion right now. 

 

Jim Rembach:  You talk about being test-centric and being test-centric causes a lot of abnormal behaviors when you start talking about developing from an intellectual perspective and causes a lot of the things—we have talked off-mic and you had mentioned something about the damage things like common core doing our educational system the things associated with the standardized testing, stack ranking, incentives based off of those things and how it’s really modified and morphed what we do in the classroom to this point where you’re saying we’re having this effect this downward spiral or decrease in creative thinking. But I can say, big deal, why do we need to worry about this?  

 

K.H.Kim:  First of all, creativity is important for the human beings’ wellbeing. You’re inborn potential or interest to curiosity you follow your curiosity and then you find something it’s like fulfilling your potential it’s a human quality of life. And also creativity is making something unique and useful so the end of successful result is innovation. So, in today’s really fast changing world innovation is the key to improve the quality of life and to make the world a better place. Without innovation and creativity we would still think that the world is flat so innovation is necessary for human life individually and socially.

 

Jim Rembach:  You bring up a really interesting point. As you were talking started thinking about, I guess you’d say contention, the conversations and even the recommendations that my wife and I have had with one of our children, who happens to be someone who is a little bit more of that creative thinker and very inquisitive asks tons of questions sometimes to the point of like, enough please no more questions. One of the things that we have been told by others is that we should medicate her. And so when I stop and think about what you’re saying is it sounds like you’re saying that we’re actually medicating out creativity.

 

K.H.Kim:  In order to get high test score in this century in education, because that’s how school teachers are evaluated, if their students don’t perform well on the high stakes test then they get a sanction. It means they lose their job or there are a lot of problems so then they have to focus on controlling the classroom environment so that they can cover a lot of facts and information. Then if there are some students who have an unexpected question or have different ideas or who are more energetic, then there is a problem with the teachers and they have to somehow control, right? So then eventually, we as educators we post conformity within the society. We are all born unique and creative, why do we try to make everybody exactly the same? That is why I left Korea, I say I escaped from Korea, and then now in this country it’s the same here as in Asian countries that just force to conformity, I’m really sad about it. So, until I die I would just let every single person know what is going on how testing just change people’s creativity. 

 

Jim Rembach:  It sounds to me like this whole test-centric focus is causing a whole slew of behaviors that are not healthy.

 

K.H.Kim:  Right.  Even among three, four, five or six years old they are not even taking high stakes test but they already feel like they failure because they are not footed like numbers or letters. A lot of  childhood education like child care or preschools they reduce their playing time, recess time, to have more instruction time on letters and numbers, so this century education is hard for young children even more than other students. That’s why it’s really sad because—that’s why I say everybody is unique and creative—let’s celebrate “fish in water” where they can thrive instead of making them feel they are a failure. Only because they can’t climb a tree, only because they can’t memorize a word and they can’t get high scores on the test they feel like they are failure. Just like when I felt like a failure or hopeless troublemaker in Korea it’s the same here it’s getting like that. I don’t want American children to feel like they live their entire lives feeling like they’re a failure that’s how a lot of Asian people are like. Only because they failed one time, one exam for college entrance they feel like they are failure forever until they die. 

 

Jim Rembach:  You bring up an interesting point because as I was reading through the creativity challenge I started seeing what you were talking about the skills and attitudes that we need to develop in order to increase our creativity which subsequently as you have said the end result is higher levels of innovation. We need to be able to understand different perspectives, we need to be able to think big picture, we need to be able to connect seemingly irrelevant thoughts and ideas and we need to be open-minded, delay our judgement–

 

K.H.Kim:  Based on research, yes.

 

Jim Rembach:  And to me I started saying these are all emotional intelligence related types of topics.

 

K.H.Kim:  Emotion affect creativity development more than cognition so, these emotional traits are very important. And also, in order to generate original quality ideas, you have to be in environment that’s is playful and spontaneous like positive environment and not like nervous or test the anxiety like that. 

 

Jim Rembach:  Here’s an economic reality when you start looking at this whole innovation and research and development and all of that from a perspective of a gross national product and that is over the course of the past decade or more the economic growth has been very small. When you start thinking about this whole creative thinking the really issue we know that it’s directly correlated and connected to this whole innovative thinking which ultimately innovation is connected to economic growth. Growth is slowing, creativity is diving everybody is starving for innovation at an organizational level but the downside is that there’s a lot of big money backing this test centric society, big money. 

 

When you start talking about the competitive aspects of people getting into a higher level of education and the schools and where they compete for good students you start talking about the testing companies and the literally billions of dollars that they’re bringing in annually in order for people to take all these standardized tests this is a huge hill for us to be able to climb in order to be able to change this behavior. What we really need to do instead of focus in on our kids and going through this whole, I guess you’d say arena of competition, is to really help them find their passion and help them find some uniqueness that they’re really attracted to and that’s what’s actually going to develop and flourish. Don’t worry so much about the ranking and the competition piece that will come and actually they’ll probably blow it out the water when they find that passion. Okay, so talking about passion one of the things that we look at on the Fast Leader show are quotes because they help give us passion. Is there a quote or two that you can share?

 

K.H.Kim:  Yeah, okay, everybody is unique and creative. Let’s celebrate fish in water where it can thrive instead of making you feel like it is a failure only because it can’t climb a tree.

 

Jim Rembach:  I know there’s definitely a lot of quotes associated with creative thinking and I know you probably have a slew. Even when we talked off mic you shared a lot what you’ve had from your mentor. Creativity there’s a lot of failures that are also associated with going through the innovative and creative thinking process and there are humps that we have to get over in order to find some success. Is there a time that you’ve had to get over the hump where it really helped you move forward faster than you can share? 

 

K.H.Kim:  Yes, okay, When I got a job my boss, the director, she assigned to me a committee, she was telling me to write and report the meeting minutes for faculty, and because other people can do it she thought I should be able to do it because I’m a professor and I publish a lot. I told her that I can do a lot of other things really well, I listed all these committees that I have been in from previous university, but she said no we’re not going to baby you anymore you have to do this. Okay, at the faculty meeting I finally decided to record, I have a voice recorder, I recorded the faculty meeting and at night, I transcribed everything. However, think of it this, I came to United States when I was 33 years old and because of it’s not the same here, in Asian countries we just memorized everything we never practice speaking English, I can’t understand slang words, there was a lot of acronyms or expressions I don’t understand. For example, one faculty member said, “There’s six hundred pound of gorilla or elephant in this room” “What? Where is the elephant?” It’s like that a lot of things I couldn’t understand. Anyway, I recorded for a long time and then I transcribe it at night but sometimes I couldn’t understand but my children because they came here four and eight years old they will be able to pick up English better than I did and sometimes after meeting, when they were already sleeping I will ask them what it means.

 

Finally, I gave up, I couldn’t do it. Even if I try I couldn’t do it that my weakness I accept that. Then she reported and she wrote a letter to my head above, that I was irresponsible and lazy. I sleep less than three hours a day how can I be lazy? And then also she never assigned any other committee at all but working in a committee is important to get promoted, so that became my weakness. I got really depressed because I felt like I’m really stupid because other people can do while I couldn’t do it and I focused on my weaknesses a lot and I got self-conscious even more. 

 

However, a new director came and when he came to my work first time instead of asking him to come to his office, actually he invited himself to my office. As soon as he sat in my office he ask me,”Dr. Kim how I can make the environment more creative?” I was really shocked because before all the boss was focused on my weakness and I was like—oh, my God, I’m a failure. And then now—he wants what? He was asking my passion he already found out what where my passion is where my strength is and then he was asking me about my expertise about creative environment through creative climate, so, that’s how I started the conversation with him. Also when he came before, the older director, she did everything in a hierarchical manner, we had a meeting but it’s like a lecture style structure but this new director changed the meetings structure physically from the lecture style to round the table style to discuss more openly and make the decisions together. Also before she like hiring people who agree with her and who was similar and also our own graduates but this new director is hiring people who were different and who have a different background and so it means he is not focused on a conformity really focused on diversity and also people who are from different backgrounds they feel more accepted in this environment.

 

Jim Rembach:  Thanks for sharing that story I think it’s a great example of the impact that a leader can have, yes, on individuals but and also on the environment and how going back to that whole conformity thing how it can create a multitude of problems. You and I talked about some recent updates, and you even mentioned it a moment ago about the research that you’ve been conducting and I know that’s really where you’re spending a whole lot of your time. But when you start thinking about this new research and a goal that you have to make an impact, what would be one of the goal that you have?

 

K.H.Kim:  I want to talk with every single educational policy maker about the impact or the consequences of this testing environment, so that is my goal until I die I will do that. If I can’t do it before I die I hope you can do it for me. 

 

Jim Rembach:  And the Fast Leader legion wishes you the very best. Now before we move on let’s get a quick word from our sponsor: 

 

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Alright here we go Fast Leader listeners it’s time for the Hump Day Hoedown. Okay Dr. Kim, the Hump Day Hoedown is the part of our show where you give us good insights fast. I’m going to ask you several questions and your job is to give us a robust yet rapid responses that that are going to help move onward and upward faster. Dr. K. H. Kim are you ready to hoedown? 

 

K.H.Kim:  Yes. 

 

Jim Rembach:  What do you think is holding you back from being an even better leader today? 

 

K.H.Kim:  I have a problem with being impulsive, it has both negative and positive side. If you look at the positive, it’s being spontaneous but negatively it’s like being impulsive. When I moved to United States with four-year-old and eight-year-old children impulsively, all of a sudden. All my friends told me not to go to United States because it’s a dangerous country because of the American movie they got impression that everybody has a gun and people have sex on their first date and a lot of people have AIDS, it’s like America’s the most dangerous country in the world. However, I was being impulsive and I had a big dream about America since I was little because when I was in middle school I got a scholarship from US soldier, so I had a nice impression about them and I believe so I came. 

 

Being impulsive sometimes it helps me and sometimes it doesn’t help me. And another thing is as you I was from a very small village everybody knew everybody so the problem is because I live in a small village and everybody knows my family and the whole village is my relative I tend to trust the people. It is good and bad because as soon as I came to United States I got cheated. An American neighbor told me that if you get a (inaudible 24:18) a supermarket card near my house I can give a lot of discount. So, I asked her, how can I do that? He said, oh just give me a blank check and then you can get the supermarket card. In Korea, there is no blank check like that because we have a check with name and money and everything but US blank check doesn’t have money it just have my name and address—and so I gave him and then he took out $3,600 from my Bank of America card—so there was a lot of problem with trusting people, I still trust people but sometime it’s a problem. 

 

Jim Rembach:  What is one of your secrets that you believe contributes to your success?

 

K.H.Kim:  First, I thank the Lord. I work alone really in-depth but always I get brutally honest with feedback on my work and everything and then so I make **better. And also I always try to think in terms of metaphor. When I wrote my book I compared the development of creativity of individuals as a garden and so I use the gardening metaphor for writing my book. Another thing is I think about the opposite all the time it means—what if it’s exactly opposite? What if it’s not true? Instead of conforming I always think the other way. All the researchers agreed that in order to be really creative you have to have at least an IQ of 120, so there was a threshold, a theory that everybody agreed on at that time since 1965 after2005 the research shows that. Well, I was thinking maybe not because I read a lot of books, biographies on Nobel Prize winners and a lot of them don’t have a high IQ’s. Like Nobel Prize winners you have to be really creative or you have to make contribution by making something unique and useful. So, that’s how I did metal analysis and then I found that creativity and intelligence really weakly related and also I couldn’t find any threshold that the IQ is 120—you don’t need an IQ of 120 to be creative. 

 

If IQ and creativity is same thing then worldwide intelligence is increasing we call it Flynn Effect. If every decade IQ is increasing then creativity should increase also however creativity is decreasing which means they are not related. When people say this is true then I always challenge it. I think about opposite the other way, so they made my research successful also. If you look at all those famous innovator, their life stories, they are connected to nature and they learned from nature and that they got a lot of inspiration or good ideas in nature, and they love gardening. Einstein love gardening although he didn’t like weeding. Steve Jobs was good in gardening that’s how he got the name, which is the company Apple. 

 

Jim Rembach:  What do you feel is one of your best tools that helps you lead in business or life?

 

K.H.Kim:  The best thing is to think big. It means when you think big you can think above the constraints and limitations so that your mind will become creative. So, think big to change the world a better place not for money, that’s the best thing you can be creative.

 

Jim Rembach:  What would be one book that you’d recommend to our listeners and it could be from any genre?

 

K.H.Kim:  Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull story. It is about having a big vision not just eating, he was more focus on flying. And he has reason to live, to learn, to discover to be free and also about being nonconformist. So even though it was not popular among other birds even his mother said, why is it so hard to be like the rest of the flock, John? That’s what the mother would say, this is really good thing. 

 

Jim Rembach:  Okay, Fast Leader Legion you could find links to that and other bonus information from today’s show by going to fastleader.net/KH Kim. Okay Dr. Kim, this is my last hump day hold on question. Imagine you were given the opportunity to go back to the age of 25 and you’ve been given the opportunity to take the knowledge and skills that you have now back with you but you can’t take everything back you can only choose one. What skill or piece of knowledge would you take back with you and why?

 

K.H.Kim:  First thing, for 33 I was worried about why I was so different from others, why I think different but like if I was born again then I would know that being different is good so I wouldn’t think about or I wouldn’t worry about anymore. And also I will just focus on achieving my goal which is getting rid of this American century education and Asian exam, that’s my goal. 

 

Jim Rembach:  Okay, Dr. Kim, it was an honor to spend time with you today, can you please share with the Fast Leader legion how they can connect with you?

 

K.H.Kim:  Okay, you can contact me through my website, or you can Google me just the creativity Kim. 

 

Jim Rembach:  Dr. K.H. Kim, thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom the Fast Leader legion honors you and thanks you for helping us get over the hump. Woot! Woot!

 

Thank you for joining me on the fast leader show today. For recaps, links from every show, special offers and access to download and subscribe, if you haven’t already, head on over the fastleader.net so we can help you move onward and upward faster.

 

END OF AUDIO

 

 

2019-12-08T06:52:46-05:00June 28th, 2017|Podcasts|1 Comment

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