Dr. Olga Zbarskaya, founded the Institute of Creative Thinking based in New York. Dr. Zbarskaya, an acclaimed author of over one hundred published works including “Brainstorm! Practice for Unrestricted Imagination and Original Thought”. Dr. Zbarskaya has developed curricula, training, and workshops for professionals and students. A recipient of several awards, Olga has featured in different radio and television shows. The celebrated artist famous for her Mind Booster Art sat down for an exclusive interview with The Solutions News on Creative Thinking
Walking into the luxuriant office of OZCREDO company located at Valley Stream, New York, you will first embrace the popular Mind Booster Art – the perceptual medium of colors and shapes that creates a mind-friendly and creativity-conducive learning and reflecting environment. Adorned with eye-catching and pleasant paintings on the wall, the visitor feels relaxed, special, and boost of imagination. Welcome to the world of creativity at the Institute of Creative Thinking.
To Olga, creativity is an activity that produces something novel or different. Creativity is broad in scope, and it is a complex and multidimensional skill that is essential for advanced thinking and adjusting to a rapidly changing environment. Creativity is therefore crucial for navigating today’s social structures, for individuals and communities. Many learning institutions now teach creativity skills based on knowledge, experience, and abilities in a particular area.
I believe that creative thinking should be implemented as a separate discipline, says Olga. Since very early childhood, it should be literally taught starting in kindergarten. Instead of just reading a book to a child, you read just a piece and you stop and you ask, how do you think the story ends? I envisage the formation of cultural self determination in young children through the perspective of creative thinking, self determination, and self regulation. So a child doesn’t just learn in isolation that discipline that he or she doesn’t even know what to do, but instead, learning everything through the prism of my perspective, per specialty perspective of myself and the world in conjunction. In other words like practical approach to every discipline, you don’t learn just the math like math, as a separate, isolated something two plus two, you learn that as part of your independence round and then you go wider, wider as you grow and so on.
Thinking outside of the box
How many times you have heard the phrase “thinking outside of the box”? Guess what. There is
no box. You make your own box out of narrowed vision, limited perception, biases, and
misconceptions. When people say, you have to think outside of the box, the reality is that people are creating those boxes themselves, because life is designed in a way where it seems like, from early in life, children always hear from adults and peers, that Oh, don’t say you don’t have voice you cannot make decisions you cannot speak nicely; you’re not a good leader, and so on. So that’s how they start building those boxes and limitations. So, a person creates his own box out of his or her own perception of his or her own limitation. So by the age of 10, it’s impossible for that person to then think outside because this person diligently built this box already.
I offer to teach children how not to build those boxes, how they can just believe in themselves, live up to their potential, believe in their creativity and develop this creativity through different disciplines or different actions that you do such as making a breakfast or even how you design this breakfast or even how you eat this bread.
We have to continue this discipline of creative thinking in schools, at the workplace as professional development training because this creative discipline will be more important than any other discipline that people learn. The reason is because everything starts from the way you think and if our academies and schools and kindergartens will start teaching the art of thinking, that’s when our people will be healthy, psychologically, emotionally, physically, and happy and successful. Today, we teach our children to multiple choices, and that’s why all these students that graduate from school get the depressed, they’re stuck at home, they don’t know what they do. They cannot even find a job, because all they know is multiple choices, and they wait when life will start giving them multiple choices but guess what life doesn’t do this, you have to be able to create for yourself, a set of multiple choices and then choose from them so children don’t know how to analyze how to synthesize, how to compare and contrast all that because we’re missing this, so all they know is multiple choices and then they get stuck. So this is just one tiny example.
People don’t know how to deal with ambiguity, how to deal with uncertainty. And this is terrible because our world is all about unexpected ambiguity; uncertainty, and that’s what I teach … how to make decisions, how to be more fluid and how to be more flexible, how to be original, how to come up with unusual decision making, how to deal with uncertainties, how to deal with the unknown.
Originally from Ukraine, Olga recalls her childhood in Odessa, Ukraine – a country she left in 1996 with only $300 to seek a new life in the United States. “Everyone in my family were scientists like professors, my mom was a professor of biochemistry so she is more precise and my dad is a engineer, an inventor.” He published books and articles and I grew up in between my mom’s lab and my dad’s lab. My parents instilled in me quite early in life how to come up with new solutions and I always know how to deal with this and that.
Living a fulfilled life in New York Dr. Olga Zbarskaya specializes in optimal performance and creativity interventions through the ARTS and literature; creativity as a predictor of achievement , and utilization of human potential.