The Adaptable Mind

The Adaptable Mind (11 mins) asks the question: what are the skills we need to flourish in the 21st Century?  Of the hundreds of inspiring stories that flooded in from social media, one stood out: Los Angeles-based professor and artist, Mary Beth Heffernan, was listening to coverage of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa and how isolating and traumatic it must be for patients to interact only with hazmat suits for weeks on end. She thought, “what if they put pictures of their faces on the front of the suits?” Thousands of letters, grants, and hurdles later, Mary Beth’s story reveals that, while there is a lot of fear that technology is displacing our jobs, the skills we need most in the 21st Century — curiosity, creativity, taking initiative, multi-disciplinary thinking, and empathy — happen to be skills that machines don’t have; only humans have. The film is available with subtitles in Spanish, Chinese, French, German, Arabic, Hebrew, Hindi, Russian, and Swahili.

*The Adaptable Mind was selected by the US State Department’s American Film Showcase to represent America at embassies abroad.

*The Government of India organized its annual India International Science Film Festival in Chennai featuring The Adaptable Mind.

Download Film

Online Resources

The Adaptable Mind Discussion Kit: Ages 4-9 | Ages 10-14 | Ages 15-18 | Ages 19-99+
Translations: Spanish | Chinese

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On September 13, 2017, join hundreds of thousands of people around the globe for the fourth annual Character Day — a free day and global initiative where school districts, organizations, families, and congregations of all sizes screen films on the science of character development from different perspectives, dive into free printed discussion materials catered to different ages, and join an online global conversation around the importance of developing character strengths (resilience, grit, empathy, courage, kindness)–all rooted in evidence-based research. Character Day is one day. The resources are available year-round.