The Science of Character: Shaping You and Your Community's Strengths The Science of Character: Shaping You and Your Community's Strengths

The Science of Character: Shaping You and Your Community's Strengths

by Tiffany Shlain

March 4, 2014

Every year I try to do at least a couple of things that totally scare the sh*t out of me. Sometimes it goes well, sometimes I fail, but I always learn some new edge to push against of what I can do or what I need to work on. Usually there is one moment on the morning of the said talk, premiere, or event that I ask myself, “Why did I need to put myself through this?” At this moment, I try to conjure up my late father’s voice in a very “Obi-Wan Kanobi” echo: “You can do anything you set your mind to.” That was the superpower my father taught me from an early age.  

Now who knew it had a scientific name?

Stanford Psychology Professor Carol Dweck calls it a “growth mindset” (as opposed to a “fixed mindset”) and it turns out anyone can develop it. I learned this while researching my new eight minute film, The Science of Character.

The Science of Character explores the fascinating research behind character development -- science that proves that if you focus on certain character strengths (self-control, courage, curiosity, optimism, enthusiasm, to name a few), and encourage others to do the same, it leads to happiness and well-being. 

So, what are your character strengths and what would you like to develop? It turns out if you'd like to develop your wisdom, find your strengths in creativity, curiosity, love of learning, and perspective; for courage: your bravery, perseverance, honesty, and enthusiasm; for humanity: love, kindness, and social intelligence. And, if you know others who would like to do the same, find out how you can help them develop the strengths they currently have.

Whatever character traits you'd like to have for yourself or others, break them down into the strengths that define those traits and find mentors and resources that will help you work towards strengthening them further.

And, if you'd like to reach transcendence, it may take a while, but know that the characteristics that define transcendence are equally attainable.

I’d like to invite you to be part of the global premiere of this film on March 20. Just as the film was made collaboratively with people all over the world (my team and I call it “Cloud Filmmaking”), we are inviting the world to collaborate on its premiere. In addition to the screenings, there will be a global online Q&A, a free curriculum, and online resources (a curated list of films, books, apps, and games that dive deeper into each of the 24 character strengths explored in the film).

Our main goal is to inspire viewers around the world that they can shape who they are, and that they can play a role in helping shape other people’s character, too.

We already have over 500 screenings happening for March 20  – from every school in the Los Angeles Unified School District to State Department screenings at U.S. embassies to even a screening in the South Pole.

We will provide free customized versions of the eight minute film with your organization or your school (or your kids school)’s logo at the end of it if we hear from you by March 1 here. No strings attached. Just a free film and engaging tools for your community. 

Watch the trailer and find out more here.

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The Science of Character: Shaping You and Your Community's Strengths