Learning Resilience and Adaptability in an Unpredictable World

I recently got the chance to appear on the excellent Art of Problem Solving podcast on behalf of Sapienship, talking about how to raise and educate a generation whose jobs may not exist yet, or who may find automation erodes their employment opportunities.

To date, I haven’t spoken much on my personal site here about my work with Sapienship, largely because most of it has yet to reach the public domain. I expect that to change quite a lot in the next few months.

Anyhow, one of the benefits of migrating to an academic-adjacent position, especially one as wide-ranging as mine, is the ability to escape the narrow pigeon-holes of expertise which the artificial boundaries of academic disciplines enforce.

In my career, as noted elsewhere, I’ve had a number of very different roles. As a journalist alone, I gained expertise in a very varied range of topics and subjects including healthcare, politics and international sport. Hence it always seemed somewhat constrictive to me that academia was so insistent that I stay in my narrow lane, even as it nominally espoused interdisciplinary practices.

This is why my current areas of personal research are fundamentally interdisciplinary – in particular Religious Futurisms and Invented Languages. But it also informs why I have always been keen to teach students to be resilient and adaptable. I’ve finally been offered the chance by the Art of Problem-Solving podcast to expound on this pedagogical ethos and I feel especially privileged that in this area, as in many others, I find my personal values echoed and amplified by Sapienship.

I did not have a role model or a teacher to guide me how to become resilient and adaptable to a world in which change seems to be perpetually accelerating. I had to develop those skills myself, on the hoof, as I migrated from the Arts to Journalism to Academia and to the position I now hold.

Hopefully this podcast can help others to shorten that learning process, because the world is not slowing down anytime soon, and resilience and adaptability are going to become the defining traits of success, or possibly even survival, in the decades to come.