Jade Seah: My growth mindset raised my capacity for happiness

PHOTO: Instagram/jadeseah

With the pandemic affecting our lives by curtailing overseas travel and even basic social interaction, Singapore saw a dramatic uptake in hobbies such as keeping plants, baking and cycling.

A survey reported in our national newspaper showed that 60 per cent of us picked up a new skill or hobby during the Circuit Breaker. Interestingly 94 per cent of these people are still at it – I contribute to this statistic.

After the pandemic hit at the end of 2019, I acquired about 15 plants (seven are thriving, one is surviving, the rest have sadly not made it) and a road bicycle. I now cycle weekly, covering distances of between 50 and 130km each time.

During this time, I decided to undergo training as a rebound instructor. It was not an easy process, both physically and mentally, challenging my confidence and self-esteem.

I almost gave up at one point, but am happy to report that I now have a weekly class, where I lead people through a fun workout on individual trampolines, helping them burn fat and get one step closer to their fitness goals.

Putting my Positive Psychology credentials to use, I started holding workshops encouraging people to live happier and more meaningful lives.

This was quite daunting at first, but I am thankful that I pushed through. I’m also grateful for partners who encouraged me, running successful sessions where we hopefully helped people on their journey towards increased well-being.

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On top of this, I gave in to the many requests to start inline skating lessons, putting a long- time hobby and love for the sport to better use – I derive great satisfaction from watching people progress under my guidance!

Science has shown how a love of learning and a growth mindset affect our relationship with success and failure (both professionally and personally), and how this ultimately affects our well-being and capacity for happiness.

Research also shows that learning new skills improves one’s mental wellness by boosting self- confidence, raising self-esteem and helping with a sense of purpose. A fringe benefit of learning is connecting and engaging with other people who share similar interests.

With World Mental Health Day approaching on Oct 10, I hope that you too will take charge of your happiness and mental health, and embrace a growth mindset. Learn to thrive on challenges, and view failure not as an indication of a lack of intelligence, but as a heartening catalyst for growth and an chance to stretch your innate abilities.

This article was first published in Her World Online.