Develop sense of enterprise, learn through setbacks

The struggles and challenges that resulted in a life of purpose and meaning for former corporate high-flier Anthea Ong captured my imagination ("The woman who lost everything but found herself"; last Sunday).

She has shown that to achieve happiness in life, one has to go through a painstaking process of learning, overcoming setbacks and challenges and eventually making one's dreams a reality.

So it is with the new generation of Singaporeans, who have to learn differently, courageously and with a sense of purpose.

Though we would like to believe that our education system is moving away from paper qualifications, it is a fact that the mindset of parents, students and educators alike is still rooted in the belief that academic performance guarantees material satisfaction and a good life.

It is therefore vital that we train ourselves to develop a sense of curiosity and enterprise, so that we can make a difference to ourselves and to our fellow beings.

More importantly, we must learn to take each setback as feedback to improve, and every challenge an opportunity to grow.

Realising that there is no such thing as overnight success, we must take a cue from Ms Ong's life experiences and look beyond her achievements to find inspiration in the journey she had to go through to get to where she is today.

V. Subramaniam (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 02, 2016, with the headline 'Develop sense of enterprise, learn through setbacks'. Print Edition | Subscribe