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Seeking Out a Different Pathway to Success

Seeking Out a Different Pathway to Success

Goh Hui Ying's Story
Faculty of Dentistry

What pops into your mind when you think about “success”? We’re often primed by society to first consider it from a financial angle. When people say that education propels one to succeed, most of them simply mean that studying will help you earn money. But Goh Hui Ying, a final year BDS student, participated in a series of workshops with a unique take on success. 

Last year, Hui Ying took part in The Way to Success (TWTS), a CEDARS mentorship programme and weekly workshop series that reconceptualises what it means to be successful. The programme considers successful people to have three central traits: integrity, leadership, and the capacity for servanthood. 

While the first two concepts are easily understandable, the last one may raise some eyebrows. Hui Ying explained, “Servanthood means to selflessly add value to other people’s lives.” In a dog-eat-dog world, this kind of altruism is often neglected. However, TWTS reorients participants’ eyes to see success from a more personal level: to see humans, and not statistics.

The TWTS sessions were split into two parts. The speaker of the week would first deliver a talk, then the participants and their group mentors would share their thoughts. As many topics were personal, everyone joined hands to create a safe, welcoming environment for discussion. As Hui Ying described, “The participants were frank and kind – we’d share our stories and provide advice openly.”

"Hui Ying’s personal experiences align with – and confirm – The Way to Success’s views on true success."

According to Hui Ying, the most memorable session was centred on “Failing Forward”. “Usually, people only dare talk about their success,” Hui Ying explained. “This was a very special topic to me.” 

The speaker of that week shared a touching personal tale. “He was the kind of person everyone would consider successful,” Hui Ying said.

“But for a while, their family suffered from some personal issues. This came as a big shock to all of us.”

Family issues are quite taboo in Asian societies, so it isn’t uncommon for people to keep a stiff upper lip just to maintain the dangerous illusion of “success”. However, the speaker didn’t sweep his family’s pain under the rug. “The family came together to support each other,” Hui Ying explained. “And in the end, they got through.”

Hui Ying’s personal experiences align with – and confirm – TWTS’s views on true success.

In 2016, she joined the Organising Committee of the Annual Congress of the Asia Pacific Dental Students Association. 

“We had to organise the Congress in Hong Kong. It was a difficult task since the costs are so high here!” Her team also had to deal with manpower problems, complex external communications, and much more. “It took us two whole years to prepare for everything,” Hui Ying said. 

But ultimately, the Congress was a success. “It couldn’t have been done alone!” Hui Ying laughed. “We needed help from many, many friends and classmates. Without collaboration, we could never have organised such a wonderful programme.” After selflessly devoting plenty of time and energy, Hui Ying and her team finally achieved their goal. 

We all want to succeed, but what does success even mean? TWTS shows participants that it’s more than making a profit. As Hui Ying’s story reflects, success represents the coming together of TWTS’s central tenets: integrity, leadership, and the capacity for servanthood. 

Written by:
Gabrielle Tse
Year 4, Faculty of Arts
March 2020

Seeking Out a Different Pathway to Success