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Life & Work with Anh Ngo

Today we’d like to introduce you to Anh Ngo.

Anh, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I am currently a chemist researcher, a podcast host, and a social entrepreneur! One of the things which excite me most is being the founder of MindsetSeed! MindsetSeed is a nonprofit organization that aims to promote a growth mindset in the youth through cultivating kindness around mental health.

Since I was little, I was always fascinated with public speaking and art. I loved to voice my opinions and listen to the dynamic discussions of others – whether it is through mock debates, presentations, or giving a speech! Furthermore, the ways one can compose words further amazed me. Ever since I was in 3rd grade, I started to combine these two things I love, making them the duo that defines who I am. In the year I turned eight, I started my own business, publishing photography books to raise awareness for the power poverty can have on children. I traveled the world, capturing the depth images I saw and conveyed meaning to them through the short but precise captions I wrote. Through this project, I meet like-minded individuals as I presented my project at different seminars and exhibitions. This brace passion for literature and debate has continued with me today.

Founding MindsetSeed, I could combine the things I most love with a cause I most cherished. Adopting a growth mindset, the belief that your abilities can grow with effort has been the energy for me to drive through with the obstacles before me. It is what had helped me go through the darkest periods of my path and what has allowed me to meet great peers. Through MindsetSeed, I gain the ability to further my love for discussions through our podcast, “Yet has Power” and live events, and writing with our weekly blogs and magazines. Here, I can connect with individuals with similar stories as I had and gain a more powerful strength to pull through with my difficulties.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
In how I perceive things, there are very rare smooth roads to one’s goal destination, and mine is no different. There were many struggles that I had faced in the past. One of the most hurtful yet most beneficial ones was shifting my mindset from fixed to growth. Growing up, I accepted many praises regarding my intellect and achievements. As at a young age, I acceded to everything I did, whether through art, singing, sports, or academics. Therefore, I never wanted to make the compliments untrue and always strived to build an artificial image of myself as being perfect. However, I recall one instance in fifth grade, where we first learned the program “Scratch” here, I struggled in grasping the material, and instead of working harder, I decided to give up, as I did not want others to think I had a flaw.

This mindset continued with me all the way until high school, where the classes I took got harder. The academics of mine began to go down as I refused to admit I was struggling. And as my school performance slipped, so did the self-confidence and self-love I once had in myself. When I looked around, I would start comparing others to myself, thinking I am inferior or worthless, and here, I would shield myself away from others. But as this went long for an extended period, I decided that I had to get myself out of this state. I started to find direction when reading the book “Mindset” by Professor Carol Dweck of Stanford University. Shifting my mindset from fixed to growth was a difficult journey, as I had to make myself prone to judgments and failures ahead. However, the things I got back were more than positive. When admitting I was finding certain information difficult, I began to gain more peers as they helped me up. I began to work harder and realize the potential I had in myself if I applied effort. And with this in mind, I wanted to convey the power of a growth mindset through MindsetSeed.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
Being a student in high school, I look out for my future and see many endless opportunities. Within my school years, I am fortunate enough to open new doors and seek the right room for myself. Therefore, in my high school years, my passions evolve around being the founder at MindsetSeed, doing chemistry research at a local college, and conveying my thoughts through literature! However, if you were to ask my peers, they would most likely identify me as a student who loves chemistry. I would spend many additional hours after class reading on new studies in the neurochemistry and physical chemistry fields and ask questions in class about the phenomenons of the world. I have enjoyed various conversations with different chemistry professors, like professor Richard Zare, where we would discuss hours on how to solve issues in the world, for example, climate change. So, if I were to be asked about the things I am most proud of, it would be my chemistry research and MindsetSeed, but more importantly the people I meet along the way who has reminded me that I am unique and I shall have trust in myself.

In terms of your work and the industry, what are some of the changes you are expecting to see over the next five to ten years?
As the years passed, more innovations have risen in various fields, and as the world becomes more connected, more issues have also been brought to attention. One of them is Mental Health, something I hope to raise more awareness of through MindsetSeed. Because in the world today, social media paints certain images that we unconsciously want to follow although it may not be true to ourselves. And as more individuals begin to realize that, there is also an increase in initiatives. For example, there are more songs, programs, and literature written about the importance of cherishing ourselves. So when there is more relevancy given to an issue, the youth today strives to make a difference, and that is the trend I see. Whether it is through text messages of encouragement or holding a campaign, the changes made are very impactful. And with Mental Health, I wish that this trend continues to grow, for individuals to bliss themselves and their authenticity.

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