In our 10653NAT Diploma of Positive Psychology and Wellbeing we always talk about starting with self and creating a ripple effect out there in the world - whatever that may mean for you.
In this interview, one of our Diploma graduates explains how the course has supported him to make positive changes in his life, and make a positive impact in the world.
Scott van Dort
Copywriter at Ferratum Group (Sweden)
Melbourne - September 2015 - Alumni
What drew you to complete the Diploma of Positive Psychology and Wellbeing?
Just months before commencing my Diploma in Positive Psychology and Wellbeing in September 2015, I was in the middle of packing up my life in Los Angeles where I'd been living for ten years. I had somehow developed a career in music licensing and copyright for twelve years yet without having made any conscious choice.
I felt directionless. I didn’t love Los Angeles nor ever really felt connected to it. I’d finally given up my childhood dream as a performing musician (which in hindsight I’m unsure was the right fit for me anyhow) and I didn’t love the work I was doing. However, the real catalyst for change was the separation (and two years later, divorce) from my wife and partner of fifteen years.
To say I was at a crossroads would be a huge understatement. During what was the most difficult period of my life, a work colleague coincidentally sent me Shawn Achor's TED talk. It was my introduction to Positive Psychology and I was immediately fascinated.
Amidst all the changes going on, I knew I needed to put my focus on something positive to stay afloat.
After being separated six months from my wife and with seemingly no possibility of reconciling our marriage, I decided to return to Australia to get the support of family and friends. While planning my return, I discovered The Langley Group Institute and the Diploma in Positive Psychology and Wellbeing, which was literally due to commence the week after I returned to Australia.
At the same time, my grandfather, who had been an incredible influence in my life (and who would go on to fund this course for me), suddenly became very ill and passed away on the eve of my return. This Diploma feel like his final gift to me.
How was your experience of the Diploma of Positive Psychology and Wellbeing?
What the Diploma gave me was more profound and powerful than I could have ever expected. The course required deep excavation and exploration of my strengths, and my values. The course, and specifically the Strengths Profile, was like being handed a blueprint of who I am.
I discovered that Moral Compass was my number one strength and I could see, based on this, why I’d been unsatisfied in my work. Exploring how and where I could find meaning in work was incredibly profound. The insights I gained about my strengths and how to use them is one of the greatest discoveries I have ever made.
How are you spreading your positive ripples, and how has the Diploma of Positive Psychology and Wellbeing helped you achieve this?
I completed the Diploma in six months and, after spending several years feeling directionless, I felt more excited and optimistic about my next steps than I could ever imagine.
Not a week goes by when I don’t reflect on how lucky I am to have completed the Diploma and how much it changed the course of my entire life.
My life does not resemble anything like it did only two years ago and finally, I feel authentic and proud, and I have meaning and purpose.
In addition to the Diploma itself, I had another lifeline which I focused on - Sweden. Twelve months before leaving L.A. and starting the Diploma, I'd made my first trip to Scandinavia, which had been a fascination of mine since I was 15 years old. While I was in Stockholm, I had a couple of small yet very significant exchanges and after being there just three days, I felt like I had come home. I saw glimpses of what my life could be and vowed to return.
I completed my Diploma in March 2016 and booked a trip to Sweden to see what it would be like to live there. For the next nine months, I flew back and forth to Sweden on a tourist visa where I did an internship of sorts for a startup company writing articles about strengths finding, goal setting, motivation and wellbeing. I got to see my strengths in action and received further clues about what I might like to do.
Finally, in March 2017, I met over ten companies and was offered a couple of positions before signing on the dotted line in May 2017. While I had a an idea that I enjoyed communicating and expressing through the written word (which was my first love when I was kid), I found the right employer in Sweden who secured a work permit on my behalf and employed me as their Copywriter. I finally made the move to Sweden in June 2017. It feels quite fitting to be living in a country that ranks so highly in The World Happiness Report and that is congruent with my ideals.
The idea of being a Copywriter is something previously I could have only dreamed of. I love the work I do and every single day I get to utilise my passions and my strengths. I write texts for mobile apps, ad campaigns, websites, articles, email blasts, marketing materials, and blog posts. The topics I write about draw upon all my learnings from the Diploma.
To say I utilise the Diploma every single day is an understatement.
I market the company’s products through the lens of positive psychology. I live and breathe the Diploma. I love my work, I love my new home, and I love the lens in which I see the world.
Every day I can see how my work makes a difference to the company. I get to promote positive messaging in all my work and I get to see the fruits of my labour and how much it is connecting with people and impacting the company.
Watch Shawn Achor's Ted Talk on the benefits of Positive Psychology at Work!