Malala Yousafzai – Passion Over Fear
Malala Yousafzai may not be a name that comes to mind when you think of the term Greatest of All Time, but there is no doubt that it should be! She has an incredible story of immense pain, tribulation and how she turned it all into a fight for girls’ education in Pakistan and across the globe. Malala became a Nobel Peace Prize winner at just 17! In between being shot for her beliefs and becoming a Nobel Prize winner is an incredible story of passion, perseverance and grit…let's dive in!
The story of Malala
In 1997 Malala was born to her parents in Pakistan, and she says that for parents in Pakistan, welcoming a baby girl is not cause for celebration. However, her father was committed to giving her all the same opportunities that a Pakistani boy would receive. As she grew up, her father ran a girl’s school in their village, until in 2008, the Taliban took over her village and they banned many things, including girl’s having education or going to school.
In 2012, Malala spoke out publicly, fighting for girls' rights to have an education but because Malala was standing up and fighting for something that the Taliban had banned, this made her a target to them. In October 2012, a masked gunman boarded her bus on her way home from school, and they shot her in the head. 10 days later, she woke up in a hospital in England and was filled in on the attack by the nurses and doctors and assured that the world had been waiting to hear about her recovery.
After months of rehabilitation, surgeries and treatment, Malala joined her family in their new home in England. For most, being attacked for their passion would deter them from speaking out again, or moving in the direction of their goals and what they want to do, but Malala decided she simply could not live a quiet life, and she had to do something about it! She created the Malala Fund, a charity that helps girls achieve the future they deserve. Due to her significant work in this field, in 2014 Malala went on to become the youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
Passion over fear
After hearing more about Malala’s story, she is no doubt very worthy to join those with the title of the Greatest of All Time, for her perseverance, activism, and her continued fight for freedom of education for millions of girls who are denied it every year. There are so many humbling aspects of Malala’s story, however, one that particularly stands out is how her passion and perseverance outweighed her fear.
Malala had every right to become fearful of speaking out and standing up, but she knew that what was on the line was too great to remain silent for! That is resilience and grit at its finest. A common theme between all the G.O.A.T’s that I have looked at, read about, and written about is passion! Passion and a deep belief in a cause are what has driven many people to go the extra mile, fight for what they believe in, give their all to a cause and rise to change the world or their world, in a big or small way!
While we may never have such extreme circumstances as Malala had, we must all, at one time or another, look fear in the eyes and make a choice. Malala is an incredible example of what can come from choosing passion over fear. Millions of women around the world, would not have an education or have access to a bright future without Malala looking fear in the eyes and choosing to fight harder. Remember, passion over fear, always!
Start Now, The next second is unknown!
Money can’t buy time. Sure, it can buy us time away, time spent doing things we love, or we can waste time, sleep the time away and so much more, but money cannot buy more time! Something that stands out in Malala’s story is that her next second was so unknown. One day she was in her village peacefully, enjoying her right to education and freedom, and the next day it was overrun by the Taliban. One second, she was on the bus, the next second, she was shot. Like Malala, our next second is unknown.
Malala knew that her passion couldn’t wait, something needed to be done at this moment! She lives knowing how precious time is to her passion and to her cause. When it comes to passion, it struggles to be on the backburner! Passion calls important things to the forefront of our minds and drives us to do those important things now. Imagine if Malala decided she would wait a few years before doing something about girls’ access to education! She wouldn’t have changed millions of girls’ lives.
We know it’s easy to put undesirable things on the back burner, but when life gets busy and other things come up, we risk our passion not becoming a priority. The thing about deep performance and success is that it requires action! Action requires planning, and planning requires time. So, the best thing you can do today is to take time, plan, and put actions to those plans! Influential people aren’t where they are because they sat idle amongst their passion. No! They made it happen, they let their passion lead them!
Lessons From Malala
There are so many lessons from Malala’s life and story, but the ones that stick out the most are choosing passion over fear and doing something in the now, to better your future. Look fear in the eyes and choose your passion instead! Fear will always be present; it is what we choose in the face of fear that matters! Don’t sit idle waiting for your passion to evolve and do great things, go out there, and put plans to your passion…that is how you will do great things! Malala is far from done on her quest to change the world, are you ready to embark on yours?
For more on planning and putting action to your goals, check out this blog post on Mission Planning – https://afterburner.com.au/the-six-step-mission-planning-process/
I'd love to hear from you! Comment down below how Malala's story changed your perspective on passion over fear!
Hey! You're Biased! – Affect Heuristic
I'm introducing a new section on each article called “Hey! You're Biased!”. In this section, I will focus on one of the 188 cognitive biases, it will be short, sweet and lighthearted with an aim to highlight some lapses in the human cognitive function! Cognitive biases are irrational errors in human decision making and thinking patterns. So with that said, let's have a look at #1! Affect Heuristic is the cognitive bias that brings emotions into play, to aid quick decision thinking. If someone gives a smile, we automatically assume they are safe and friendly. If someone does something that hurts us, we automatically assume that they are unfriendly and write them off as a person, even if they didn't mean to hurt us! Do you recognise this thinking pattern in you? Let's get unbiased!
Choi, I. (2018). Malala Yousafzai. My Hero. https://myhero.com/malala-yousafzai-7
Malala Fund. (n.d.). Malala’s Story. Malala Fund. https://malala.org/malalas-story