If you feel that you have had a rough deal in life and find it hard to recognize that you have got the power to carry on and achieve great things, just look around you at the stories of those who have faced great adversity but overcome and even transcended it to achieve at high levels. The story of Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai is an inspiration to all. Shot by the Taliban just for being a girl who was determined to have an education and speak out for the rights to education of all girls, Malala was recently nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and continues to campaign for the rights of girls to be educated, despite further threats against her life.
One of the striking things about Malala is how humble she is, despite her achievements at such a young age. She is an articulate and courageous young woman. Check out this video of an interview with her and Jon Stewart of The Daily Show; rarely is he ever rendered speechless as he is during this interview.
One of the poignant moments of this interview is when Stewart asks Malala what she would do if the Taliban came after her again; Malala’s reply, that she would tell them that she wishes for education for their daughters as well speaks of a young lady of strong character and strength in her convictions. It would have been easy for her to fade into the background after she was very nearly killed, no one would blame her if she did and many would take this option! But here is a girl who understands the power that one person can have to speak up and make a difference.
We have recently looked at overcoming fear and Malala provides a great example of overcoming not just fear, but the effects of a significant personal trauma to continue to fight for what she believes in. In research by Albert Bandura on self-efficacy and resilience, self-efficacy is defined as ‘ people’s beliefs about their capabilities to produce designated levels of performance that exercise influence over events that affect their lives’. Those who have a strong sense of self-efficacy are more likely to achieve personal accomplishments, have reduced stress and be less vulnerable to depression.
If you struggle with self-efficacy, this is something that can be developed through creating mastery by overcoming significant obstacles, vicarious experiences such as seeing others overcome adversity and finding ways to reduce your stress reactions to events. Look at examples such as Malala Yousafzai who have overcome amazing odds, the ability to build self-efficacy and resilience is in your hands.
What do you believe in that is worth fighting for? You have got the power…