I went to watch a movie with my children. It was my son’s favourite ‘The Ninjago Movie’. An aspiring wise old man Master Wu trained six ninjas to fight against an evil force. The Ninjas had their secret weapons with them. In a terrifying battle against evil odds, their secret weapons got lost. They felt defeated, disabled and inadequate until one of the ninjas had a flashing discovery, the secret weapon lied all within them. With this assurance, they fought with all their might and achieved victory.
There are many times that we feel this feeling of disability within ourselves. Sometimes it is in physical and emotional form, at others, it is a matter of mind.
Many successful people have surpassed their state of physical and mental disability. One such example is Stephan Hawking, power chair user, who could only talk with assistance, but that didn’t stress him to study the universe, relativity and quantum mechanics.
Ralph Braun born with muscular dystrophy created the first wheelchair accessible van and was named ‘champion for change’.
U.S president Franklin Delano Roosevelt contracted polio, got paralysed yet was a great leader in history.
Award-winning songwriter, singer and musician Steve Wonder was blind. Award-winning actress Marlee Matlin was deaf.
Frida Kahlo was forced to bed rest several months for her accident will be remembered for her artistic expression during this time.
Hellen Keller first blind and deaf person to earn a college degree wrote for women, labour rights and autobiography.
Suda Chandran an Indian dancer and actress despite losing her leg taught herself to dance and became highly achieved dancer in the world.
In 2011, Arunima Sinha an Indian player was thrown off the train for refusing to give the mugs the gold chain she wore. After losing her leg she decided to fulfil her dream to climb mount, Everest. In 2013 she became the first Indian amputee to achieve the highest civilian award for her success.
At the age of 21, Muniba Mazari from Pakistan was left paralysed in a car accident.
Her crushed backbone, sustained fractures on arms and bones did let her give up. She became an artist, model, social activist, singer, tv host and a motivational speaker. She is rightly called ‘the iron lady of Pakistan’ not only for having a lot of metal framework in the body but also the right attitude.
All these people made a decision in the time of most terrifying battles of their lives. They listened to their inner ninja who told them that power and strength were within them and who kept their jewel of motivation intact.
Why is then that an able person with capability surrenders to failure? Why do we succumb to stress, anxiety and depression permanently? It is the external support of family and friends that we need, yet above all the willingness to find the jewel of motivation within us…through prayers, walking(breathing/yoga), reading or a healing time in nature, away from shackles of technology and strenuous routine.
As we see around there are people who want to lose weight, choose a healthy lifestyle, do exercise, quit smoking, drinking and crime. There are students who know they are capable but cannot find one end of rope called hope. There are workaholics who want work-life balance yet there are jobless and homeless people who want to support themselves.
They have an intention to bring positivity into the lives of themselves and others. From what their heart yearns, there comes a resistance from the mind. Our brain is naturally programmed to resist every change that is out of the comfort zone; hence it brings up all fears, doubts, perils and pain-staking ways. It manipulates the conscious with a display of a bleak and despairing image.
‘To be or not to be’, comes in action, and a lot of time and energy is utilized to choose from two actions:
‘whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune’
‘or to take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them’.
Perhaps Shakespeare talks of arms as the secret weapon of right attitude; the weapon of assurance, self-conviction and motivation that fights every physical and mental disability that comes its way…and believe
‘ it is not in the stars to hold our destiny but ourselves’.
In that microsecond when the heart yearns, and the brain sends a stress signal, the tuning of motivation gives a no-nonsense call. One gets brave and courageous to tell all doubts and fears who is in charge next.
The secret then onwards is to become deaf to all discouraging, dark and gloomy inner self, it is time to get going ..to rise..to shine..who has the time to lose?
Many wise people say that disable is one who has eyes but no vision, arms but not an ability to help others, legs but no direction to go. ‘Never let (yourself and) others ‘dis’ your ability’ said Muniba Mazari.
How about we locate our secret weapons of right attitude and positive thinking that serves a magnet for success, independence and well-being. Let us talk all about what worries us… let us also give ears and helping hand to others well in time…
First published in social diary Pakistan Feb 2018.