Personality Is Key

A person’s personality is what defines them, dictates how the interact within society, and also is what allows that person to overcome difficult circumstances. Malala Yousafzai is a person who exemplifies a strong-minded personality. She is a seventeen-year-old girl from the Swat Valley in Pakistan. Pakistan is a predominantly Islamic country, and Malala and her family are all Islamic.

What Malala has faced in only her seventeen years of life is more than most of us here in America will ever have to face. In the wake of such adversity, Malala has been resilient, traveling the globe speaking in support of education for girls all over the world. She has met with many leaders of countries, including President Barack Obama, and has also become a Nobel Laureate. What has allowed her to accomplish all these things is her personality. A personality that allows people to overcome difficult or seemingly impossible difficulties has many beneficial aspects including mental strength, optimism, intelligence, and integrity in the face of overwhelming adversity.

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Mental strength or toughness is a term used to describe positive attributes that allow a person to deal with extenuating, difficult circumstances. Malala Yousafzai certainly possesses so- called mental strength. Before the years of 2008-2010, she was able to go to school every day, the school that her father, Ziuaddin Yousafzai, founded. Malala was a brilliant student and a great orator. After the Taliban took over the Swat Valley in 2008, school was suspended for all girls over the age of 10, so this included Malala.

However, Malala’s father kept the school open to girls whenever he could, as a form of almost silent protest toward the Taliban who did not allow girls over age 10 to attend school. Malala said, “My father always said that the most beautiful thing in a village in the morning is the sight of a child in a school uniform, but now we were afraid to wear them,” meaning the Taliban had made people afraid to go to school and learn. Somehow Malala endured through this to become the well-spoken, intelligent person she is today, but without her mental strength, she might not have made it through the Taliban’s insurgency. Mental strength is crucial to being able to weather a storm of negativity. While mental strength is important to prevailing over arduous situations, optimism is also important.

Being optimistic means that no matter how bad things get, a person is still able to stay positive, and find good in the bad. Optimism is something Malala Yousafzai certainly possesses. Despite having her beautiful Swat Valley taken over by the Taliban, being oppressed into not being able to attend school year round as she was accustomed to, being shot in the head by the Taliban, and having to spend months recovering, including physical therapy to gain back the ability to do simple things like smile, Malala was able to find humor and have a positive outlook on the situation. While recovering in a United Kingdom hospital after being shot by the a Taliban member, Malala wrote this, “I realized what the Taliban had done was make my campaign global.” (288-289) Despite being shot, and having brain damage, and part of her skull damaged, she was still able to find a positive amidst all the negative circumstances.

Her campaign for girls’ education around the world was now effectively gaining recognition. Being able to have an optimistic outlook on negative situations is what allows people to make it through rough stretches of life. Optimism does not mean being happy about bad things happening, it is looking to find the good that comes out of those negative events occurring. Optimism is one of many important personality traits that people need to get through trying times, but intelligence is another trait that is necessary. It may sound odd that intelligence is a key to getting through difficult situations, but it is. Intelligence is defined as the ability to learn, understand, or adapt to difficult or trying situations.

This means being able to make logical assumptions, but also not letting his or her’s judgement be clouded by circumstantial events. Malala Yousafzai is, by these standards, a very intelligent human being, and she displayed this in her demeanor when the Taliban took over her Swat Valley, when she was shot, when she was recovering from being shot, and when she speaks internationally on girls’ education. One of her more famous quotes on girls’ education is, “Let us remember: one book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.” Malala would not let her judgment be clouded, despite sometimes being very angry with the Taliban situation in Pakistan. She was able to channel her frustrations, and adapt to use her outrage to write speeches, and be a proponent of girls’ education. She started an international campaign as form of protest to the Taliban’s action of prohibiting girls over age 10 to go to school.

Intelligence is more than just how “smart” a person is. It’s how he or she reacts under pressure, and if that person can make logical assumptions under difficult or arduous conditions. Intelligence is a crucial point of a person’s personality in the face of adversity, but so is having integrity. Integrity measures a person’s grace under exceedingly intense pressure, and is defined as having moral-correctness, or moral-rightness. While touring all over the world promoting her book, or her movie, Malala Yousafzai has possessed the asset of integrity. Her speeches, and discussions with global leaders like president Barack Obama were a result of her possession of integrity.

Despite being gunned down by the Taliban, Malala wrote this in her book, I am Malala, “My only regret was that I hadn’t had the chance to speak to [the man] before [he] shot me. Now they’d never hear what I had to say. I didn’t even think a single bad thought about the man who shot me…” (282) Malala possesses integrity, and the ability to forgive, which many people should learn and acquire. Forgiveness is a form of accepting a set of circumstances, and not allowing the circumstances to affect a person. Forgiveness is a part of what goes into integrity.

Integrity is not just winning with grace, it’s also losing with class. Forgiveness is power over the person who committed the infringement. Malala knows how to do both, and that is why she possesses so much integrity. She has morals and standards that allow her to make her own decisions and judgment in the world. Integrity is perhaps one of the hardest skills to acquire, because it comes with age and experience.

Personalities are what create so many differences between humans. People’s different personality aspects dictate how they will perform in society each and every day, even through trying times. Certain traits within a personality allow it to endure tough times and come out unscathed, and perhaps even stronger. Theses facets of a personality are mental strength, optimism, intelligence, and integrity. These traits allow people to be resilient within difficult situations, and Malala Yousafzai is a person who exemplifies each of these characteristics. She went through so many hardships when the Taliban took over her homeland, yet she endured, and she is now stronger than ever, and travels the world speaking about girls’ education, and womens’ rights.

The previously mentionedcharacteristics of a strong personality are what Malala possesses, and are what have allowed her to reach where she is today, and to continue to grow as a person. What defines a person is not how they react during good times, but how they react during tough times.