Life will give you millions of reasons to give up. Either you perform poorly on a test or you get rejected from your dream job–moments of failure will constantly tempt you to call it quits and change course. This is not the case for Muniba Mazari, a 30-year-old paraplegic known as the Iron Lady of Pakistan.
Mazari met with an untimely car accident when she was 21 after her husband fell asleep behind the wheel. The spinal cord injury sustained from the accident left Muniba paralyzed waist down. While hospitalized, the beloved Iron Lady was given bad news daily. Before the accident, Mazari was a housewife who once had aspirations to become an artist. After the accident, doctors told her that her wrist and arm were too deformed for her to even hold a pen. Muniba remained quiet as she heard the news.
A day later the doctors informed her that she would never be able to walk again. Muniba accepted her fate, took a deep breath, and moved on. The next day she was told that her spine injury would permanently prevent her from giving birth. Muniba was devastated after receving this news, and her resolute spirit began conceding to her injuries. At that moment, Muniba questioned the point of her life as she asked, “Why me?”
In response, Muniba’s mother assured her that despite all the setbacks, this too shall pass. At this vulnerable point in her life, Muniba learned the power of words. From that moment on, Muniba strived to only use positive words in her life. In her BBC Top 100 Influential Women speech, she embraced,
They call it ‘adversity’, I call it ‘opportunity’.
They call it ‘weakness’, I call it ‘strength’.
They call me ‘disabled’, I call myself ‘differently abled’.
They see my disability, I see my ability.
This renewed positive outlook on life moved Muniba to become featured in the BBC 100 Women for 2015 and Forbes 30 under 30 for 2016. She has also appeared in several modeling campaigns and now serves as the National Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women Pakistan.
Muniba attributes a large portion of her accomplishments to her spinal cord injury. Before the car accident, Muniba lived as a housewife trapped in an unhappy marriage. After the car accident, Muniba’s injuries forced her to face several moments of despair and failure. However, something as seemingly minute as words motivated Muniba to turn her entire life around and use her injuries as a platform to inspire others around the world. The Iron Lady of Pakistan preaches,
They always say that failure is not option. Failure should be an option because when you fail you get up, and then you fail, and then you get up, and that keeps you going. That’s how humans are strong. Failure is an option, should be an option, but giving up is not. Never.
So the next time you fail in life be like Muniba Mazari and get up, keep moving, and NEVER give up.