Wednesday, November 9, 2016

I Am Malala

I Am Malala

By Malala Yousafzai

“God, give me the strength and courage and make me perfect because I want to make this world perfect.”

This is the belief of a 15-year-old from Pakistan that she could make a lasting impact on the rights for girls to receive an education. Malala is more influential in fighting against terrorists like the Taliban than any politician in the world. In a country filled with Islamophobia, many people cannot understand the difference between a Muslim and a terrorist member. Malala is an inspiration because she has shown the world that a real Muslim is peaceful and is meant to make the world a better place.

The Quran teaches-patience-but often it feels that we have forgotten the word and think Islam means women sitting at home in purdah (female seclusion) or wearing burqas while men do jihad.”

In an environment of constant conflict, Malala attempted to show that radical men like the Taliban do not represent what Islam truly is. In her home in Pakistan, the Taliban harassed her father for running a school that allowed girls to go to school. They harassed men wearing western style clothes and even snatched female mannequins from clothing shops. While these foolish men focused on destruction, she focused on improving her environment.

“The Quran says we should seek knowledge, study hard and learn the mysteries of our world.”

Malala first gained notoriety by corresponding with the BBC by writing a diary describing life under the Taliban.  She went by the pen name, Gul Makai, in order to protect her identity. As her reputation grew, she became a target for the Taliban. Two young men got on her school bus one day and said, “Who is Malala.” Followed by three gunshots. One bullet had passed through her forehead.

“I told myself, Malala, you have already faced death. This is your second life. Do not be afraid.”

After recovering in England, the sight of groups of men would frighten her. Yet her heart was stronger than her fear. Her desire for peace in Pakistan and for the education of girls outweighed her fear. She had a purpose beyond being “the girl who was shot by the Taliban.” Now,  Malala has become the most influential spokesperson for education in the world.

In the Quran it is written, God wants us to have knowledge. He wants us to know why the sky is blue and about oceans and stars.”

Malala was accused by some of seeking fame and a life of luxury abroad. Yet her impact is more powerful that any politician, more powerful than any soldier, and her passion for girl’s rights for education is unquestionably genuine.


Personally, I am not religious, but I cannot help but feel admiration for this young woman’s faith in God. People throughout history have used their religious beliefs to spread hate, but Malala has used her faith to spread peace and love. It’s no surprise she is the youngest Nobel Peace Prize recipient in history. Her book displays how passionate she is for education. Her pure heart to help others and her sincerity is so refreshing in an era where most people are consumed with themselves.

Once I had asked God for one or two extra inches in height, but instead he made me as tall as the sky.”


R. Schulz

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

To Learn the Samurai Way

Based On:

The Book of Five Rings

By Miyamoto Musashi

Even though this was written for Samurai warriors in the 15th century the Book of Five Rings shows the way to learn and master your craft. Learning how to learn is a skill that few have. The ego gets in the way. People often lack the humility to say, “I don’t know how to do this.” As a result, they master nothing. While most of us are not Samurai warriors, we all need to learn how to practice and work consistently in the era of instant gratification

The Way of the Warrior

“The teacher is as a needle; the disciple is as thread. You must practice constantly”

Good leaders and good followers cannot exist without one another. As a learner, drop the ego and learn from the master to improve your craft. Not just working hard but working consistently.

Likewise, the master has more responsibilities, especially if he has multiple followers. He must be aware of his people’s morale and find out how to challenge his students without putting too much pressure on them.


“Train day and night in order to make quick decisions. In strategy, it is necessary to treat training as part of normal life.”

People in our culture tend to give up quickly when they don’t see immediate results. Musashi teaches that you must constantly beat on your craft, see your art in every aspect of life, and practice to the point where it becomes instinct.

The Way to Learn

“It seems difficult at first, but everything is difficult at first...As you become accustomed to the bow so your pull will become stronger.”

Most of us tend to give up immediately when things get hard. The damn ego convinces us to feel sorry for ourselves or to make excuses why things get uncomfortable. Musashi says that everything seems hard. Don’t just work hard, work consistently and patiently with the intent of mastery.

Increase Your Arsenal

“You should not have a favorite weapon. To become over-familiar with one weapon is as much a fault as not knowing it sufficiently well.”

Developing one style makes you one dimensional. Musashi isn’t saying that you should master multiple crafts. He is saying that mastery is continuing to improve in your own field of study.

One example that comes to mind is Michael Jordan. In the 1980’s people thought he was just a dunker that couldn’t pass, shoot, or play defense. As a result, Jordan mastered every aspect of the game. In 1988, he even became the NBA defensive player of the year. Master your craft by becoming skillful in every aspect of it.

Spiritual Bearing in Strategy

“Both in fighting and in everyday life you should be determined through calm. Meet the situation without tenseness yet not recklessly, your spirit settled yet unbiased.”

This is the killer instinct. That mind state of pure focus on the task at hand. Not getting over hyped or consumed by timidity. Get in that zone where all you can think is, “I’m about to kill this motherfucker.”

Mountain-Sea Change

“The mountain-sea spirit means that it is bad to repeat the same thing several times when fighting the enemy.”

You are never predictable. You must become formless like water. That is why being one-dimensional is so dangerous

Way to Win

The way of strategy is straight and true. You must chase the enemy around and make him obey your spirit.”

In other words, make your enemy play your game. Become the standard in which others hope to match. An example is when a runner runs at the speed of the other runners rather than trying to surpass all of them. Or in an argument with a fool, do not stoop to his level, let your actions speak volumes.


“The master of strategy does not appear fast…when your opponent is hurrying recklessly, you must act contrarily and keep calm.”

This doesn’t mean you should be slow, rather you must be precise. In any area of life, be consistent and be masterful.


We live in a culture of instant gratification. It hard for people to wait patiently for their own goals to become fulfilled. Have the humility to learn and the consistency to improve daily you can achieve mastery in due time. Don’t listen to your ego because it will give you excuses to quit. Mastery and success both come gradually.

-R. Schulz