Passion – What It Means

It’s Thursday  and I am working from home with the morning television shows on in the background.  All the buzz is about Kanye’s recent appearance on the Jimmy Kimmel Show, and I see several of my friends are posting about it on Facebook.

One friend, whom I greatly respect, held up Kanye’s lengthy monologue as a perfect example of driving passion that should be admired and applauded. In fact, he posted both parts of Kanye’s interview, encouraging us all to watch this “creative genius.”

I have nothing against Kanye. I do like his music and admire the success he has, but I would much rather the news be buzzing about a story my friend Jackie Carlin posted instead – Malala Yousafzai leaving Jon Stewart speechless.

If Malala’s name doesn’t ring a bell, don’t feel too bad. She’s a teenage blogger. However, unlike millions of other bloggers, Malala lives in Pakistan, where she felt compelled to blog about the right for girls to learn to read and write despite the Talban’s moratorium on such education for females.

“I worried the Taliban would behead me,” she has been noted for saying in reference to the public threats the militant group made toward this her.

Well, the Taliban did not behead her. Instead, they stopped her school bus, boarded it, and shot her in the head. She was just 14 years old.

I recently did a presentation on passion and blogging for a cause, and I asked who in the group had heard Malala’s story. Very few hands went up, and it made me sad that this story wasn’t being blasted across the news channels as adamantly as Miley and Kanye. Because, people, let’s face it. As entertainingly snarky as these performers are, the fact stands that they are just that – performers. Entertainers. Pop stars. They get paid millions to do what they do. No one has ever threatened to shoot them in the head to get them to stop. (Well, not seriously at any rate.)

Yes, they are passionate about their music. They are passionate about their stardom. They are passionate about their money and their celebrity. We can probably learn something from their drive, which I think is what my friend was alluding to, but I have an extremely hard time comparing that passion to Malala’s.

Malala did not die the day she was shot in the head. She miraculously survived. And, guess what? Her passion for making her world a better place still continues… she is still blogging for girls’ rights.

When asked by Jon Stewart how she acted when she first heard the Taliban wanted her dead, she responded:

I started thinking about that, and I used to think that the Talib would come, and he would just kill me. But then I said, ‘If he comes, what would you do Malala?’ then I would reply to myself, ‘Malala, just take a shoe and hit him.’  But then I said, ‘If you hit a Talib with your shoe, then there would be no difference between you and the Talib. You must not treat others with cruelty and that much harshly, you must fight others but through peace and through dialogue and through education.’ Then I said I will tell him how important education is and that ‘I even want education for your children as well.’ And I will tell him, ‘That’s what I want to tell you, now do what you want?’

So, yeah, THAT is passion.

Real passion worth admiring.

And that’s why at 16 years old she’s one of the youngest persons to ever be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Please take time to watch the interview: