The Winning Attitude

“Two men look out through the same bars: One sees mud, and the other stars.”
— Frederick Langbridge

I love this quote because it very simply portrays how attitude can change everything – our outlook, our perception of a situation and our actions. WEBO Power is a tribute to all women who wholeheartedly embrace the attitude to excel, the attitude to work for the larger good of society and the attitude to never give up in the face of obstacles. Three extraordinary women who exemplify this very attitude are –Aung San Suu Kyi, the charismatic Burmese Opposition Democratic party leader; Wangari Maathai, the late Kenyan environmentalist and founder of the Green Belt Movement & Shirin Ebadi, an Iranian lawyer and founder of the Defenders of Human Rights Center in Iran. All three are winners of the prestigious Nobel Peace prize, but more importantly, these women share a passion for justice, welfare of society and a winning attitude.

Burma’s pro-democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has become the symbol of the Burmese people’s struggle for freedom. Aung San Suu Kyi is the daughter of Burma’s independence hero, Aung San, who was assassinated when she was just two years old. Since 1989, Suu Kyi has spent more than 15 years in detention, most of these under house arrest. However, in spite of the detention and enforced isolation by the militarist Burmese government, Suu Kyi spirit of justice, zest for life and sense of humour remains intact. Once a journalist asked her if it was difficult to live in a confined space. Suu Kyi promptly replied, “The house is quite big!” Suu Kyi is a prolific writer, an avid reader and a devout Buddhist. During her period of isolation, she wrote extensively, read many books, played the piano and drew sustenance from Buddhist meditation. Though the military government told Suu Kyi that if she agreed to leave the country, they would free her, she refused to do so, insisting that her struggle would continue until the junta restored the civilian government and political prisoners were released. In 1990, a parliamentary election was held, Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy, won more than 80 percent of the parliamentary seats. In her now famous ‘Freedom from Fear’ speech Suu Kyi states, “It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.”

Suu Kyi’s firm belief that even one person can make a significant change in society is truly embodied by the life of the founder of the Green Belt Movement, the late Dr. Wangari Maathai. When Dr. Maathai returned to Kenya from the US where she was studying biological science, she was shocked to see that the natural environment around her home had deteriorated significantly. With an increased focus on profits, farmers were cutting down forests to plant cash crops. She discovered that landslides had become rampant, due to which clean drinking water had become scarce and women in particular were facing problems caused by environmental degradation. Dr. Maathai was convinced that, “solutions to most of our problems must come from us.” She launched in her local community a tree plantation drive that would develop into the Green Belt Movement. Since then, 40 million trees have been planted in Africa and as part of the global tree plantation campaign 12.5 billion trees have been planted throughout the world. Dr. Maathai’s life-long attitude was that one must not fall into despair and feel helpless; rather we can feel empowered and change our environment for the better. Her everlasting legacy is encapsulated in her passionate declaration, “We are called to assist the Earth to heal her wounds.”

Shirin Ebadi, an Iranian lawyer and former judge, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003 for her ground-breaking efforts to promote democracy and human rights, especially for women and children.
She was the first Iranian and the first Muslim woman to receive the award. Ms Ebadi’s forthright campaigns have often brought her into conflict with the Iranian government and the country’s conservative clerics. However, she burns with a passionate sense of justice and she is known for taking up pro bono cases of dissident figures who have earned the disfavour of the judiciary. Ebadi has also defended various child abuse cases and some cases dealing with bans of periodicals. In addition to being an internationally-renowned advocate of human rights, she has also established many non-governmental organizations in Iran, including the Million Signatures Campaign, a campaign demanding an end to legal discrimination against women in Iranian law. Ebadi declares, “Any person who pursues human rights in Iran must live with fear from birth to death, but I have learned to overcome my fear.” Ms Ebadi’s action-oriented attitude to life is evident from her statement, “It’s not just about hope and ideas. It’s about action.”

Suu Kyi’s says, “Saints, it has been said, are the sinners who go on trying. So free men are the oppressed who go on trying and who in the process make themselves fit to bear the responsibilities and to uphold the disciplines which will maintain a free society.”

These three Nobel laureates and remarkable women have proved that if you have a spirit to persevere and a winning attitude no mountain is too high and no challenge is too big to conquer.

At WEBO Power we believe that every dream deserves a chance to be fulfilled, no matter how arduous the path may be. If you have a lofty dream and a winning attitude, then the sky is the limit. Write to us about your dream project/ business idea and as part of our ‘One Large Dream’ campaign, we will select the best business idea and help to make your dreams a reality.

Source(s) :,1081.0.html

Posted By: Supriya Mathur, Team WEBO
Illustration By: Shally Tayal, Team WEBO
Posted On: December 4, 2012

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