“Change can only happen if you believe in yourself,” she told her virtual audience, encouraging them to challenge themselves and step out of their comfort zone.“This (life) journey is about changing yourself and becoming a better human being. With that, everything else will follow. Although life changes are inevitable, you can initiate personal change to rise to the challenge and become a better person.” Datin Sri Umayal referenced the Foundation’s clarion call to “Raise Yourself to Help Mankind” (RYTHM), words inspired by the Group’s icon Mahatma Gandhi.
“RYTHM urges you to raise yourself first, then help mankind. We are always looking at problems and trying to be someone else because we underestimate ourselves. That must stop because that is what change is about.”The stark realities she has seen through the Foundation’s work in many underserved communities worldwide have compelled Datin Sri Umayal to re-evaluate her perception of challenges. “I have seen parents who can’t afford to give their children breakfast in the morning before they go to school. The children can’t focus on school because they have not eaten. My problems are not as big as what they go through every day,” she shared. “If you think you have bigger problems, volunteer with the Foundation. Look at the real difficulties people face for just one meal a day.” She regarded empathy as the basis for kindness and understanding that would help people understand the needs, experiences, and feelings of others.
“The last three years of the pandemic have taught us to be better humans, to have compassion and empathy for one another. We cannot be empty vessels thinking only about ourselves.”Datin Sri Umayal considers herself “an ordinary person. I did not pick up success from a table, walk past it, and say, ‘I made it.’ I had to go through the same path you are going through.” In our lives, we also face challenges that test our emotional mettle. “Every day, life is going to throw everything possible at you. It is easy to take 20 steps behind, but it is tough to take two steps forward.”
She told the audience that while life’s travails could get them down, “face challenges and welcome them. Have the fighting spirit and fight the challenges because life is worth all that.”Watch highlights of Datin Sri Umayal’s inspiring address in the video below: