Musharaf Asghar is a teenager who appeared in the Channel Four documentary Educating Yorkshire, a program which follows the teachers and students of Thornhill Academy in Northern England. While many of the students in the documentary have faced battles with their education, Musharaf Asghar, also known as Mushy, was different because his struggle through high school was all down to a speech impediment.
Mushy’s stammer left him as a target for bullies and severely impacted his confidence levels. The result? He skipped school to avoid embarrassment, bullying and confrontation. His attendance levels were appalling at just 34% and he was desperate to leave school.
When two of his teachers suggested that Mushy deliver a speech on the final day of school, after the exams, nobody was more surprised than Mushy. However, with the help and guidance of one of his teachers, Mr Burton, Mushy applied himself and worked hard. Mr Burton suggested using techniques depicted by the film The King’s Speech to help him deliver his presentation, and in a moving moment caught on camera the idea worked perfectly.
Musharaf’s incredible and touching speech was delivered in front of his classmates and teachers, reducing them to tears. However, Mushy’s influence doesn’t stop there. His determination in overcoming the speech impediment which has plagued him for years has inspired thousands of people to work on their own battles and overcome their own personal hurdles, whether they’re teenagers at school who are nervous of speaking in front of the class, or adults in the workplace who have issues holding them back on the career ladder.
So, what can Mushy teach us?
Believe in yourself.
If you don’t believe in yourself, you can’t expect anyone else to. The first step in overcoming a problem is to know that you have the power to change that problem.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Mushy went through private sessions with his teacher Mr Burton, who had the genius idea of getting Musharaf to read his speech aloud whilst listening to music. If you have a problem in the workplace, then speak up and ask for advice or assistance. There’s no shame in it.
Whilst Mushy was prepared and ready to make his speech, it took all the bravery he could muster to stand up and talk in front of 200 of his fellow pupils. Remember, everyone feels nervous sometimes - it’s perfectly natural.
It was very moving how Mushy remembered to thank his teacher and friends for their support. When you conquer whatever issue may be holding you back at work or in your personal life, remember to show how grateful you are for the people who got you there.
If you’re ready to feel inspired then make sure you watch Musharaf’s journey. You might want to have some tissues ready.