Imagine being born without arms and legs. Do you think it could lead to depression? How about anxiety? Do you think you’d have a remarkable sense of humor? I’m not so sure I would. I actually never gave it a thought until I saw a youtube.com video of Nick Vujicic, a motivational speaker, who has needed little more than his head, torso and a great big positive attitude to make a splash on humankind. For this, among other things, I am grateful for youtube.com because I may never have gotten wind of Nick and his brilliance.
While many would have understandably let such circumstances affect their mental health, he has gone out on a limb with his differences to make an even bigger difference all over the world. He could have easily adopted a defeatist position and turned to substance abuse or developed a prescription addiction to numb the pain of what might have otherwise been. Instead, he is grateful. If he can’t motivate you, I say you’re in a heap of trouble. He’s handsome in spite of his missing parts because he doesn’t appear to lack anything. His heart is wide open and the optimism he spreads has a beauty all its own.
On his website---attitudeisaltitude.com---the 30-something says he’s thankful to have been born without arms or legs. “I won’t pretend my life is easy, but through the love of my parents, loved ones, and faith in God, I have overcome my adversity and my life is now filled with joy and purpose.”
The native Australian is married to a woman named Kanae, and together they have a son and live in California. He says his parents were shocked that he was born without limbs because there was no medical explanation for it. He also has a brother and sister, whom he calls his best friends.
“My parents did their very best to keep me in the mainstream school system and gave me every opportunity to live to the fullest,” he writes. “At age eight, I could not see a bright future ahead and I became depressed.” At 10, he attempted to drown himself, but decided against leaving his family with such a burden. Yet, he also says his entire childhood wasn’t ruined by depression, and his outlook improved drastically when at 15 he says, “I sealed my faith in God and from there it has been an amazing journey.”
At 17, he was inspired to speak to small groups about his faith and ability to overcome adversity. When he spoke to a group of 300 high school students, he was nervous. “My knees were shaking,” he writes. “Within the first three minutes of my talk, half the girls were crying, and most of the boys were struggling to hold their emotions together. One girl in particular was sobbing very hard. We all looked at her and she put her hand up. She said, ‘I am so sorry to interrupt, but can I come up and hug you?’ She came and hugged me in front of everyone, and whispered in my ear, ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you. No one has ever told me they loved me and that I am beautiful the way I am.’ “
That moment gave Nick the kick in the pants to travel 44 countries and speak 2,000 times. He realized we all need hope and love and he accepted the gift he had been given to be able to spread that message. Are you crying yet? I’ll bet if you hear and see him, you will. And if that doesn’t open a valve, try reading his book, Unstoppable (Random House, 2012). It’s worth every tear.