No arms, no legs... no worries says inspirational speaker Nick
Dubai - He has not only learnt to live happily without limbs, but has accomplished more than most people achieve in a lifetime.
By Saman Haziq
Published: Tue 15 Nov 2016, 11:00 PM
Last updated: Wed 16 Nov 2016, 12:25 PM
Born without hands and legs due to a rare congenital disorder, Nicholas could have complained of having no purpose or motivation to live life. Yet his life is more joyful and more fulfilling than most able-bodied people you know. Nick has not only learnt to live happily without limbs, but has accomplished more than most people achieve in a lifetime, becoming everything - and much more - he thought only normal people with limbs could do. He is an author, a musician, a husband, father, successful entrepreneur and world-famous motivational speaker. He is Nick Vujicic. Ahead of his UAE tour that commences on Wednesday, Nick shares his story with Khaleej Times about how he motivates, inspires and empowers people around the world with his story and messages of hope.
When did you realise that you were physically different from other children? It must have been tough dealing with bullies at school: how did you deal with it?
Nicholas Vujicic ( Nick) will be holding a talk in Sharjah on November 17 (Thursday) and in Dubai on November 18 (Friday).
If you want to attend his talk then tickets are available on Platinum list.com or you can call 043197545.
It came as a shock to my parents when their first kid was born without limbs. The doctors had no explanation for it and till date, it's a mystery. They call it phocomelia, which means being born without limbs. I was six years old when I first realised I was different, but my parents always loved and encouraged me. I grew up in Melbourne, Australia and attended a mainstream school where I was bullied for not having any arms or legs. This led to depression at one stage, when I was 10, and I tried to end my life, but because of the love of my family, I decided not to. My parents helped me be thankful for what I have, to do my best and to trust God with the rest. I realise now though, that miracles can happen even from broken pieces, because God loves us and has a greater plan for our lives.
How did your family support you in your most difficult times?
They always made me feel loved and cared for. My parents did not treat me different than my siblings, a brother and a sister. I had to do chores around the house to do, and they taught me the importance of hard work and to never give up. My brother assumed the role of being my caretaker at a young age, helping me with everything from bringing me a glass of water, to getting me ready in the mornings. My sister, six years younger, treated me just like a normal sibling. My parents also taught me to have an attitude of gratitude.
It's more than often that we ask "WHY me God"? How did you handle this?
Yes, I blamed God for my lack of limbs. I thought God did not care for me, had forgotten me or was not real, because I did not get answers to my questions or miraculously get limbs. I was also angry from being bullied in school, getting a lot of negative attention, and feeling like a burden on my parents. But at 15, I was fascinated by the story of Jesus Christ, when I read about him healing a blind man and giving him purpose. I don't need arms and legs in life, but I do need meaning, and hope in an eternal life. I asked God to come into my life, take control and reveal his plan for my life.
How and why did you become a motivational speaker?
At age 17, our school janitor witnessed me going through some hard times. After talking and building a friendship with him, he told me that I would become a speaker in the future. At the time, I thought he was crazy! He invited me to speak before a small group of students and they were touched. Then I found myself sharing my story with 300 students; one girl came up crying and thanked me, saying that no one had ever told her she was loved or beautiful. That's when I knew I wanted to share the message of hope and love. The best feeling of being a motivational speaker is that every time you get up in front of an audience, you know that at least one person will be changed forever.
What are the biggest challenges you believe young people face today?
Figuring out their value and purpose in life. In many cases, young people make the problem harder for themselves because they are looking or heading in the wrong direction and seek happiness in the wrong places. For a life of joy and peace, no matter what the circumstances, you have to know that God is with you and all things are possible. I think the biggest fear is about being all alone. But God is with you, and he does have a plan, even if it sometimes takes longer, or takes unexpected paths that lead to a future we can't get a glimpse of from our current position.
You understand what it is like for a child to live with profound disability; what is your advice to parents raising differently-abled children?
Every child is a gift, just wrapped in their unique package. Sometimes, life throws you curveballs, but please, make sure you intentionally plant seeds of love and encouragement in your child's life. Don't give up on your kids and don't have very high expectations from them. Encourage them to dream big, but don't make them feel like what they do is not good enough. Pray for them, be there for them and support them. Focus not on what you can't do, but what you (can) do for you kids.
Who is the biggest inspiration in your life?
When I was 19, I met a man who was dying of Lou Gehrig's disease. Even after five years of constant suffering, he never complained. He made a website to inspire people all over the world who were bedridden to never give up and believe in heaven. I then realised that even if you don't get a miracle in your life, (you) can be a miracle for someone else.
Your message to everyone reading this.
There is hope and greater purpose to your life. Sometimes, it is better to be a miracle for someone else, than to receive a miracle in your circumstances. I honestly didn't think miracles could ever come from my broken pieces, and I was disabled by fear that my dreams would always remain a dream. Don't give up on you. Don't give up on God. Don't give up on love.
What do still have left to accomplish?
I want to try and reach out to people around the world and encourage the next generation to know that they are the most powerful generation to make a positive difference in the world. I want to inspire at least 100 million to 400 million people to give $10 permonth to help feed the hungry and provide for people in need.
The life of nick Vujicic
December 1982: Nick was born in Melbourne, Australia June 1992: After years of teasing and abuse, Nick attempts to drown himself, but a teacher talks him out of committing suicide January 2003: Nick decides to speak out about the depression he faced and how he dealt with it October 2005: Nominated for 'Young Australian of the Year' Award. In 2005, he also established a California-based NGO, Life Without Limbs March 2008: Appears on 20/20, an American television series 2009: Awarded Best Actor in a short film at the Method Film Fest for his role in Butterfly Circus, which also won the Best Short Film award 2010: Writes a book - Life Without Limits: Inspiration for a Ridiculously Good Life - and releases the DVD Biography of a Determined Man of Faith 2011: Speaks at a special session of the World Economic Forum meeting in Switzerland 2012: Marries Kanae Miyahara; the couple has two children. email@example.com