Nick Vujicic : Overcoming Hopelessness
Nick Vujicic is a motivational speaker born with tetra-amelia syndrome, a rare disorder characterized by the absence of all four limbs, talks about the importance of parenting in early childhood and its significance in overcoming hopelessness.
Thank you very much. Guys, my name is Nick Vujicic, I was born in Australia in 1982, moved from Australia to California in the year 2006. And my life story — I’m just thankful that people have seen my life on some sort of level — whether it’s just YouTube videos or seeing pictures of a limbless guy smile.
You know, people always ask me you know, what happened to you and how did you overcome what you’ve been through? The title of the message that I’ve been given is “Transforming the walls into doors“. When I speak corporately, the line that I like to use is “changing obstacles into opportunities“.
Now, I am very well aware to share with you as well. I know that there are a billion people going hungry today. I know that this year, a million people will commit suicide. That is one every seconds. I know today there are million slaves and I’ve met sex slaves, and I’ve seen the top of the pyramid as far as business and met the billionaires. I’ve met bankers and I’ve also met orphans.
We’re all looking for something. We’re all looking for hope. Hope you can’t just have just because you were born with hope. No, we’re born with pain. We’re born and live through difficulties.
In our life — my parents always taught me that even though we don’t know why I was born this way, that we have a choice. Either to be angry for what we don’t have or be thankful for what we do have. The power of that choice was the first thing that I had to overcome and decide for myself, especially in the early years of school.
A lot of kids would come up to me and tease me. And I have been speaking at 5 congresses,
I’ve met 7 presidents all around the world. My largest crowd was 110,000, I have 30,000 invitations for me to speak. So wherever I go, I talk about the value of life, I talk about anti-bullying messages for the school systems in different nations.
The greatest thing is love. When we feel like we don’t have enough love and we don’t have enough hope, we start losing strength to live. For me in my life as a child, I had a big wall. I was surrounded by four walls and a low ceiling of opportunity. I was set free in so many different ways and especially surviving from day to day with my parents who loved me, who encouraged me, who told me that I was beautiful the way that I was and not to worry about what other people said about me.
I was actually the first special needs child to be integrated into the mainstream education system in Australia and I was awarded Young Citizen of the Year in 1990. And the world is a hurting place and the world needs hope and world needs love. Without hope, we feel like, ‘Why are we here?’
Well, brokenness. Here’s mine. Today, I still have no arms and no legs, but everything’s changed. Everything. For me, I was looking for hope and happiness and I couldn’t see it for many years. In fact, if this side of the table represents my hope, truth encourages me to become all that I can be. But then we have lies, everyday, coming in our mind, people who discourage us.
You know the people that you have in your life who, no matter how good of a day you’re having, they’ll bring you down? Or no matter how bad of a day you’re having, they’ll bring you even lower? You know what I’m talking about?
Think of the 3 biggest discourages in your life. They’re not your biggest discourages. You are. You are. It only takes seconds for me to tell you something discouraging but then, you may never forget my words.
I’ve met so many 50-year-old women and 40-year-old women who still remember what their fathers told them that they wish they’d never heard. Words are powerful. And when you hear those words and then your mind starts growing with these lies. “Nick, you’re not good enough, Nick just give up, Nick you’ll never get a job”, “You won’t get married, you can’t even hold your wife’s hand”. “What kind of a father are you going to be if you can’t even pick up your kids when they’re crying?” You’re alone. Sure, your parents hug you. But their hugs can’t heal you. Just give up. Just give up. Just give up….
At age 8 I thought that I should commit suicide. Why? Because I didn’t have hope. I thought I didn’t have hope. Today you can see that I had hope. What’s the word, believing in something you do not see? Faith.
Words can only do so much. Hugs can do much more than words, but when hugs can’t do anything, that’s where faith kicks in. For me, words and hugs were not enough, but I had no faith. So I tried to give up. At age 10, I tried to drown myself in 6 inches, or 15 centimeters of water, in my home. I told my dad I just wanted to relax, but really, I wanted to end my life. I had enough. I had enough. Ok?
The first two times I rolled over. I was trying to work out how much air I hold in my lungs before I let it out. And the third time, in my mind, knowing that I wanted to get out of here, because of the bullying in my life, because I was going to be a burden to my parents and I had nothing to look forward to. I realized at that moment that if I actually went through with committing suicide, I would leave a greater burden for my parents than they already had.
Still there was one thing less… sorry, there was one thing less hopeful or more burdensome than having a child without limbs. What is it? A child without limbs who gives up. So when I saw in my mind my mom and my dad and my brother crying at my grave if I went through with it, that one thought saved me.
If my parents never told me that I was beautiful the way I was. If my parents never told me that I was special and that I was loved, I wouldn’t be here today. So I encourage every single parent who tries their best to encourage their teenagers, especially in the West, many teenagers put a ‘do not disturb’ sign on their door. I’m sure, you know, the conversations all around the world between a parent and a teenager: How was school? – Fine. – What did you learn? – Nothing. – Did you do your homework? – No. And that’s the conversation for the day.
And when you try to tell your children that they’re beautiful, they say, “Of course I’m beautiful, I’m your son, your daughter, of course you’re going to say that”. But they’re right. Every single human being has value and my value is not determined on how I look or what job I have, or where I’m from, where I was born, how much money, all that stuff is nothing.
So many teenagers, you know, tease each other for how we look and I tell the teenagers, “Do you think that I’m cool enough to be your friend?” And they’re like, “Yeah, of course”. I say, “But I have no arms and no legs”, and they say, “Doesn’t matter.” And I say, “Really? So it doesn’t matter that I have no arms and no legs?” They say, no, it doesn’t matter. I say then, “Actually, if it doesn’t matter, then why do we kill each other with our words, if it actually doesn’t matter?” Why do we look ourselves in the mirror and see ugly instead of valuable?
I want to ask you today, what are you looking for? If I gave you a billion dollars, would you be happy? If you gave me a billion dollars, I’d be very happy. But then if my mom dies tonight, am I happy? No. With all the money in the world, I’d never be happy. Right? Because money is something that cannot heal the soul.
So many teenagers are looking for love which, love does heal the soul, love does complete the soul. But even sex before marriage, I was a virgin before I got married. Yeah, I’ve got a gorgeous wife, we’re pregnant with our first son. And I don’t need hands to hold her hand. I only want to hold her heart.
And you know, how am I going to hug my kid? So many kids that come up to me, it’s amazing. They put their hands behind their back and hug me with their neck. And I’ve realized in life, even the worst parts of my life can be turned into good. And even more special.
So many teenagers are looking for love so they are going to go do this, and go do that and have sex before marriage. For me, sex out of marriage is like a 5 dollar Gucci watch. Sex within marriage and having sex with someone who loves you, who is committed to you for the rest of your life, going to be the mother or father of your kids, that’s what love is. You can sleep with as many people as you like but never know for sure, “Do they love me?”
Love is a life-long commitment. You see, there are choices in life. And we’re looking. I want to ask you, what are you looking for? If I can just drunk, why not, man? I’ll only live once. Well, if that’s the way you believe, great. But for me, I’m a greedy man, I don’t want to live for years. I want to live for billions of years. And I know that every day, my choices will affect this life, other people’s life and my eternal life.
You got to come to the truth of knowing who you are and why you’re here. William Barkley, he said, the greatest two days in anyone’s life — they day you were born, and the day you knew why.
So, “Uh, you’re ugly”. No, I’m beautiful the way that I am and if you can’t believe that for yourself, so many girls, specially, stay with their emotionally abusive boyfriends because, “If I break up with him, then who is going to want me?” See, we all want love.
That’s why we do what we do sometimes. To get into the crowd — I am going to swear, I am going to be cool — that’s what this world is — “I want to look like her, I want to like… if I was taller, shorter, smarter, more popular” — whatever you want, it’s not enough… Until you find the truth. I’m wonderfully and faithfully made. There is a greater purpose for my life. I am here for a reason.
Sure, I didn’t get a miracle. Yeah, I believe in a God who can do miracles and I have a pair of shoes in my closet. Why? I’ve seen blind people seeing and deaf people hearing. That’s fine if you don’t believe me, I’ve got it on camera. But I realized something. If God doesn’t change my circumstance, he’s going to use my life to be a miracle for someone else. When you don’t get a miracle, you can still be a miracle for someone else.
I’m going to close off with this beautiful story.
I was in Southern California — I have organizations, a non-profit organization and I have a for-profit. I probably spoke between years 2007 and 2010, 1000 times, 600 flights. And I’ve spoken to 4.5 million people face to face and in the last 48 hours here in Serbia, we’ve reached 5 million through media. So, we have the heart of people to love others. We want people to love each other, love yourself dream big and never give up.
We are all looking for hope, aren’t we? What are you looking for? Money, drugs, sex, alcohol, pornography, fame, fortune. Never satisfies. It’s never enough. But I have come to peace, so check this out.
When I’m 24 years old, 5-6 years ago, I was in California. And I’d never met anybody else like me. When I was 10 years old, I wished I would have met somebody like me. Never did, didn’t get that miracle. But at 24, in California, I saw a little boy with no arms and no legs, 19 months old, just like me.
I knew he was going to be bullied, he was going to go through depression, he would feel alone, I knew that he would get worried if he’s ever going to have a girlfriend and so on, and so on. I got the father to bring him up on stage in front of 2000 people. And everyone was crying. And it was a materialization of when you don’t get a miracle, you can be a miracle for someone else.
I am not a superhero, I go through ups and downs, so do you. But take one day at a time and if you haven’t found that piece of knowing who you are and why you’re here and where you’re going when you’re not here. For me, I want you to know that’s how I’ve overcome.
I don’t have any walls. My book’s called “Life without limits” and what will be, will be. I’ve acted in a short film, 30 awards. I got best actor in a short film. I’ve done my own music video.
I’ve written 2 books, first book — 30 languages, 800,000 copies. I’m 29 and we know a billion people know who I am.
Not to bring out my pride or my name or my status, trust me, I’m just like you. But I hope you are inspired to know that if I can dream big, then so can you. There are no walls. Find your peace and you’ll make your walls doors. Thank you so much.