Life isn’t always roses. There have been times for me, as I am sure there have for you, when everything seemed just too hard.
I have lost those I did not think I could live without; and there was a time when I was so burdened by a sense of guilt that I could barely function.
There were other moments when I have clung to that one last long shot that would bring about reprieve; then that fell over too.
I have known acute failure.
There have been times I looked in the shaving mirror and muttered: ‘You suck.’
But this is nowhere near as bad as it gets.
Whenever I am tempted to feel sorry for myself, or I feel like giving up, I take a look at this guy:
Nick was born with Tetra-amelia syndrome, a rare disorder that left him without all four limbs. He does however have two toes and a foot – he calls it his ‘flipper.’
As a child he was prevented from enrolling at a mainstream school because of his disability. When he was finally allowed entrance he was very badly bullied and struggled with loneliness and depression.
At 8 he contemplated suicide. At 10 he tried to drown himself in his bath.
But one day his mother showed him a newspaper article about someone else who had overcome a severe disability and he realized he wasn’t alone in his struggle.
Inspired, he learned to write using his only toes and even used to learn a computer keyboard. He then taught himself to get a glass of water, comb his hair, brush his teeth and shave.
By grade seven (11 years old) he was elected captain of the school.
At 17 he started his own non-profit organization, Life Without Limbs. At 21 he graduated with a double major in accounting and financial planning.
He now runs a new organization in California called Attitude is Altitude. He presents motivational speeches like this one to corporations, church congregations and schools right around the world.
He retains a wicked sense of humour. (“This boy came up to me and goes ‘WHAT HAPPENED!?’ I go, ‘CIGARETTES!’ “)
He likes to embrace his audience physically as well as emotionally: If you leave here without a hug, I’m going to run after you. And if you run fast, I’m gonna get someone to throw me at you.
I hope you, too, find some measure of inspiration in the life of Steve Vujitic.