Perseverance: It's How You Finish That Counts

Nick Vijucic was born with no arms and no legs, but he isn’t letting that get him down. Instead, Nick has taken his disability and used it to inspire others to reach for their greatest hopes and dreams.

Nick was born in Brisbane, Australia to Serbian immigrant parents. Doctors were never able to figure out why Nick was born with only the trunk of his body and a foot with two toes on his left side, and his parents spent four years of their lives wondering if they had done something wrong to cause their son’s disability. Nick suffered for longer: the teasing from classmates nearly drove him to suicide. He prayed desperately for arms and legs, becoming angrier about his circumstances with each passing day until a speaker came to his high school. The speaker was orphaned as a young child and spoke about their plight with loneliness, a theme that Nick could identify with. He was particularly inspired by the idea that someone could give others hope by telling their story, so at age 17 he started speaking at school and church-sponsored events. By the age of 19, he had found his calling and was receiving dozens of speaking invitations.

Nick now understands that he couldn’t wait for his life circumstances to change before he found hope, a message he shares with the crowds of teenagers that come to see him speak. Since he cannot avoid the fascination people have with his condition, he has learned to use it to his advantage during his speeches. In fact, he often sits atop a table in the middle of the stage, lending credibility to the fact that Nick has gone through a lot to learn that life is mostly about attitude. That is, in fact, his favorite slogan: “attitude is altitude”, the title of his motivational program to help teenagers deal with their feelings of loneliness and low self-worth. Nick doesn’t purport to perfection, since he still hasn’t stopped occasionally praying for arms and legs, but with his strong faith and good attitude he is in a much better place than he was years ago.

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