Dubai: For a man who was born without arms and legs, Nick Vujicic has come a long way. So when the 33-year-old internationally renowned motivational speaker from Australia visits the UAE later this month, his inspirational talks – organised by training specialists Trainings.Today - are expected to be a rare treat.
As Vujicic explains, his condition tetra-amelia syndrome is a birth defect in which a baby is born with no arms or legs for no medical reason. But ironically in his one-in-a-million case, it was this disorder that taught him the most valuable lesson in life: “No matter what sickness we have, a greater purpose can be achieved.”
Vujicic recalls how the reality of his condition struck him when he was six. Although different from others, he went to a mainstream school in Melbourne where he was bullied for not having any arms or legs. “I was depressed as a kid, at one stage I tried to end my life at the age of 10, but because of the love of my family I decided not to. My parents helped me to be thankful for what I have, to do my best and trust God with the rest.”
Vujicic can’t stress the importance of hope enough. “Yes, I was mad at God and blamed him for my lack of limbs and the fact He didn’t seem to care. I thought he’d forgotten me because he didn’t answer me or miraculously give me limbs. I also felt angry because of being bullied in school, experiencing a lot of negative attention and feeling like I was a burden to my parents.”
But when he was 17, his school janitor, who had seen him go through difficult times, told him he would become a speaker in the future. “I thought he was crazy. He invited me to speak in front of a small group of students, and they were touched. Then I found myself in front of 300 students sharing my story, and one girl came up and thanked me crying, 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.”
He recollects how he met a man who was dying of Lou Gehrig’s Disease two years later. “After five years of suffering, he didn’t complain. He made a website to inspire people who were bedridden never to give up. And I realised that even if you don’t get a miracle, you can still be a miracle for someone else.”
In his talks, Vujicic generally focuses on self-esteem and the need to dream big, find a purpose and never give up. His own dream, he lets on, is “to inspire 100 million to 400 million people to give $10 a month to help feed the hungry and provide for people in need.”
Married with a son Kiyoshi, he says he met his wife Kanae at a speaking engagement in Dallas, Texas. “It was love at first sight. I realised that because of her love, I don’t need to be a perfect person to find perfect love. She is my miracle … The biggest test for us during our courting period was when I went through a personal financial crisis and saw her commitment to stand by my side no matter what …”
As for the upcoming events in the UAE, he says, “Students who are not motivated will not learn effectively. It is very essential for them to spark passion and kindle hope in order to be able to set goals and then go ahead and achieve them … We would want the audience to know how to draw on their inner strength and instigate positive change — both in themselves and in those around them.”
November 17: An event titled ‘Attitude to Live with Nick Vujicic’ for students aged 13-plus. From 10am-1pm
November 18: Event titled ‘Night of Hope with Nick Vujicic’ for general public at The Dome, Dubai Sports City.From 7 to 9pm.