Cover image from Nick Vujicic's book Unstoppable. / Courtesy of Random House.
Nick Vujicic was born 30 years ago, with no arms or legs. His life has been filled with one hurdle after the next. But you’ll hear no self-pity from Vujicic, whose book, Unstoppable, was published last month. “My limbless challenge remains. I cannot change that,” says Vujicic, who counts sky-diving and surfing among his hobbies. “But what I can — and did — change is my attitude.”
It is Vujicic’s spirit that has made him a sell-out speaker, traveling the world to share his story. Describing low points in his life, including a suicide attempt at age 10 and a failing business in his 20s, he says the “three F’s” are what got him through: friends, family and faith. “I can honestly say, the fear of being alone during the most difficult times in my life was worse than living without arms and legs. ... Hard times make you humble. You realize that you do need people to help you when you are not able to do it all yourself.”
A few years ago, confronted with the mounting business debt, Vujicic says he nearly succumbed to self-destructive thoughts. But he set small goals: Get out of bed, eat breakfast, leave the house. Those small successes built his confidence to move forward to the next level. “There is nothing about failure that is easy,” he says. “But it is also true that our failures in life teach us to embrace every small victory. Success is that much sweeter when you have struggled to reach it.”
Family and friends are a safety net, including wife Kanae who is expecting their first child. “My parents always taught me, ‘You don’t know what you are capable of until you try,’” he recalls. “The first time you fail at anything is painful. But you have a decision: Do you give up or do you try again?”