Overcoming the odds with life’s greater purpose
Australian Nicholas James Vujicic was born with a rare disorder that left him without any arms or legs.
But Vujicic, 35, has not let his condition stop him from living a full life. The motivational speaker has been traveling across the world to inspire people with his story of not losing hope, caring for others and achieving what they set out to do.
Vujicic’s experience is also touching more Chinese lives. For the past decade, he has given speeches in seven cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, Guangdong province. Vujicic even maintains an account on Chinese micro-blogging website Sina Weibo to stay engaged with his fans and offer his inspiring ideas through video clips.
“Through this way, I can see what Chinese people, especially those who are still quite young, are facing now, and their thoughts,” says Vujicic.
He has posted more than 50 videos since May, based on topics raised by his fans, including methods of coping with stress during high school exams. The latest efforts have helped add to the millions of views that his posts attract worldwide.
“It’s great to interact with people,” says Vujicic. “That’s one of the good things about technology. You can make a difference from a distance but really make it feel close.”
In September, he spoke in Shanghai, Shenzhen, Shenyang and Chengdu.
“This is my 11th trip to China,” he says. “Some Chinese audiences are reserved while others can get quite excited. One thing that I love about Chinese audiences is that everyone listens.”
When he was in Shanghai speaking to 25,000 people in a stadium earlier this year, everyone was full of energy the whole time he spoke, he says.
During the last few minutes of his speech, Vujicic had everyone stand up and repeat with him, “I will do my best to love myself and everyone else, and to dream big”.
“I understand sometimes it is hard for Chinese people to talk to one another or say out loud, even to themselves, their love and thanks,” he says. “I want the audience to remember that special interaction, and if only one person is impacted, my job is done.”
During his speeches this year, Vujicic was also surprised to see a group of performers with disabilities dancing on stage and sharing their skills and talent.
“I am happy to know other people who have overcome disabilities and obstacles. They can show the young people in China that they can overcome difficulties as well.”
Vujicic, born in Melbourne, Australia, is one of seven known surviving individuals in the world who live with tetra-amelia syndrome. He was born with the toes of one foot fused. After an operation, he could use them like fingers to grab, turn a page, or perform other functions. He is now able to use his foot to operate an electric wheelchair, a computer and a mobile phone. He has traveled to 67 countries to give speeches.
Vujicic lives with his wife, Kanae, whom he married in 2012, in southern California. They have two sons and are expecting twin girls.
His first book, Life Without Limits: Inspiration for a Ridiculously Good Life, was published seven years ago and has since been translated into more than 30 languages. He also has a motivational DVD, Life’s Greater Purpose.
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