Over­com­ing the odds with life’s greater pur­pose

China Daily (Canada) - - YOUTH - By CHINA DAILY in Shang­hai

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.

Con­tact the writer at caochen@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.