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  • GUEST: NICK VUJICIC LSS 723 (LENGTH: 26:16)

  • FIRST AIR DATE: 5/27/14

  • When people talk with you for the first time, they're very nervous, and they don't

  • know how to approach you.

  • Right.

  • How do you make it easier for them?

  • Well, you know, like, I sometimes even take advantage of that and become a

  • little bit humorous sometimes.

  • For example?

  • Kids come up and say, What happened? And I say, Cigarettes.

  • [CHUCKLE]

  • And you know, then people around them start, you know, laughing. But I hug

  • people. I was the Guinness Book of World Records holder for hugs in an hour;

  • one thousand seven hundred and forty-one hugs in an hour. My arms fell off.

  • [CHUCKLE]

  • And someone beat me.

  • [CHUCKLE]

  • So now, we gotta go back and beat them back. But no; I love hugging.

  • Hugging is my way of-obviously, they try to shake hands. I say, Don't worry, I

  • don't shake hands, just give me a hug.

  • Nick Vujicic was born without arms or legs. Despite the many challenges this

  • created for him growing up, he was able to overcome them all, and credits is

  • family's love, his faith in God, and his positive attitude for his success. Nick

  • Vujicic, next on Long Story Short.

  • Long Story Short with Leslie Wilcox is Hawaii's first weekly television

  • program produced and broadcast in high definition.

  • Aloha mai kakou. I'm Leslie Wilcox. Nick Vujicic is a motivational speaker as

  • well as a best-selling author, a Christian Evangelist, and the leader of a nonprofit

  • organization, Life Without Limbs. He's been an inspiration to audiences around

  • the world, encouraging people to overcome obstacles and follow their dreams.

  • But Nick was not always confident.

  • When you were born in Australia, did your parents know that you'd be born

  • without limbs?

  • No; at the time, they even had ultrasounds, and no one bothered to check, to

  • double check that I had my ten fingers and ten toes. And it was a shock; it was

  • a tragedy. When I was laid by my mother's side, she said, Take him away, I

  • can't look at him right now. Full of emotion and questions; Why, why did this

  • happen, couldn't we see this at least coming?

  • Later, you would face all those questions. Why did this happen? But, what was

  • their thought process in dealing with it?

  • It was obviously difficult. And I knew that it would be someday that I would be

  • able to hear it straight from them. And I felt like I had to be a teenager before I

  • really went down that way. For you to hear from your own mother, I couldn't

  • hold you, I couldn't breast feed you, I couldn't have peace about your

  • existence and your purpose for at least four months, that was hard to hear. And

  • so, they took one day at a time, but my dad and mom were people of faith,

  • believing that God does not make mistakes even though it's hard to see how He

  • is perfect when imperfect things happen. But one day at a time, loving each

  • other, and planting seeds of hope and encouragement; that's the only way

  • that I got through my childhood. Going to school, getting bullied, they always

  • were affectionate. They were very busy parents, but at the same time, they

  • always made time to make sure that their son knew that he was beautiful, and

  • that he's not a mistake, and to do this best.

  • When you were a little kid, you wore prosthetic arms.

  • Yes; at six years old, we had state of the art technology, 1989, actually made in

  • Toronto, Canada. And they were very costly. Some people in Australia wanted

  • to give me an opportunity, so they paid for it, and we were just so thankful for

  • that. And they were quite big. I was only a little guy; I was about twenty-five

  • pounds at the time.

  • And they came with shoulders and arms.

  • Shoulders and whole harness thing, and the hand rotating, and the arms going

  • up and down. But each arm weighed about six pounds, so it was quite heavy.

  • And it stopped me from being so mobile. And then, I had to sort of relearn how

  • to write. So, trying to write with my robotic arms means I had to move my whole

  • body. That didn't work. I felt a bit like Robocop. And in me trying to accept

  • myself, I had to accept myself the way that I was. So, there were some

  • psychology as well in that. But overall, it wasn't a benefit for me.

  • Would you tell us about your early years?

  • Yeah, basically, I first up front say that I believe it's worse being in a broken

  • home than having no arms and no legs. You can have arms and legs, but if

  • your heart's broken, it's broken. If you're paralyzed by fear, you're disabled.

  • And so, it was difficult for me to believe in a greater hope. A man without vision

  • dies. I didn't see a good vision for my life, and I started dying on the inside.

  • Even though you had loving parents and a stable home?

  • Even though I had a loving stable home. Imagine; I know what would have

  • happened if I didn't have that. 'Cause I actually was on the brink of giving up

  • and trying to actually commit suicide.

  • When was that?

  • Age ten.

  • Age ten. What were you contemplating doing?

  • Drowning myself in my bathtub. I actually tried. I first thought of giving up at

  • age eight. And I was thinking, Well, maybe I can just jump off the countertop of

  • the kitchen counter as I watched my mom cook. That was our sort of bonding

  • session. And I thought to myself, I'm done. You know, all the bullying at school,

  • all the teasing. My mom and dad don't know if I'm ever gonna get married. I

  • don't know if I'm gonna be ever independent. If I don't have a purpose, what's

  • the point? If my pain's not gonna change, I want out. So, at age ten, as I tried

  • to drown myself, I thought of one image. And the image was my mother and

  • my father crying at my grave, wishing they could have done something more.

  • So, I decided to stay, just because of that. They didn't deserve that pain. So, I

  • stayed.

  • I think you were one of the first crop of young people to be mainstreamed

  • through schools, and there, you encountered bullying. What was the worst thing

  • that happened to you in school?

  • You know, there is no pinnacle of my negative experience of bullying. And

  • bullying is experienced by everyone, not just people in wheelchairs. So, the

  • problem for me was the taunts, the stares, the laughs were not just in school, but

  • in every public setting. You couldn't get away from it. You can't ignore it. But

  • there is no one worst thing. But people, you know, called me names, they made

  • different jokes, and some I tried to ignore, some I confronted. There was one

  • guy, I did head butt him.

  • It was an actual arranged fight outside the buildings of school?

  • So, it was about this kid coming up to me and saying, I bet you can't fight. And

  • you know me, now, you know, trying to be confident, I said, I bet you I can. He

  • said, Well, how can you prove it? And I said, Well, I'll meet you on the field at

  • lunch. There were about twenty of us there, and I never resort to violence since

  • then. Fighting back is not the answer. If you need to self-defend yourself, if

  • someone is really choking you and, you know, maybe you had some self-

  • defense classes, but we're not here to attack. We're here to prove how strong

  • we are. And I was tempted, and I took that fall. But I really didn't think he was

  • gonna do it. I thought, How low can this guy be?

  • Exactly. Calling out a guy in a wheelchair. So, how did it work out? He did

  • actually call you out of your wheelchair; right?

  • Right. You know, he said, You gotta get out of your wheelchair. And I'm like,

  • Okay, so I can't run him over. [CHUCKLE] So, I go to I go to the field, and I said,

  • Go on your knees. But he still had his hands. And you know, I wrestled with my

  • brother and my sister, and I got a mean chin. I can, boom, get into their wrist,

  • right to their bone, and you know, felt like I got that move. But I didn't think this

  • guy was gonna-

  • But he had arms to ...

  • He was pretty tall, so therefore, long arms. Pushed me down once. And I'm like,

  • Man, is this guy for real? Went up to him a second time, like walking up, and

  • pushed me down again. And all the girls are like, Oh, leave him alone. And the

  • last thing I ever wanted was that. So, I got up and I charged, and I went straight

  • into his nose. He flew back, blood came out.

  • So you hurled yourself at him.

  • Hurled myself at him. Used my wheelchair to get back up, and I jumped maybe

  • three steps, four steps, but very fast. I used to be a lot faster when I was

  • younger. And I said, I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry. And he just walked, and

  • everybody was like, Wow, you know. So, imagine, first of all, my fear. I'm a PK,

  • pacifist kid. I had to confess my sins to my parents. [CHUCKLE] I'm like, Mom

  • and Dad, I'm so sorry, I have to tell you.

  • I beat up a guy at school today.

  • I head butted a guy at school, and blood came out of his nose. I'm so sorry.

  • They didn't believe me. And they didn't smack me, they didn't discipline me.

  • They used to discipline me that way with a belt. And I was ready for it. My

  • parents did not spare the rod [CHUCKLE], and it was a way that they wanted to

  • discipline us. That's how they grew up.

  • You got treated the same as your brother and sister?

  • Treated the same. I actually was probably the biggest bully out of all three of

  • us. I'd dub my brother for things that I did actually, and so I was pretty bad. I

  • was sort of getting bossy sometimes. So, that was the childhood Nick Vujicic,

  • not realizing that my brother is just loving me and he's helped me as much as he

  • can just because he can, and not because he's supposed to. And so, there

  • were some dynamics there, but my parents, you know, they gave us good

  • discipline. You know, if they felt that that was something to get us back on the

  • straight and narrow, they did that. But I was very thankful that I did not get a

  • smack. What do you mean you head butted a kid? And so, I didn't realize at

  • the time that that they just thought I was wanting attention by them. So, I'm

  • thankful that didn't happen. But I would never hit anyone, ever again. I

  • promised myself. 'Cause the guilt that I had. And I realized that, you know,

  • people gossiping about me or laughing at me, I realized it's either ignorance or

  • hurting people or hurting others ignorantly. And even the people who were

  • bullying me that one day where I had twelve bullies pick on me. And they

  • didn't know that I was being picked on that much, and I felt like I should give

  • up. And one thing that helped me to get through it, and even forgive them,

  • was believing that someone out there actually did love me, outside of my

  • family. And there was one girl who had no idea I was teased twelve times that

  • day. I counted them all on my fingers. And she saw me across the playground

  • on my way out of school, and she said, Hey, Nick! And I'm like, Great, here it is.

  • She came up, she looked me right in the eye; she said, Nick, I just want you to

  • know that you're looking good today. And I'm like, Oh? So, that's why I

  • became a speaker.

  • Even though he decided that he wanted to become a speaker, Nick Vujicic had

  • no idea what he would talk about, or even where he would speak. He first had

  • to survive the rest of his childhood.

  • Did you go through all of the angst of the questions that many people in difficult

  • circumstances ask themselves? Why me? How could God do this to me? Why

  • are people so cruel? How can I possibly survive? How can I provide for myself?

  • How can I provide for a family? Can I have a family?

  • Right.

  • How did you go through all of that?

  • It was a journey. At thirteen years old, I actually hurt my foot playing soccer. So,

  • I have a foot that's about six inches long with two toes that allows me to type

  • and walk, and drive my wheelchair around, and swim.

  • And balance?

  • And balance. I was in bed for three weeks, sprained my foot. Three weeks

  • being in bed for a thirteen-year-old is like three years. I felt disabled for the first

  • time. I need my foot for everything, and I realized I need to be thankful for what

  • I had, instead of being angry about what I don't have. So, I started counting my

  • blessings. I said, God, more than arms and legs, I need purpose, I need peace, I

  • want Heaven. Come into my heart, forgive me my sin; and Lord, if you don't

  • give me arms and legs, I have a pair of shoes in my closet just in case He does.

  • Use me. If I don't get that miracle, use me so that others would know that

  • greater than a physical healing, you need a spiritual healing. You need your

  • soul restored. He doesn't need to change my physical aspect; He needs to

  • change my heart, my mind, and really give me what I'm looking for, happiness

  • through peace.

  • So, you learned to have a positive attitude, but it took more than that, didn't it, to

  • give you peace?

  • It did. It took time. It wasn't overnight. I have a positive attitude not because

  • that's my coping mechanism, but I found real hope, real happiness. Not in

  • temporary things of what people think of you or what job you're gonna get, or

  • what money you're gonna have, and if or if you're not in a relationship. You

  • need to be, first of all, taking responsibility of your own happiness and your own

  • peace within you. And as you see that reflection in the mirror, one day at a

  • time, which is-it's hard for someone to feel like they're ugly and then look

  • themself in the mirror and say, I'm beautiful. But what I did, when I looked myself

  • in the mirror, I said, Okay, Nick, you have no arms, no legs, but your eyes are

  • beautiful; hold onto something. Nick, you can't do sports, but you're good at

  • mathematics. Give yourself a chance. I had a plan to become an accountant

  • and financial planner, and curve balls are thrown at us every day.

  • What was your curve ball?

  • A greater opportunity. That at the time, my parents thought I was crazy. They

  • never thought I would be a speaker. They said, What are you gonna speak

  • about? I said, I don't know. Are they gonna pay you? I don't know. Do you

  • have any invitations? No. How are you gonna get them? I don't know. How

  • are you gonna get there? I don't know. But when you find the truth that every

  • day is an opportunity, you take one day at a time. Not just about what we can

  • get and what we can have, but even the curve balls that come negatively at

  • you. Remember the last obstacle you went through, how hard it was, how big it

  • looked, how fearful you were. You still got through it. Maybe you don't even

  • know how you got through it, but you're still here. If you're still here, there's an

  • opportunity to grow. And if you're living tomorrow, you can do better than

  • today. Whatever your goal is, find your real purpose, eternal purpose, and

  • make sure that love is the thing that covers it all. One of my first big speeches, I

  • was in front of three hundred teenagers, sophomore students for seven minutes,

  • I had no idea what to do, my palms were sweaty. And within three minutes-

  • did you get that? Palms sweaty. Yeah.

  • [CHUCKLE] Yes.

  • And within three minutes, half the girls were crying, and one girl in the middle of

  • the room started weeping. She put up her hand, she said, I'm so sorry to

  • interrupt; can I come up there and give you a hug? She came and she hugged

  • me, she cried on my shoulder, and she said, Thank you, thank you, thank you; no

  • one's ever told me that they loved me, no one's ever told me that I'm beautiful

  • the way that I am. That's when I knew that hope was real as a way to uplift