To continue our 2017 Speaker Spotlight series, we warmly welcome Nick Vujicic!
Rarely in business do we come across people who are truly full of light — the kind of people whose genuine love of life has the power to lift our spirits beyond our current circumstances. Charisma, character, and commitment to a core message of hope and happiness can spark something within us to want to be more like them, to be better versions of ourselves. But if they were once like us, how did they get to where they are now?
Nick Vujicic is an international and New York Times bestselling author, motivational speaker, and evangelist. He is also the director of Life Without Limbs, a faith-based organization that promotes a message of the hope to the entire world. He is a man of many talents, one of which is his ability to captivate audiences with his unwavering positivity. We spoke to Vujicic to learn more about his message to the world on life, purpose, and creating lasting happiness.
Nordic Business Forum: Hi Nick. Thanks for joining us today. Let’s start by talking about your background. How did you become the Nick Vujicic we all know today?
Nick Vujicic: Well it wasn’t planned. I’m not that organized a guy, and I never put any of my plans like that down on paper — I just sort of ran with it. I had this amazing experience at 17 years old with the janitor at my high school. He looked at me one day and said, “You’re going to be a speaker,” and I told him “You’re crazy!”
He actually organized for me to speak at a faith club to share about my faith and what that faith meant to me — and how that gave me hope — in front of just a handful of students. While there, I saw people crying, touched, and it was amazing to watch other people receive hope with words. And it’s not just words, it’s stories. I didn’t know at that time that my story could impact audiences, but after that first appearance, I got more invitations to speak.
Then there was this one speech at 19 years old, where a girl started crying and she said, “No one has ever told me that they love me,” and “No one has ever told me that I’m beautiful the way that I am.”
That’s when I knew I was born to be a speaker.
There was just no more exhilarating feeling that I’d ever had than to see the transformation from (what was, to me) a single speech. And it was authentic — I truly love people and I think love is the foundation of how people can find hope in their life. To be able to love yourself, to be able to start being thankful for what you have; there are a lot of stories out there, and I didn’t know what stories were represented by the people there, but I was just so glad to see that my story could really impact and provoke all sorts of change, inspiration, and hope in their lives.
I also did a double degree in accounting and financial planning to honor my mum and dad’s request, because they were a little worried that this would be more of a hobby than a future! I started doing it anyway, and by the time I graduated, I went into speaking full-time.
NBF: Hope has understandably been a thread through most of your speeches, books, and life. And as such, joy and happiness have followed. How have you created lasting happiness in your life?
NV: It started with the upbringing of my parents who taught me to be thankful for what I had, and encouraged me to do my best. So I come from an attitude of gratitude — and that doesn’t mean that I’m happy all the time, or thankful all the time. There are always ups and downs in life. I think that the big thing for me was not knowing what I could achieve until I tried it. You don’t know what you can have in life until you go for it! I just want to live my life to the fullest, and people do make mistakes. I still have my ups and downs, but I’m so thankful that the dreams that I’ve had of becoming a speaker influencing the world, an author, an actor, even a songwriter and singer are all coming true. I want to make the world a better place.
In the greater purpose of life that I’m living, I want people to know that I was once someone that was depressed, even attempted suicide, and felt like there was no hope. And one who, at one stage, had no hope. I have found that hope is the most precious thing of all. I’m very, very thankful. I’m the husband of Kanae, and now a father of four! We are expecting twin girls coming this December, so we are very thankful for that. And it all started with hope. There’s nothing better than it.
NBF: What advice would you give other people to become more hopeful today?
NV: I think the opposite of hopeful is either desperate or lost or depressed. There are three steps to getting out of depression:
(1) take one day at a time;
(2) it’s good to talk to somebody about whatever comfort you need. Many people never feel like they’ve got hope because they think they’re the only one going through it. Yet, in that isolation, that’s where hope cannot grow. Faith and counseling is very important to me. I wouldn’t be who I am without asking people for help along the way. Whether that’s been a friendship or going to counseling, there’s nothing shameful about that.
(3) help other people who are in need. I know it sounds crazy that even though you don’t get what you need, you should try to be something or somebody that someone else needs. A great example is to go feed the homeless or go dress up as a clown and get some toys and balloons, go to a hospital with kids with cancer and make them smile. Relieve the parents for a bit. Give them a break.
These are things people can do right now to be more hopeful. Trying to brighten someone else’s day actually initiates the beginning of the spark of feeling a purpose. And I think that’s the last key to getting out of depression. Prove to yourself that you have a purpose beyond yourself.
Sometimes you might realize how much you might need a best friend in that moment. You need support. But the question is, can you still be a best friend when the other person needs it more than you? The question I’ve asked is: how can you be a miracle when you don’t even get a miracle?
For me, the focus that I had a teenager was that I wanted to be a miracle for orphans in Africa one day. So, in the mindset of taking it one day at a time, I’d put a photo of an African orphan on my mirror. No matter what happened that day, I knew that I was one day closer to being a miracle for that little child. And it worked because, at age 19, I was able to give away $28,000 to an orphanage. It was one of the best moments of my life!
NBF: What’s one lesson you want your audience to remember from you?
NV: To not give up. Don’t give up on you. Search for truth, and for the truth in your value and your purpose. That will put you on the path towards your destiny. I had no idea that my destiny was so rich with joy and purpose. I believe that every human can find joy and purpose in life. It’s been an awesome journey of discovery! I believe each of us to be a miracle for somebody, and I believe that there is a greater purpose to life. We just need to take one day at a time.
We’re excited to learn more from Nick Vujicic at NBForum 2017! We’re already sold out, but if you’d like to hear Vujicic and other leaders discuss this year’s themes of purpose, responsibility, and leadership, be sure to grab your Live Stream license today. Follow us on Facebook (@NBForumHQ) and Twitter (@NBForumHQ and #NBForum2017) to keep up with our speaker announcements as we get closer to the event!