Millions around the world recognise the smiling face and inspirational message of Nick Vujicic. Despite being born without arms or legs, Nick's challenges have not kept him from enjoying great adventures, a fulfilling and meaningful career, and loving relationships. Nick has overcome trials and hardships by focusing on the promises that he was created for a unique and specific purpose, that his life has value and is a gift to others, and that no matter the despair and hard times in life, God is always present. Nick credits his success in life to the power that is unleashed when faith takes action.
But how does that happen? In Unstoppable Nick addresses adversity and difficult circumstances that many people face today, including: Personal crises; Relationship issues; Career and job challenges; Health and disability concerns; Self-destructive thoughts, emotions, and addictions; Bullying, persecution, cruelty, and intolerance; Balance in body, mind, heart and spirit; and Service to othersThrough stories from his own life and the experiences of many others, Nick explains how anyone wanting a 'ridiculously good life' can respond to these issues and more to become unstoppable. What's standing in your way? Are you ready to become unstoppable?
Nick Vujicic is a motivational speaker and the director of the non-profit organisation Life Without Limbs. Nick has become a great inspiration to people around the world, regularly speaking to large crowds about overcoming obstacles and achieving dreams. A longtime resident of Australia, he now lives in southern California with his wife, Kanae.
Allen and Unwin
Author: Nick Vujicic
Question: What inspired you to write Unstoppable?
Nick Vujicic: The first book that I wrote was released in 2010 and that was a year after I was on 60 Minutes where we had such a huge response. It's been on my heart for such a long time to write books because I've had 28,500 talk invitations that I've had to say no to. I still have travelled round the world and spoken 1,500 times although the book is another way to reach out to people that I won't be able to meet, face-to-face.
I've had many readers write to me after the first book, I had one person say they were going to commit suicide until they had read the book and that is gold for me.
In 2009 I stopped writing the manuscript and since then I've been through different trials and I learnt more about life because I don't think you ever stop learning. In this book I want to share the meaning of the word unstoppable and I talk about how I'd gone through a difficult time in 2010 and what I learnt from it, the principals that I stuck to that gave me the ability to get through it and the love story of meeting my gorgeous wife.
Question: Unstoppable features highs and lows - was it difficult to look back on the lows?
Nick Vujicic: Yes, it was much more difficult than I thought it was going to be. I went back to the time, closed my eyes and went back to how it felt and what people said. As a child, when someone says something negative to you it feels like your whole world is going to collapse; as you grow up and mature they become smaller but when you go back in time and you open that book and chapter of your life up again you realise how tough it was, my world literally crumbled around me. I was in a hell that I couldn't escape from because I obviously couldn't change the fact that I had no limbs. Bullying is unfortunately a part of human nature and everybody gets teased and no one is immune to it. For me it was more than the bullies at school, everyone had something that I didn't have and I didn't know why.
The fear of being alone was the most disabling thing I'd ever come across. My parents are my heroes they embedded a foundation; "Nick you're beautiful, just the way that you are" and "You're special. Don't worry if you can't do this, you just do your best and God will do the rest". My parents have this attitude because no one can tell them what I could and couldn't do especially because they were told I couldn't walk and then I started walking they then said I wouldn't be able to do anything else and I started swimming, fishing, scuba diving and now sky diving. I type on the computer with my little foot and no one thought I'd be able to type 23 words a minute on a normal computer, or go to University and do what I do. As a child it was difficult to believe that I could ever be a communicator with a story that people get hope from; I'm in awe sometimes.
Question: Can you talk about some of the great adventures you've pursued that are mentioned in Unstoppable?
Nick Vujicic: I've been to 43 countries, 1,500 speaking engagements with crowds of up to 110,000 people, 7 Presidents, 5 congresses and approximately 1 billion people know who I am, in the world: 300,000 in Latin America, 200 million in Asia, 200 million in the Arab world and more. It's been an adventure and a half!
An eye opener for me was when I went to Africa where there are still undeveloped countries who kill kids with disabilities because their tribal beliefs are that these disabled kids are cursed and they believe that curse is contagious so they bury the kid alive. I met the president of Liberia for 45 minutes and I wanted to bring hope to the nation. We went in front of 10,000 people and this woman raced through the crowd and she was holding a three week old girl and she didn't have arms, her fingers came from her shoulders and everybody gasped; I didn't know why they were gasping but I kissed the child on the head and prayed for the child. I talked about how not one child is a mistake and since then no one has killed a disabled kid, in that city.
I also spoke to a billionaire in Singapore who'd owned three banks and as the Global Economic Crisis started he came up to me and was weeping on my shoulder and he said "I've lost half my wealth, but I don't care, I have a bigger problem, my 14-year-old baby girl can't look at herself in the mirror and see beautiful because someone at her school called her fat and she stopped eating and now we can't make her eat; please help my daughter eat."
The book talks that about everyones looking for money, sex, drugs, alcohol, pornography, fame and fortune as well as a great job and marriage but there is a greater purpose to everyone's life and the secret to being content is celebrating who you are and knowing your true identity, your true purpose and your true destiny.
Whether you're rich or not I truly believe that you can find fulfilment and joy in your life. I share all the experiences I've had in different walks of life and how hope is universal.
Question: How important is it for you, to have balance in your mind, heart and spirit?
Nick Vujicic: I am so thankful for the people around me, one of the deep things that I share that is exclusive to Unstoppable is the difficult valley I went through in December 2010 after my first book release where I cried like I had never cried. I am an entrepreneur and I started 17 projects at the same time, I hired contractors and I was running two companies with employees and I took on a little too much and hit burn out. From 2007 to 2010 I spoke 1,000 times and caught 200 flights and I hit a brick wall and depression. I couldn't bathe myself and as far as heart and mind I knew people were with me and praying for me; at the time my wife and I had been dating for about four months and she cried with me and helped me through. My parents were also a great source of strength.
I want to bring in the value of family and friends and love within one another - we need one another, we can't do this life on our own, no matter how much we think we can because there are always bad days, trials and loss coming around the corner. Don't be depressed, it's to be rejoiced, celebrate the good times with each other and no that you're not alone when you go through different things. The value of family and those closest to you is number one and obviously mind, heart and spirit. With my fate in God I know his not going to let my heart go through more than I can bear. There are times that life doesn't make sense (120 million slaves, people going hungry) but I do believe there is a greater purpose and I share that in the book; I explain the greater power and that we all ask the question 'why'? I've come to terms with the fact that there are some things we will never understand but don't let that take you away from what you can understand, rejoice and hold onto.
Physically I had the choice to focus on what I don't have or be thankful for what I do have and be the best I can be.
Question: What do you hope readers take away from Unstoppable?
Nick Vujicic: If people read my first book they will notice that I use the J word more, Jesus, in this book. On one hand I was a little apperceive with using his name so much because he is so much a part of my story and the things I wanted to share in it; at the same time I felt it was interesting.
An example is when I went to Quate and spoke to a massive oil company and I did a three and a half hour motivation seminar to the Muslims and in the second intermission I asked "What would you like me to expand on?" and he replied "I know you're Christian and you know I'm Muslim but I love hearing about your faith in God because it does bring a sense of surrender and peace in knowing that we won't know everything and I appreciate that as a Muslim. I want others to know that you're not a superhero yet you have a host of dreams some of which came true (married and pregnant with his first born) and you can share about your depression as well as the things that didn't work out. Talk about how your faith in God helped you in everyday life to become unstoppable."
Unstoppable is such a powerful word, it doesn't mean that you never cry or you're never scared it means no matter what is coming my way that I am going to take it head on and get through it. I will always learn more on a bad day, than a good day. I am who I am today because of what I've been through, yesterday.
Interview by Brooke Hunter