Example that Choosing to Live is Better!

I was combing through the BBC Website when I came across an article that caught my eye. It was something familiar to me, in a sense, because I had heard a little bit about this man who does amazing things despite what most people would call “A major handicap”. You see, the man in question is Nick Vujicic; otherwise known as “The man without limbs”.

If you’ve ever had an injury to your arm or leg, you know how helpless you feel and how you constantly want to curse your bad luck. You just can’t wait till the day the doctor declares that you are healed. Now stop for a second and imagine having never had those hands or legs. How would you even survive?

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Nick Vujicic’s Story

Nicholas James Vujicic was born with a physical disability which doctors admitted was very rare. He has therefore lived the whole 32 years of his life without arms or legs.

Not many people would have made it through all those years without – what many people feel are – the necessary tools for survival in an already difficult world. Indeed, not even young Nick expected to survive with the reality of his life. He was born “different” and despite all the love he received from his family and friends, he already felt disadvantaged. This cloud of negativity hung over him for a long time and he became depressed. At only 10 years of age, he attempted to commit suicide. Thankfully, he failed.

The struggle to cope with his physical, mental and emotional struggle took a great toll on the young man as it would for many of us. Though life offered him moments of joy, it was the bad moments which really weighed heavily on him. Therefore, he tried to commit suicide a few more times. Thankfully, again, he failed each time.

At age 17, he was inspired to become a public speaker and it was during his first attempt that a sobbing girl’s gratitude changed his outlook on life. As Nick says in one of his websites attitudeisaltitude.com, “I realized that we all need love and hope and that I was in a unique position to share that with people around the world”.

Choosing Your Attitude toward Life

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Nick now has several organizations such as LifeWithoutLimbs and AttitudeisAltitude which seek to help people in their lives through inspiration and by providing perspective. It is by no means a stretch to say that Nick Vujicic has helped millions of people. After all, how would you respond if someone handicapped was doing more in his life than you were with all your limbs and faculties intact? Yet, here is Nick, who can swim, type, speak in front of thousands of people, and even goes sky diving. He is happily married and has a child, just like any “normal” person.

Nick’s circumstances would have overwhelmed many people but he chose to have a positive attitude even when negative thoughts threatened to derail his life.

Many people give up when life continually throws obstacles their way. No one can stand in another man’s shoes and claim they would respond positively to any negative circumstances. The interesting thing though, is that positive attitudes and unshakeable willpower trump life’s obstacles any time.

It is difficult when dealing with depression and thoughts of suicide. But as Nick Vujicic shows, your life is important. Just like him, you can turn your negative circumstances into a story that can inspire others to choose life over death.

Just from following Nick’s example, you can lay claim to the attitude that the future holds something positive for your life. So choose life today!

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Find the Meaning in the Suffering

Life isn’t easy. It can be painful especially when you’ve tried so many times and still failed. This is the point when you just throw your hands in the air and declare, “I have had enough of this!”

Who could blame you for giving up? After all, you have tried and tried without much to show for your efforts. That’s not the issue though. The problem is what is going through your mind right now. By putting the label ‘failure’ to your experience you have altered the mindset you should really have about what has happened. Thus, you are now feeling depressed because you think that you are not good enough. At worst, you are even contemplating suicide. There are a lot of people who are winning and achieving great things, therefore, you mistakenly think that no one will miss a failure like you.

Hope in the midst of suffering

But I wonder; after putting so much effort into succeeding, will you let all your energy, desire, work and effort go to waste by stopping now? You have suffered a lot already. See it through to the end. Someone once said, “When you are exercising, the real work out begins when you are tired”. It BEGINS when you are tired. Not when you are strong, motivated, or succeeding. The real work begins the moment you want to give up.

In life, it’s never really what you accomplish, but rather, who you become by accomplishing a particular goal. You learn new things; you build your character; you build your strength; and you increase your belief the moment you decide to push through the pain. What would have become of the electric bulb if Thomas Edison had given up after failing over a thousand times? You have something to give to the rest of the world. You might not know what that is right now. Nevertheless, the world is lucky to have you. You are important.

Pain in Suffering

We hurt deeply when we lose something amazing in our lives. It’s always unexpected and painful. But no matter what you go through, you are stronger than you know. In his book ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’, Dr. Viktor Frankl describes how he lost his family, his house, his job as a respected doctor, and his unpublished book manuscript. He found himself at a Nazi concentration camp where he lost many of the friends he made and lived everyday amidst dying comrades, starvation, spreading diseases, harsh weather conditions and the threat of being taken to the gas chambers. There didn’t seem to be any point in living.

But despite this harsh existence where it was easier to die than to live, Dr. Frankl said that regardless of what happens to us, we don’t lose everything. We are still left with the one thing that matters: the power to choose how we will respond to the crisis in our lives. We have the power to decide whether we will approach life’s hardships with a positive mindset or a negative one. He describes the essence of his book as this quote from Friedrich Nietzsche, “To live is to suffer; to survive, is to find some form of meaning in the suffering”.

Dr. Frankl suffered, but he left a profound legacy on the world that has helped many people. He chose to survive and to share his life with others. As a result, he inspired many people with the message that no matter what you go through, there is a lesson to be learnt.

Tough Lessons

It is important to avoid the mindset of absolutes. Good things will not stop coming to your life. That isn’t to say that losing something precious won’t hurt because there are good things yet to come into your life. It will hurt. It will not be easy but you shall survive.

There is always a lesson in our suffering. Once you learn, you can teach and inspire others. Don’t give up. Choose to face life’s tough circumstances and soon you will find yourself on the other side. It won’t be easy, but only you can find the meaning in the suffering. And when you do, you will realize that you are a better ‘you’ than you were before.

Believe that you can get through life’s hardships. Just find the meaning in the suffering.