8 questions with Nick Vujicic: He used to be jealous of people hugging his son

Born without arms and legs, author Nick Vujicic has played football and scuba dived and plans to try snowboarding next

Motivational speaker Nick Vujicic (above) may not be able to hold his son Kiyoshi, but he tries to be the best father he can be, so the boy will hug him. -- PHOTO: EDDY WEE
Motivational speaker Nick Vujicic (above) may not be able to hold his son Kiyoshi, but he tries to be the best father he can be, so the boy will hug him. -- PHOTO: EDDY WEE

Motivational speaker and best-selling author Nick Vujicic used to get a little jealous when he saw people pick up his son, Kiyoshi.

"I would see them holding him, playing with him, throwing him up in the air and I couldn't do that with my own son," says Mr Vujicic, who was born without arms or legs.

Kiyoshi is now 22 months old.

Practising what he preached, however, the Serbian-Australian decided to shift his perspective.

"I told myself, 'All you need to do is be the best daddy you can be so that it compels him to want to hug his daddy'," he says.

Mr Vujicic, 32, who is married to Mexican- Japanese Kanae Miyahara, a housewife, thought that Kiyoshi would hug him only when he was three or four years old, but the boy did so when he was 16 months old.

In town last Tuesday to promote the upcoming launch of his new monthly digital magazine, Attitude Is Altitude, Mr Vujicic is continuing his journey of spreading inspiration and hope globally.

He has travelled 5,000,000km around the world and given motivational talks in more than 50 countries.

"Your attitude will determine your altitude and how high you fly in life," he said to more than 200 youths and adults at the seminar at *Scape.

The magazine, which is free, will officially launch on Jan 19 and includes articles on well-known figures such as the world's top male tennis player Novak Djokovic. It will also feature articles that aim to motivate readers to lead a more positive and healthy lifestyle.

"We need to awaken the next generation to understand that we are all change-makers. The nation is not as strong as its government but its next generation," says Mr Vujicic, who is based in California.

He also has plans to launch a feature film about his life in 2016 as well as a weekly online talk show.

1 Bullying is a central topic in your talks. Do you think it is getting more pervasive now with the Internet and cyber-bullies being able to hide behind their screens?

Yes, I believe cyber-bullying has magnified the frequency of bullying all over the world. The good thing to do is to take a screenshot of it because everything can be tracked.

More and more ideas are coming out to stop this problem and I believe that between apps (that allow the user to immediately report cyber-bullying incidents and reach out for support) and policing students in schools, things may be able to be tightened much better.

If you are being bullied, please tell your parents, friends or guidance counsellor. You don't have to fight it alone.

2 You are the epitomy of positivity, but are there days when you feel blue?

Everyone goes through ups and downs, no one is immune to it. I still get bouts of fear and anxiety sometimes, but it's about reminding yourself and reflecting about the last bad thing you went through and that you did get through it and you will be okay.

3 You are such an inspiration to millions globally, but who is the biggest inspiration to you?

There are many inspirational people whom I have met, but the most inspirational person was a man by the name of Philip Toth. I met him at a crucial time in my life at age 19 when I first started speaking.

He was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease, a debilitating disease with no cure, at 22. Doctors gave him three months to live, but he lived for another five years.

He couldn't walk or talk, but when I met him and he smiled at me, his smile changed my life. I thought to myself, if a man who can't walk and talk can inspire hundreds, what can I do?

He was the one who inspired me and the catalyst for me taking up motivational speaking and the communication of hope.

4 What do you like to do in your free time?

I like to be in silence and recharge in the outdoors.

I love spending time with my family. My wife and I do date nights and every two weeks, we head to a restaurant. I give her flowers, even on non-special occasions.

5 You have no limbs, yet you have played football, surfed, skydived and scuba dived. What do you want to try next?

I want to drive a car. There is an American company that can actually fit a joystick in, so that's what I want to do next.

I'm going to try snowboarding in a couple of weeks. Even if I fail, I'm going to post it on Facebook.

6 You have been to Singapore 11 times now. What must you eat whenever you come down?

I will go to I'm Kim Korean BBQ. I love that style of eating because it is always hot in your mouth fresh off the hot plate. I've eaten the popular chicken rice too.

7 What do you see yourself doing in 10 years' time?

I see myself becoming a lot more focused on social entrepreneurship and philanthropy.

8 How would you like to be remembered?

Just as a servant with a message. It's not my strength, I didn't write my own story.

With the right values and attitudes, anyone can overcome it, but if Nick can live a life without limits, then anyone can.


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