Ever more people today have the means to live, but no meaning to live for.

Viktor E. Frankl

Dedication: To the tenacity and resiliency of Nick Vujicic

Explore the internet and you will come across numerous examples of people overcoming extraordinarily tough challenges. In most of the cases, if not all, the driving force is having a “Noble goal” or some kind of purpose that goes beyond self-preservation.

Nick Vijucic videoHere is one such example. Nick Vujicic is the epitome of determination and optimism. He has not only survived but also thrived in life. His life story of strong will power and optimism is an inspiration to all. He has been living an independent life with his wife and a son. He leads the same life, rather better than many human with all four limbs would live.

Below is the link to an inspiring video of Nick Vujicic living his purpose.


People like Nick in such challenging situations thrive because they choose to make a difference in others lives rather than incessantly sulk in their own pain. They have emotional intelligence competencies. They have empathy that helps them feel and understand others pain while managing their own emotions.

They recognize and use their own emotions to make conscious healthy choices, based on their own values rather than operating on autopilot. These values provide intrinsic motivation and they do not depend on external factors, such as reward, punishment, approval, etc.

With their optimistic attitude, they perceive their challenges as temporary, isolated, and due to external factors instead of permanent, pervasive, and personal. They consider even the smallest of victories as permanent, and meaningful.

El Capitan, Yosemite National ParkThey focus on what they are capable of doing rather than what they cannot do. If you look at a lofty rock like El Capitan in Yosemite, from several hundred feet away, it seems impossible to climb. You may say, “There is no way I can climb that rock.” However, if you ask yourself, “What can I do?” The answer would be, “I can walk to the bottom of the rock”. Once you reach there, you may see numerous nooks, cracks, and ledges that may not be visible from far away. You may see some hope to climb even a few feet. You may see possibilities where there seemed to be none previously.

People with purpose, replace the word “BUT” with the word “AND.” Instead of saying, “I wish to do ____ BUT I don’t have _____”; they say, “I wish to do _____AND I don’t have _____”. This kind of an attitude will make you feel powerful rather than a victim. I believe pioneers like Wright brothers used this principle to succeed in creating the flying machines.

I believe Nick Vujicic saw pain in teenagers’ lives that he felt was more severe than his own disadvantages. He was determined and focused on what was possible for him and immensely expanded the possibilities to tip his balance of joy and pain. He found the joy in seeing positive transformation in others’ lives.

What kind of challenges you are facing? If you are stuck and being miserable, notice:

  1. How many “BUTS” are barriers to seeing possibilities?
  2. Make a list of actions, no matter how small take these actions.
  3. Create a vision of what life will look like after the challenge is overcome.

I would love to hear from you, if you overcame a challenge. Did you have a purpose in life? What else helped you to overcome the challenge?

Please write to me at: shabbir@shabbirlatif.com.