We all go through life on this planet only once and that’s good enough. We must never just go through the motions of life. We must always strive to touch as many lives as possible and inspire people that the best is yet to come.
People these days feel very hopeless as the pressures of life are taking their toll on many.
Firstly, we find a man called Nick Vujicic: An individual with no limbs who teaches people how to get up. Nick Vujicic was born in Melbourne, Australia with a rare tetra-amelia disorder in which his body is limbless. He lacks both arms at shoulder levels and has one small foot with two toes protruding from his left thigh.
Despite the absence of limbs, he surfs, swims and plays golf and soccer. Nick graduated from college at the age of 21 with a double major in Accounting and Financial Planning. He began his travels as a motivational speaker, focusing on the topics that today’s teenagers face.
Secondly, we find Nando Parrado: Survived an airplane crash for 72 days in the Andes Mountain. Flying over the mountains on a Friday the 13th, the young men and their families who boarded the charter plane had joked about the unlucky day when the plane’s wing suddenly hit the slope of the mountain and crashed. On impact, 13 passengers instantly died while 32 others were badly wounded. Hoping to be rescued, the survivors waited in the freezing -37C temperature. They melted snow for water and slept side by side to keep themselves warm.
Food was so scarce, everyone had to pool whatever food they could find for a rationed pool.
On the 60th day after the crash, Parrado and two other friends decided to walk through the icy wilderness for help. By the time they left, Parrado said, the crash site was “... an awful place, soaked in urine, smelling of death, littered with ragged bits of human bones and gristles”. Wearing three pairs of jeans and three jackets over a polo shirt, he and his friends trekked the mountains with human flesh as their ration.
On the 22nd December, 1972, after enduring 72 brutal days, the world found out that there had been 16 survivors who had cheated death in the Andes. Eight of the initial survivors died when an avalanche cascaded down on them as they slept in the fuselage. During the ordeal, not only did Parrado lose half his family but he also lost 40kg of his weight. He is now a motivational speaker.
Thirdly, we find a young lady, Jessica Cox: Suffered a rare birth defect in which she was born without arms, yet became the world’s first licensed armless pilot, as well as the first armless black-belt in the American Taekwondo Association - proving you don’t need ‘wings’ to fly.
None of the prenatal tests her mother took showed there was anything wrong with her.
The psychology graduate can write, type 25 words a minute, drive a car (under a no-restrictions driving license), brush her hair and talk on the phone by simply using her feet. Ms Cox, from Tuscan, Arizona, USA, is also a former dancer.
The plane she flies is called an Ercoupe and it is one of the few airplanes to be made and certified without pedals. Without rudder pedals, Jessica is free to use her feet as hands. She took three years instead of the usual six months to complete her lightweight aircraft licence, had three flying instructors and practiced 89 hours of flying.
Fourthly, we find another man called Sean Swarner: First cancer survivor to complete the 7-summits (the highest peaks of the seven continents). The 29 035-foot giant known as Mount Everest tortures its challengers with life-threatening conditions such as 100kph winds, the dramatic loss of oxygen, snowstorms and deadly avalanches. Climbers of Mt Everest are usually faced with incredible dangers but for Sean Swarner, the obstacles he overcame prior to his summiting make his story even more compelling.
Sean isn’t just a cancer survivor; he is truly a medical marvel. He is the only person in the world ever to have been diagnosed with both Hodgkin’s disease and Askin’s sarcoma. He was diagnosed in the fourth and final stage of Hodgkin’s disease at the age of 13, when doctors expected him to live for not more than three months.
He overcame his illness only to be stricken a second time when a deadly golf ball-sized tumor attacked his right lung. After removal of the Askin’s Tumour, Sean was expected to live for less than two weeks. A decade later and with only partial use of his lungs, Sean became famous for being the first cancer survivor to climb Mt Everest.
After the summit of Everest, Sean had the desire and dream to continue moving forward and reaching people around the world. Climbing the highest mountain on each continent became his next goal.
The Bible says in Psalms 71:21, “Thou shalt increase my greatness and comfort me on every side.”
If you want to make a mark in life that will remain for a long time, look to God for inspiration and do not let your circumstances hold you down.
Celestine Chua (“The Personal Excellence” blogger) once said, “Everything around us is made up of energy. To attract positive things in your life, start by giving off positive energy.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson (American essayist, lecturer and poet, who led the Transcendentalist movement of the mid- 19th century) said, “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
Next week, we’ll look at the last four most inspirational persons in the world.