Thursday, 28 October 2010


I’ve always struggled when it came to using a ton of will-power to make changes in my life. I hated taking risks. I hated the unexpected; the not knowing what came next – the ‘not planning’.

Yet here I am, in a different country, miles and miles away from home - as an intern at a well established newspaper agency. Having taken the risk to travel alone, to meet people I’ve NEVER met, to accustom myself to a culture I am not VERY familiar with and for the first time to depend on myself at its entirety.

At this precise moment, the only word that comes to mind is self-efficacy, a term invented in the 1970s by Albert Bandura as part of his theory that ‘the beliefs we have about our abilities affect our actual outcomes. In other words, ‘if you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right,’ emphasising the fact that your belief system determines what you can accomplish in life if you BELIEVE in it.

I was never more reminded of this fact till I watched a YouTube video of an inspirational speaker, Nick Vujicic, who despite being born without any limbs was able to motivate and inspire people from all walks of life. It would be very easy to understand how a person like this could spend his entire life in a wheelchair, being taken care of, and not having a very productive life. But what he lacked in his limbs, he compensated for in unbelievable spirit and belief in himself. He went on to pursuing his education, obtaining a double Bachelor’s degree, majoring in Accounting and Financial Planning. Now at 27, he has accomplished more than most people accomplish in a lifetime. He has his own motivational speaking company, is the president of a non profit organisation and has travelled the world, sharing his story with millions of people.

It’s shocking how easy and quick we are able to undermine our abilities and take this life for granted. Life has interesting twists and turns sometimes – and we often allow our dreams to shrink to fill in the small corners around the ‘big uglies’ in our lives, rather than giving them center stage and allowing them to bloom.

So whenever I catch myself complaining about life, about my abilities, about the petty injustices of an average day, I think of Nick Vujicic. Whenever I think of something I want to do in life is out of my reach, I think of ‘the man without limbs’.

If Nick Vujicic can accomplish what he has accomplished with no arms and no legs, we don’t deserve to have any excuses about why we can’t do something.