Sometimes life can deliver a cruel blow to our best laid plans or present an obstacle in our path, one that seems insurmountable. For all those who could do with a little fire in their bellies or perhaps have recently suffered a personal or professional setback, it’s time to talk about Colonel Sanders and Nick Vujicic.
Both of these people could be called modern day heroes, but for very different reasons. Arguably, there couldn’t be two individuals who could define the term ‘polar opposite’ more. Yet both offer stories demonstrating iron will and a steely courage of the most inspiring kind, enough to soften even the most hardened among us.
In my view, they are the epitome of the great Rudyard Kipling’s famous poem, If, by seemingly being able to treat those two impostors, Triumph and Disaster, just the same.
In 1955, a penniless pensioner from Kentucky named Harland David Sanders believed in his fried chicken recipe. While most men his age were thinking of retiring and living off the fruits of their hard-earned labour, Sanders was financially broke. But he had a vision to share this recipe with the rest of the world. With little in terms of means at his disposal, at the age of 65 he travelled door to door to countless houses and restaurants, trying to sell his special recipe. No one wanted to know. Rumour has it that he was turned down 1,009 times before he heard a single ‘yes’. The rest, as they say, is history. In 1976, Colonel Sanders, KFC’s founder, was ranked as the world’s second most recognisable celebrity. Ironically, this isn’t the only intriguing part of his life. He also apparently shot a man and delivered babies in his earlier years, but that’s another story.
In 1982, Nicholas Vujicic was born in Melbourne, Australia, without arms and legs. Yet from an early age, he refused to allow his physical condition to limit his lifestyle. Despite suffering with depression and loneliness throughout his childhood, as well as dealing with the typical challenges of school and adolescence, he eventually overcame such struggles through his strength and passion for life.
Since his first speaking engagement at 19, Nick has travelled around the globe, often filling stadiums as he shares his story with millions of students, teachers, young people, business professionals and church congregations of all sizes. He’s an author, musician, actor – oh, and his hobbies include fishing, painting and swimming. How many can put a tick against one of these things and with a full set of limbs?
Now at 33, he has accomplished more than most people achieve in a lifetime. You can catch him here during one of his TED talks: http://ed.ted.com/on/CCuBIM9P
So, if you’re in need of a little motivation to get you going, or you feel that everything is conspiring against you, just keep on persevering.