you are told you only have a 30% chance of living
YET... YOU defy all odds and you are living ONE OF THE MOST FULFILLED LIVES ever!!!
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Hi!! My name is Nick Santonastasso...
When I was conceived, I had a 30% chance of surviving birth. I was 1 of 12 people in the world at the time who was born with Hanhart Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that either leaves the babies with undeveloped limbs or undeveloped organs. I was the 12th baby in the medical history that they have ever seen this happen to at the time and 8 of them have passed away due to undeveloped organs. Growing up I didn’t realize that I was different, I was just a happy kid living his life. Until I got to middle school… I think we can all agree that middle school and highschool are probably the most judgemental times of our lives. It was like a big slap in the face for me. I realized that kids were taller than me, I realized people pointing fingers and whispering to their friends like “Hey look at that guy”. It got to a point when I was absolutely disgusted with myself. I did not want to go outside, I did not want to look in the mirror, I hated my body and the fact that out of billions of people all over the world, I was the one that this happened to. I was blaming everyone for what happen to me. It even gotten to the point where I thought about taking my life… 
Fortunately, something happened in my life and I was able to find my purpose and find my "WHY"...
My freshman year of high school, my best friend, Dan Buhagiar, joined the bowling team. One day when we were hanging out like usual, he told me, "Nick, you should try out for the bowling team. It'll be fun. All you have to do is throw the ball down the lane, and you get to eat cheese fries." 
 As an Italian with a big appetite, anything involving food, I was down for. But alI seriousness, I agreed because I was looking for something to do. I was looking for a team to join. I was looking for some sort of support system. I wanted to be a part of something. I wanted a bigger group of friends, so I tried out for the bowling team.
The Junior Varsity team was not made up of the best bowlers. The varsity team, which my friend Dan was on, had the starting lineup. Dan supported me, even though evidence was pointing to the fact that I was not a great bowler. He was always saying, "Dude, the JV team is undefeated. Being on the JV team is not a bad thing." Other people did not see it that way. They way they looked at it, sure, the JV team was undefeated—against other JV teams.
 All this was soon not to matter anyways, because when I joined the JV team, I gave them their first loss. I knew they were kind of pissed off at me because of the loss, but they never said anything to me about it specifically. Either way, I soon realized that bowling was not for me.
I finished up the season that freshman year, and I never bowled on a team again. Dan did the same. Instead of bowling sophomore year, he went to wrestling. All of my other friends were stud wrestlers, too. My older brother had been a wrestler when he was in high school as well. I went to his matches as a kid.
 I always looked up to my brother and all the other wrestlers I knew. They were true bad asses in my eyes. I knew how tough wrestling was, both physically and mentally. It takes a warrior to get out on the wrestling mat. When Dan went back to wrestling, he and all my other friends who were wrestlers started saying to me, "Nick, you always tell people to try new things. Why don't you try wrestling?"
My response to them was, "I can't. My arm." What I mean by that is my right arm was about five inches longer than it is now, and my bone was growing faster than my skin. It used to look like a chicken wing but now I call it a potato… Yes a potato…. This made the skin super tight around the bone, and it was very sensitive. I couldn't touch it on anything or it would hurt. If I wrestled, my bone could literally break right through my skin and create a bloody mess on the mat.
 I was not in any shape to wrestle and I was kind of chubby. But as I thought more about it, I came to the realization that if I was a part of the wrestling team, I could be with my friends, and it would probably also help me instill more confidence in myself and help me become more comfortable in my own skin. 
 So, I made a conscious decision to go into wrestling to help me with my confidence. I wanted to shovel my way out of the hole I was in. After I had made up my mind that this is what I wanted to do, I went home to my parents and told them, "I want to be a wrestler."
My mom responded, "Oh, God, no. Wrestling is the most physical sport. God forbid you hit your arm and your bone pops through your skin. Then what would we do?"
 It took me all of five seconds to come up with a solution. 
Without hesitation, I asked my parents, "Can we cut my arm off?"
My mom screamed “Nick are you crazy?! First off the proper way to say it is AMPUTATE, you are so aggresive with your terms." I said, "can we amputate it!?" My arm was the only thing holding me back. It wasn't serving me in any way. I really wasn't a very persuasive speaker back then, but I got the point across to my parents clearly enough. A few hours later, we called and scheduled an appointment for my arm to be amputated.
A few weeks later, I went in for the surgery. I don't even remember being taken into the operating room. They put me under, and when I woke up, they had lasered five inches off of my arm bone and made the point around it cushiony so I could literally push with it and not worry about the bone breaking through. 
I remember thinking, as I was on the way to have this done, that it was going to really improve my life. Other people might have thought it was strange that I was willing to go through all of this just to be able to wrestle, but I knew what I wanted, and I was willing to sacrifice for it.
 I walked away from the surgery with 17 stitches in my arm. It felt like my arm was still there, but it wasn't. It was one of the weirdest things I've ever felt. The stitches made it feel like my arm was being pulled off because of how tight they were. When I went back to school, I swear I was the happiest kid that just cut his arm off. To me, it was worth it. When I wanted to become a wrestler, the only challenge, the only bump that I saw, was the fact that my arm hurt, not the fact that I was born with no legs and one arm, because I knew that if I worked harder than anyone in the room my hard work and dedication would simply make up for my lack of limbs.
 If there is something you want to do in life, I can guarantee you that there are going to be obstacles in your way when you try to pursue it. You're going to have to make many sacrifices throughout your journey. If you don't have to make a sacrifice to pursue your dream, then you aren't dreaming big enough!
 Sacrifice is what will propel you towards what you want. Everything worth doing in life comes at a cost. That's what makes it worth doing. If things are just handed to you, then they have no value. If you want something bad enough, give everything you've got in order to achieve it. 
My senior year, the gymnasium was packed with people who were there to watch me wrestle. I got standing ovations when I lost. This just pissed me off. I thought to myself, "Why are you clapping for me? I just got my butt kicked. You're not supposed to applaud losing."
But then one time I came off the mat and this lady came up to me crying. She said to me, "Nick, I want to thank you. My daughter never wanted to do a sport. She never wanted to do any kind of extracurricular activity, but when she saw you out there wrestling, you changed her perspective. You motivated her to do something different. Now she wants to try everything she can."
This was what I call my quantum moment. It blew my mind when I realized that I had been on the mat wrestling for myself and trying to boost my own confidence, but in the process, I had changed at least one person's life in a positive way. The thought occurred to me then, "How many perspectives can I change for the better if I focus my energy on helping people?" 
In that moment, I realized I was put on Earth to be an example for others.
 As I moved along in life, I realized that all the things that I thought were disgusting about myself and all the things that I thought were negative about me, were actually my greatest strengths. I firmly believe and often tell people that the most attractive thing you could be is different. The sexiest thing you could be is different. In business and in personal life, everybody is always just trying to fit in. But it's not what you to do to fit in with the crowd that makes you attractive. It's what you do to stand out from the crowd that makes you attractive.

Shortly I realized that I am capable of achieving anything I set my sights on. I continued to aim higher and higher, knowing that every day I live is considered a medical miracle. I made cameos on TV shows like “The Walking Dead” and became a social media sensation gaining more than 1 million followers on “Vine” in less than a year. Most recently I decided to become a competitive bodybuilder, showing I can achieve physical greatness. In 2017, I won the 3rd place in the “men’s physique novice” category, in my first competition at the “Iron Bay Classic”.   

Now, I am sharing my experience with people all over the world as a keynote speaker at schools, universities, nonprofits as well as Fortune 500 companies. I am using my challenges to inspire others to push beyond their suffering and...
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  • Turn your "losses and failures" into gifts
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the rock says....
"Life deals us cards on a daily basis, but we always get to decide how we’re gonna play ’em. Keep crushing life my man and inspiring all those around you. And thank you for helping frame my perspective on life just a little bit more..."
"Life deals us cards on a daily basis, but we always get to decide how we’re gonna play ’em. Keep crushing life my man and inspiring all those around you. And thank you for helping frame my perspective on life just a little bit more..."
"Life deals us cards on a daily basis, but we always get to decide how we’re gonna play ’em. Keep crushing life my man and inspiring all those around you. And thank you for helping frame my perspective on life just a little bit more..."
"I don’t know if we’ve had anyone sitting there in that kind of posture at your age bro that is maxing out life at the pace that you are... I am so proud of you..."
"Life deals us cards on a daily basis, but we always get to decide how we’re gonna play ’em. Keep crushing life my man and inspiring all those around you. And thank you for helping frame my perspective on life just a little bit more..."
Marc Hardgrove - Forbes Council
“The inspiring way Nick lives his life prompted me to ask him to speak at our companies trade show. And his lessons continued to motivate me in my own life. “
Mike McCarty - Regional Owner for the Keller Williams Realty Greater Pennsylvania Region
"Nick captivates, motivates and awakens people emotionally to what’s possible in their lives. He authentically connects to any audience in a way that no ones else can and inspires them to re-think their challenges and re-frame them as big opportunities..."
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