IF John Coutis could change one thing about his life, it would be to finish school – he left in year 10.
There’s no longing for what some might consider a normal life – apart from a mild desire to kick his brothers up the backside. As far as Mr Coutis is concerned, he’s never needed his legs.
There are no ‘what ifs’, only what’s next.
Mr Coutis was speaking to students at Trinity Anglican College on Monday, hoping to lend them a little bit of his wisdom about resilience and overcoming obstacles.
His story as a unique one – born with a disability which meant his legs were useless, Mr Coutis ultimately made the decision to have them removed entirely.
Now using a skateboard to get around, he said it was important for young people to be able to confront and deal with failure.
“In today’s society, to be quite honest, a lot of our kids are wrapped in cotton wool and bubble wrap,” he said.
“They’re not learning about resilience and it frightens me, it frightens a lot of people.
“We’ve stopped rolling our apples in the dirt.
“They have to learn to overcome challenges or they won’t be able to accept things.”
Mr Coutis covered a number of topics, including how he had been targeted by bullies at school and the challenges of raising his son.
“The more we learn, the better we are – knowledge is king,” he said.
“I’m not scared of failure and making mistakes.
“I make millions of mistakes every day, but we learn from them and move on.
“You have to get off your backside and have a go.
“You have one chance to do your very best – do not waste it.
“If half a guy can travel all around, ride a skateboard everywhere and do what I do, so can you.”
Year 11 students James Russell and Bryhar Day said Mr Coutis’ presentation had been interesting.
“It was really good, it was really motivational,” Bryhar said.
“Especially with exams coming up, it was really important, he motivated us to set a lot of goals for ourselves.”
James said Mr Coutis had a unique perspective.
“It was about how we approach life and our respect for others,” he said.
"No matter what happens, you can always pick yourself up.”
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