Despite being born with no arms or legs, Brett Eastburn has managed to live a fulfilling life, inspiring those around him to live gratifying lives themselves.
As a motivational speaker, comedian, and, most recently, Twitch streamer, he seeks to spread the wisdom that has brought him to where he is today: “You’re handicapped if you choose to be… It’s only over when you say, ‘I can’t.’”
Whereas most people would view being born with Quadrilateral Limbs Deficiency as a burden, Brett has chosen to see his condition as a positive, a vehicle by which he can inspire others:
“I discovered very early on that just going out and enjoying my life, being prosperous,” he said, “people see that and start to realize their own potential.” To Brett, he was born to motivate.
But how did Brett Eastrburn come to be the success he is today? As with anything else in life, his road towards success was paved with obstacles. But through a positive mindset, coupled with the support of his family and friends, he was able to overcome them.
What Was Brett Eastburn’s Childhood Like?
Brett was born in 1971. He recounts the story his parents told him about his birth: “The doctor came in and sat next to her [Brett’s mother] all somber and said, ‘Your son was born without arms and legs.’
“My dad was like, ‘This is gonna be a rough one,’ and my mom responded, ‘I don’t care,’ and apparently that was the last time they ever spoke about it. From that point on, they just raised me like they should have.”
While Brett believes that regardless of parental support, his inherent tenacity would have eventually brought him somewhere close to where he is today, he does not undervalue his mother and fathers’ love in shaping him into a positive human being.
He also cites the treatment he received from his community as something that made him feel as normal as anyone else. “I grew up in a small farming community,” he said. “When I hit the road, I’m this amazing limbless guy. In my hometown, however, I’m just Brett.”
What Are Some of Brett Eastburn’s Early Achievements?
Even in his youth, Brett had adopted the notion that he could do anything he could set his mind to. In fact, discouragement from people seemed to only motivate him.
Even said without cruel intentions, the mere insinuations that his condition would prevent him from playing sports actually made him want to play sports more. So, in high school he played basketball, swam, and wrestled, even placing 4th in the 1988 AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) national wrestling competition.
While Brett’s athletic achievements were monumental to him personally, they didn’t fulfill his true desire of making a positive impact on the world.
He took what he learned about himself through playing sports—that seeing his prosperousness unlocked others’ potential—and made a career out of it, becoming a motivational speaker in early adulthood.
Brett Eastburn Becomes a Comedian
While motivational speaking is the avenue by which Brett became comfortable performing in front of large audiences, he quickly realized that it was not the easiest way to spread his message. In an effort to appeal to more people, he took up stand-up comedy, an artform that he still practices to this day.
Much of Brett’s comedy is self-referential, taking full advantage of the audience’s presumptions about him and flipping them on their heads, demonstrating the fact that he is not someone to feel sorry for, but someone to admire. He always incorporates inspirational elements into his act, ensuring that the audience does not only laugh, but walks away from the show feeling motivated.
His knack for comedy has taken him all over the world, including Japan, Panama, Canada, Switzerland, and Mexico. He even authored the self-help book I’m Not Missing Anything in 2011, in which he provides “problem-solving tools to assist you in attaining a successful and fulfilled life.”
What Makes Brett Eastburn an Everyday Hero?
Brett Eastburn is not a hero simply because he has overcome the obstacles that life has thrown at him; he is a hero because he uses his experiences to motivate others. While he would no doubt still be considered inspirational if were to live only for himself, it is his desire to motivate that makes him a hero.
According to his website, “Brett has spoken for corporate motivation events, corporate comedy/motivation events, club comedy, high schools, junior highs, grades 2-6, churches, industry, military, police groups, and more.” It is therefore difficult to even fathom the amount of people who have had the opportunity to hear his story, to recognize their own potentials because of him.
“My message is that you’re only handicapped if you choose to be. You can accomplish whatever major goal you want… As long as you don’t stop trying, anything is possible,” Brett said.
What Are Brett Eastburn’s Goals?
While Brett’s primary goal of getting his message out to as many people as possible is somewhat abstract, he has a smaller but more concrete goal of appearing on America’s Got Talent.
“Getting on America’s Got Talent is a pretty big goal. But most of my most outstanding achievements weren’t even that outstanding to me, as they were just me doing normal things. Like, I’ve been applauded for eating a hamburger by myself,” Brett said.
“One issue with getting on America’s Got Talent is convincing producers I can do a good job. They do like comedians with disabilities. But if I don’t achieve that goal, I’ll just find another venue, another show.”
While being featured on America’s Got Talent is something Brett dreams of, it is ultimately just a vehicle by which he can push forward his greater aspiration, which is to simply spread his message.
To Brett, time is of the essence, as he, for the first time in his eyes, came face to face with his own mortality only a year ago, suffering a heart attack that he is thankfully fully recovered from. Like everything else in life, Brett chose to view the incident as a positive: It was a wake-up call that life is fleeting.
“Life’s short, I wanna get my message out before I go,” he said. “I can’t stand it when people just give up. It just drives me nuts.”
Brett Eastburn on Heroism
To some, Brett’s heroism lies in the mere fact that he is living a happy life despite his condition. However, to Brett, this is far from heroic: He lives like a normal person because he is a normal person.
He believes that heroes are people who live in service to their fellow humans. His career is not to garner pity, but to show that, no matter what afflictions one might face, they can attain a fulfilling life.
To his audience he says the following: “Let me give you the definition of handicapped: A handicap is something that can get in your way, slow you down, or stop you completely. And I’m a person, not a thing, so I’m not handicapped. And once I started taking handicaps out of my life, things got better for me.”
Brett Eastburn Is a Hero
Brett Eastburn was born with a condition that many outsiders would consider tragic, but he refuses to view it this way.
According to him, had it not been for his condition, we would never have been able to help as many people as he has. He has lived a full life, but more importantly, he has lived a happy life, accomplishing feats that for some are unthinkable.