Despite the Odds: The Magnificent Michael Crossland | Inspirational Speaker
He’s never been a stuntman or trained in circus acrobatics, but Michael Crossland’s death-defying feats have landed him a spot on MTV’s hot show ‘Ridiculousness’.
You could say that a TV series showing crazy stunt videos with millions of American fans is not Michael’s average audience, however, there is nothing average about this 32 year old Australian, or his life’s journey to this point.
There’s something about Michael?
The challenges came early, at 11 months of age Michael was diagnosed with stage 4 Neuroblastoma, an incurable cancer of the central nervous system, and Michael has fought cancer and its impacts his entire life.
He was one of 25 children who were part of a cancer test drug trial. This drug resulted in their little bodies being burned from the inside out. They were all transferred from the Oncology ward to the Burns Unit and sadly within 90 days 24 of the 25 had died. Michael was the only survivor.
“You can’t help but be scared when the drug that they’re putting in your arm is going into other kids arms in the same room and, every other day, one of them is getting wheeled out in a body bag” explains Michael.
“I was the lucky one, not just because I’m alive but because all I had to do was feel the pain, my mum was the unlucky one because she had to watch it. She had to make the decision every day to keep putting a drug in me that killed everybody that was on it. That’s real fear.”
Despite the odds given to him by the medical profession over his many years of illness and treatment, Michael did survive and life began to look almost normal. Then, at age 12, he suffered his first heart attack and at 19 his second heart attack! The second attack came after being selected for the Australian baseball team and while playing baseball for Texas in the United States. Baseball at this level requires dedication, determination, talent and hard work. Mike’s second heart attack ended his baseball career and emotionally broke his heart, but didn’t break his spirit!
Once again Michael picked himself up, brushed himself off and at the age of 23, full of youthful ambition and the knowledge that he had cheated death three times, redirected his dream and pursued a career in corporate finance. His rise to the top was swift and well rewarded. He was doing extremely well and had the big house, a full bank account and fancy sports car to match – that was until the GFC hit and it all disappeared.
The pursuit of materialism was volatile and didn’t make Michael happy. It was at that point, when suffering Bacterial meningitis and hitting rock bottom, that Michael reassessed the real meaning and value of his life and focused his future on understanding just two things… Defining success and mastering the gift of giving.
In a country where heroes are often portrayed as sports people or millionaires, this young Australian man is the real example of a true hero! Michael has always believed in miracles and has always had a dream and the undying determination to achieve the impossible, no matter the size of the obstacles that are placed in front of him. Being asked almost monthly to visit hospitals around the country by kids, adults and parents as their wish before dying is so very emotional for Michael.
Now, one of Australia’s most sought after inspirational speakers, Michael travels the world telling his story, inspiring and motivating all walks of life. Michael has spoken in front of more than 1 million people in the last 5 years. He has recently featured in a humanitarian documentary about the countless lives saved through his orphanage and a school he supports in Haiti. His autobiography Kids Don’t Get Cancer is a #1 best seller across six countries and he has just completed an international tour which included 44 flights in 63 days across 9 countries. He has featured on TV and radio shows around the world including the award-winning feature on his life aired on the Australian Story.
Michael has definitely mastered the gift of giving and truly understands the real meaning of success.
In July 2016 Michael was engaged in a speaking event in Los Angeles alongside Kelly Slater, Tony Hawke and Rob Dyrdek, the host of MTV’s Ridiculousness. Marvelling at his journey and inspiring lessons, Rob approached Mike and invited him to be a guest on Ridiculousness, a show that regularly attracts millions of viewers across America. With a keen sense of adventure, Michael agreed and jumped back on a plane to L.A. to film his piece on Ridiculousness.
Through the unlikely yet entertaining avenue of ‘Ridiculousness’, Michael once again finds a way to share his journey and revel in the opportunity to reach out to even more people.
Michael Crossland is an optimist and a generous human being. While he has evaded death many times, it is fair to say that he seems more than just alive.
Michael is the master of optimising life and bringing us all along for the journey!
Some of Michael’s Principles
Drawing on the knowledge and experience he has collected from his journey so far, Michael has formulated what he calls Principles. These principles help to navigate life’s every challenge to live above the line and embrace every moment.
The first step is to Move. When faced with a problem your first instinct may be to curl up in bed and pull the covers over your head, but what you should do is move. Go for a swim, a walk, a ride or a surf. Moving helps process the cycle of thinking and get you to a better place in order to see the big picture and to make sure the next decision is positive and productive.
The second step is to Share. Talk about your problem with someone, a friend, family member, counsellor and share what has happened and tell them how you are feeling. This is the next step in processing the problem and ultimately getting through it.
The third step is to Help! Extend your hand to help others in need. There are so many ways that you can make a difference – pay for someone’s meal, volunteer at a shelter, donate blood. Helping others allows you to find perspective in your own life. Your problems can seem disproportionally small when compared to others.
Michael advocates these three simple principles to shift your mindset and allow you to achieve true perspective on your current situation. He believes that it is not the adversity in your life that defines you, but how you deal with that adversity. Every experience no matter how hard offers an opportunity to grow and change for the better.