Breaking News
More () »

'There’s so much life to be experienced': St. Louis man inspired to live life to the fullest after losing best friend

"There’s never a shortage of incredible things that are possible for us to experience."

ST. LOUIS — Joe Fingerhut believes in taking on life’s challenges without the fear of failure.

“If you tell yourself you are going to fail, and there’s reasons why you can’t, you find reasons to fail,” he said.

Fingerhut is a motivational speaker in the St Louis area. He encourages the people in his audience to step out of their comfort zones. He calls those new areas “the scary.”

“Things that maybe you didn’t picture yourself doing or didn’t picture yourself able to do. That uncertainty, that’s where the scary is,” he said.

“Figure out something you’d like to do that’s the scary. That’s the fun. That’s the juice,” Fingerhut added.

A scary thing for Fingerhut was teaching himself how to ride a unicycle. He bought one but it took some time before he rode it.

“It was in my apartment for a while. I would tell my friends, ‘I’ve got a unicycle’ and they were like, ‘OK can you ride it?’ I mean eventually,” he told 5 On Your Side.

He now uses that experience as part of his presentation.

“How to ride a unicycle in three easy steps. Get on. Fall a thousand times and get back on and ride away,” he said.

Fingerhut started facing life’s challenges at a young age when he lost a childhood friend.

“My friend Mark Garvey, met him first day of kindergarten. We played all the sports together. We’re on this excellent basketball team 8th grade, my dad’s the coach. We beat our biggest rivals who we could not beat. Best night of our lives,” he said.

“The next morning, we get a phone call. My best friend, my brother, died at age 14,” he continued.

Mark had been killed in a 3-car accident. It was during his wake when Fingerhut heard something that changed his perspective on life.

“A relative comes up. She’s got good intentions and she just says, ‘Think of all the things your friend will never have to experience.’ Responsibility, failure, rejection, heartbreak, loss,” he said.

“I don’t view life as what I have to do. I want to view life as what I get to do,” he added.

The mindset led him to do adventurous things as he got older from teaching English in Japan to traveling around the world.

“Led me to backpacking through Europe, not having studied the language nothing, about it. I just went,” he said.

He believes he was inspired to live a life that would make his friend proud.

“I wanted to live life for both of us. My absolute cornerstone of my outlook on life, my attitude about taking advantage of opportunities and of every moment,” he explained.

Fingerhut rides his unicycle during his presentations to show how accomplishments can come from doing something new.

“The mind growth of overcoming. There’s so much life to be experienced. So many skills to learn. So many people to meet. Places to go. There’s never a shortage of incredible things that are possible for us to experience,” he said.

The approach of branching out into the world is working for him.

“Every experience that I’ve had has led me to where I am now and I am happy,” he said.

If you would like to learn more about him, click here.

Before You Leave, Check This Out