Sam Cawthorn believes a person is the average of their five closest friends.
The five people closest to him saw Mr Cawthorn through a gruelling recovery after the loss of his right arm.
In 2006, he was pronounced dead after falling asleep at the wheel and colliding with a truck.
He was on life support for a week, in hospital for a year and with a permanent disability to his leg told he would never walk again.
Today he has spoken to tens of thousands of people, delivering his message to not bounce back but bounce forward through difficult times.
“The company we keep is a reflection of who we are,” Mr Cawthorn said.
“[Kids] need to learn this now.”
The father of two delivered his message to students at All Saints College, St Joseph’s Campus, Lochinvar, as part of the school’s St Mary of the Cross MacKillop Feast Day on Friday.
“The day is a celebration of the life of Mary MacKillop,” school ministry co-ordinator Erin McCort said.
“It’s important as part of our Josephite Charism that we uphold the values of Mary MacKillop.”
She said Mr Cawthorn’s resilience was a virtue shared by the saint.
A former youth futurist for the federal government, Mr Cawthorn has established a charity to support people with a disability in some of the poorest places in the world.
Hundreds of students hung on each word of Mr Cawthorn’s engaging presentation.
“I didn’t have a passion for speaking so much, but a passion for contributing and adding value,” Mr Cawthorn said.