“I think the big takeaway there, you know, and also a similar takeaway to what my parents had is that they didn’t buy into the inherent limitations that others would place upon us… You know for me, when I was born, there were a lot of doctors and specialists and other people that sort of hinted at the fact that, and I get why they did this, in kind of setting that expectation, for my family to not want to be disappointed or whatever else, but they basically told my family that you have to be prepared for the fact that Kyle’s never going have a normal life, he’s never going to be able to live on his own, never going to be able to go in a normal school, never going to be able to do really much of anything. And, you know it was like, I think some parents, you know, if my parents heard that and not having been my parents, if they’d had a different mindset, you know, some parents would be more impressionable and think that that would actually be true.” -Kyle Maynard
In this episode of Pursuing Health, I chat with motivational speaker and best selling author Kyle Maynard. Kyle is an entrepreneur, an ESPY award-winning mixed martial arts athlete, a CrossFit box owner, and a photographer… and he has achieved all this despite being born with congenital amputation, a condition that has left him with arms that end at the elbows and legs that end near his knees.
Throughout Kyle’s childhood, doctors suggested to his family that he would never be able to live a normal life because of his physical condition. Luckily, his parents disregarded these opinions and instilled a can-do attitude in Kyle. In kindergarten, he opted to discontinue wearing prosthetics. By middle school, he was participating in football, and by high school, he was dominating on the wrestling mat.
At the age of 19, Kyle authored a New York Times best selling autobiography, and was featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show and Larry King Live.
During the CrossFit Sectionals in 2010, Kyle climbed Stone Mountain – an experience he credits with sparking his interesting in mountaineering. He went on to become the first quadruple amputee to reach the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Aconcagua without the aid of prosthetics.
Kyle loves to inspire others to live a life of growth by overcoming challenges and adversity. He firmly believes that a positive mindset can make all the difference in achieving your goals.
I recently caught up with Kyle to talk about how his childhood and how his family helped shape his belief that he can accomplish anything, how challenging himself and facing adversity has forced him to grow, and what he hopes others can learn from his success.
In this episode, we discuss:
- Kyle’s early memories of realizing he was different
- How his dad and grandpa’s engineering creativity were critical to cultivating his belief that he could accomplish any task with the proper tool
- What led Kyle to make the choice to live without prosthetics
- How his parents helped to make him a person that grew through adversity
- What the future of medicine can look like when taking into account individual circumstances and encouraging a positive mindset
- How Kyle likes to introduce doubt and uncertainty to get people to question and think in a different way.
- How sports played a huge role in his childhood
- How Kyle persisted through constant defeat at wrestling to ultimately become a very strong wrestler, so much so that some thought he was unfairly advantaged
- His photography and film obsession
- Kyle’s introduction to CrossFit through the “Nasty Girls” video
- How CrossFit has made him feel stronger and more prepared than ever before
- The upside and value of not specializing
- How climbing Stone Mountain at CrossFit Sectionals in 2010 sparked his interest in mountaineering
- What it felt like to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro
- How carrying Army Private Corey Johnson’s ashes with him to the summit was the single greatest honor of Kyle’s life, and gave him the fortitude to continue climbing
- How seeking adversity has helped Kyle to prove to himself what he is capable of
- Three things that Kyle does on a regular basis that have the biggest positive impact on his health
- One thing he struggles to implement that could have a big impact on his health
- What a healthy life looks like to him
- Julie Foucher’s blog on The Human Body
- Kyle Maynard at the Georgia Sectionals
- Kyle Maynard performs Filthy Fifty
- No Excuses CrossFit
- No Excuses: The True Story of a Congenital Amputee Who Became a Champion in Wrestling and in Life
If you like this episode, please subscribe to Pursuing Health on iTunes and give it a rating. I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below and on social media using the hashtag #PursuingHealth. I look forward to bringing you future episodes with inspiring individuals and ideas about health every other Tuesday.
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