Kyle Maynard, motivational speaker, author, entrepreneur, and athlete addressed the student body about his experiences involving adversity during this month’s Convocation.
“I was born and I didn’t have any arms or legs and so a lot of doctors initially told me that I’m never going to have a normal life,” Maynard said. “The decision that my parents made, and what changed my life radically, was that they weren’t going to focus on all of the stuff people said I couldn’t do, but instead do whatever they could to give me a normal life.”
Although Kyle Maynard was born without arms or legs, he did not want to use that as an excuse for him not to lead a normal life.
Maynard was a wrestler in high school and college, set records in weightlifting, fought in mixed martial arts, and also became the first man to crawl on his own to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa.
During Convocation, Maynard told stories of how failing many times allowed him to finally succeed. He believes that this applies to everyone, including himself.
[pullquote]“I don’t think it’s possible for any of us to reach our potential unless we find out why we are here,” Maynard said. “Find your why, find your truth, and you’ll realize anything really is possible.”[/pullquote]
“When I started trying to pick up a spoon, I had to drop the spoon a thousand times over, over, over, and over again,” Maynard said. “I think we sometimes compare ourselves to other people and see that they’re doing some amazing things and think that we’re not that good or capable. But we don’t see the thousands of failures that came before that.”
Later in the day, Maynard gave another speech and answered questions with his business manager and best friend Joey Leonardo.
He is currently training for the World Jiu-Jitsu No-GI Championship on Oct. 4 and 5 as well as preparing to climb Mt. Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Western and Southern hemispheres, in 2015.
Maynard also spoke about other future goals and provided stories that demonstrated how helping others can lead to helping yourself.
“Want to be a great leader in your community?” Maynard asked. “Help other people get what they want. Want to be a great college student? Help your classmates get what they want, help your professors get what they want. We all have ways to go and impact people through our own personal experiences, through our own learning, and that’s a pretty cool thing.”
Maynard emphasized getting past the excuses and being accountable to them as well. Once the excuses are out in the public and people declared how their life would be without those excuses, he believes that people can begin to do something about them within their lives.
He also articulated that circumstances shouldn’t determine what life you lead, but rather that you should determine what life you lead.
“If you chop off your arm or your leg, does that change who you are?” Maynard asked. “If you change your name, are you still you? Are you your body, are you your name? Are you even your experiences or memories? A lot of those memories are just as vague and distant as the future. And then at that point you can be whatever you want.”
Maynard strongly believes that anybody has the ability to do anything as long as they figure out what they need to do.
“I don’t think it’s possible for any of us to reach our potential unless we find out why we are here,” Maynard said. “Find your why, find your truth, and you’ll realize anything really is possible.”