How to Live Without Limits – Kyle Maynard (#251)

“Dreams don’t have to manifest as you imagined. They just have to set you on a path because there is always a way.”

– Kyle Maynard

Kyle Maynard (@kylemaynard) is a motivational speaker, bestselling author, entrepreneur, and ESPY award-winning mixed martial arts athlete, known for becoming the first quadruple amputee to reach the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Aconcagua without the aid of prosthetics.

Oprah Winfrey called Kyle “one of the most inspiring young men you will ever hear about.” Arnold Schwarzenegger described him as “the real deal,” “a champion human,” and “one of the most inspiring people” he’s ever met. Even the great Wayne Gretzky has spoken of Kyle’s “greatness.”

Despite being born with a rare condition that left him with arms that end at the elbows and legs that end near his knees, he learned early on with the support of his family to live life independently and without prosthetics. Kyle thrives on physical challenges and, following a few rough middle school football seasons, he went on to become a champion wrestler, CrossFit Certified Instructor and gym owner, competitive MMA/Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighter, world record-setting weightlifter, and skilled mountaineer.

This episode comes from my new television show Fear{less}, where I interview world-class performers on stage about how they’ve overcome doubt, conquered fear, and made their toughest decisions. You can watch the entire first episode with illusionist David Blaine for free at (To watch all episodes, please visit DIRECTV NOW.)

We recorded three hours of material and only one hour was used for the TV show. This podcast episode is almost entirely new content that didn’t appear on TV.


You can find the transcript of this episode here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

#251: How to Live Without Limits - Kyle Maynard

Want to hear another podcast with an incredibly inspirational person? — Listen to my conversation with Nicholas McCarthy. In this episode, we discuss how to overcome limitations, proving doubters wrong, how to manage ego, and much more. (Stream below or right-click here to download):

#174: The One-Handed Concert Pianist, Nicholas McCarthy

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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

Selected Links from the Episode

  • Connect with Kyle Maynard:

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

Show Notes

  • Kyle talks about growing up with three sisters, supportive grandparents, a wrestling father, and a mother who could have run the Cobra Kai Dojo. [08:14]
  • The most powerful lesson Kyle’s grandmother taught him. [09:37]
  • Reading people’s eyes as “subtitles.” [11:36]
  • Is Howard Stern’s indictment of Kyle’s dad. [12:50]
  • On learning to drive in Atlanta traffic. [13:27]
  • What drove Kyle toward athletics? [16:26]
  • Kyle talks about winning GNC’s World’s Strongest Teen in 2009 — and what he wishes he could tell his ten-year-old self. [17:37]
  • “Stop helping me!” [22:28]
  • Is anyone really self-made? [23:58]
  • Getting into Brazilian jiu-jitsu. [24:42]
  • What Kyle [and I have] learned from being thrown to the Internet wolves. [26:16]
  • What goes through Kyle’s mind before competing? [30:26]
  • It’s not about the people who don’t get it; it’s about the people who do get it. [33:34]
  • How does Kyle stay consistently positive? [35:25]
  • On wanting to serve after 9/11 and having profound respect for veterans. [38:42]
  • Is there anything from Kyle’s book that he’d revise? [41:42]
  • When traveling, what does a workout look like for Kyle? [43:53]
  • If Kyle had to give a TED Talk on something for which he’s not well known, what would he discuss? [44:47]
  • How much time elapsed between thinking of climbing Kilimanjaro and actually doing it? [52:45]

People Mentioned

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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23 Replies to “How to Live Without Limits – Kyle Maynard (#251)”

  1. Thank you Tim, to both you and Kyle, for an amazing interview. Do you know how I can purchase/watch the show from Australia? I’ve contacted DirectTV and they say it’s only available for US residents, but I’d really like to watch the episode with Kyle with my children. Many thanks for all you do.

  2. Hi Tim, any way for your Australian listeners/watchers to access the TV show? Direct TV does not work in Australia.

  3. Hi,

    Tim , I bought your book the four-hour work week it is an amazing book I am reading now, I want to quit my day job start freelance copywriting what do you recommend to first step to get start freelance copywriting career?

  4. Hi Tim,

    I am your biggest fan and have been listening your shows for quite some time now. It therefore saddens me to notice thw lowering of quality ever since you started to broadcast the “Fearless” episodes. Honestly, they are boring to lusten to… i hope you will get back to the old format soon.


    Sami Miettinen

  5. Tim-

    I know you don’t have time to read most of these but i’m a long time reader/listener and first time commenter so if someone should happen across this i just wanted to say how grateful i am for your work and appreciate the breadth just as much as the depth of your content. Your interview with Jocko was the first i heard when i attended the workboat show in New Orleans where he provided the keynote last December and mine and my family’s lives have been better ever since. As vital as the content has been from health and stoicism to business and happiness i think what has inspired my change more than anything is your passion for learning and life which reignited my curiosity and has improved every part of our lives. Articles like this one are so important and push me further because everyone can be interested in health, business and philosophy but episodes like BJ Miller’s and this one are really important to us all because we all think we have it so rough and make excuses everyday why we can’t optimize all of those other areas and just knowing that there are people out there like Kyle and BJ not only inspire and motivate but give hope to a world that really needs it. I sincerely apologize if you actually read this because i know it’s long and your time is valuable but as apologetic as i am I am far more thankful for your work.

    P.S. – Thanks for the Tao of Seneca download, i’m diving in today during lunch, a modest one of course.

    Thanks Tim I look forward to many more great podcasts and books hopefully.

  6. Love Kyle’s fearlessness Tim. When world icons like Ahhhnold and Oprah are calling you great, well, you are on to something. I dig the lead in quote – always – because Kyle shares how dreams often manifest.

    [Moderator: Additional text removed]

  7. Tim, love your podcasts! When you mention an old episode to listen to, like Ed Cook for memory, it would be fantastic if you would mention either an episode number or an approximate date. Takes forever to find them otherwise, unless there’s a search feature I totally failed to find.

    Thanks! Keep up the fabulous work.

  8. “God doesn’t make mistakes.” Didn’t know how much I needed to hear this, and I hope that I can always remember it in my rough times.

    Thanks once again, Tim.

  9. Kyle is an inspiration. I’ve met one double amputee that later went on to be a movie star. It’s amazing how you can do more with “less”. On another note, I emailed/messaged you about The Rolex Prop. Would love to hear your thoughts on the idea, Tim, thanks!

  10. So I’m reading 4HB and I tried the an workouts for the first time. After finishing and moving on to biceps I got a terrible headache. With some research, it appears to be some form of a weight lifters headache. I’ve been lifting for about a year and never experienced anything like that. Do you think it could be related to the odd breathing involved with the “cat vomit” exercise?

  11. Do not apologize for thinking of the Anton Ego speech.

    The movie is silly and fun, but during that speech the fourth wall melts away; not punched, not shattered, just gently lifted like a mist as we hear Anton Ego drop away, as we hear Peter O’Toole speak the words given him by the writers, but which in that moment are his own, while also being the voice of every actor, writer, chef, artist and creator as they look into the face of critics.

    The speech is an excellent retelling of the man in the arena, with some very relevant updates. It is an antidote to the “you can do anything!” propaganda which has done so much harm, while still holding on to the “you can do more than you think” and “greatness can come from the most unlikely places” pieces.

    It is a very worthy piece of reflection, well achieved.

  12. Hi Tim,

    Question for you: How do you deal with conversations with others in your life (be it family, friends, the dentist) who seem to have a worldview totally different than yours, with negativity and self-imposed limitations. I’ve met people with toxic or backwards ways of thinking that I’d like to introduce a positive change to, but emotions and ideologies seem to offend. What tricks do you use affect positive change without coming off as brash and offensive?

  13. I just got Directtvnow and had no idea about your show! I have listened on and off for a few years, own some of your books and I really like this series! I watched this episode first and it was fantastic! My sister was born with spina bifida and my parents treated her the exact same way. She needs a wheelchair and crutches, but that didn’t stop her from skiing, being a part of swim team, a bowling league, rushing a sorority, getting her masters or anything else. She is an amazing person but still can get under my skin, after all, she is my sister ;). God bless you for doing these stories. They are inspiring, as are you. I don’t agree with several things you have done interviews on, but one thing I do understand is the need to question, research and learn. Life is so interesting! You are very brave to have done what you have. I have a 5 yr old that has such an intriguing questioning mind with much better questions than I could ever come up with. If you ever mentor, please let me know, I have an amazing little guy for you to teach how to learn.

  14. Hi Tim,

    Thank you for always posting many great things to help everyone! Very much appreciated!

    Curious did you change the whole format of your website/blog it doesn’t load while on the computer. I don’t know if anyone else is experiencing this too.

  15. Hello Tim! I like the idea of a TV show, however there are 2 little things I’d like to share with you:

    1. I think the coldness of the TV studio set is not appropriate for your kind of show, that I feel most like a sincere conversation between 2 people than a show with a public around. I’d prefer something like “SuperSoul Sunday” by Oprah. As if you invited people to talk inside your house, or in your garden…

    2. Nowadays I find very difficult, even for a great Influencer like you, to convince people to pay to watch TV shows online. We millennials are too accustomed to YouTube and to get every kind of online service for free (videos, music, applications, etc…). As I am not willing to pay to watch it (and I think most of people aren’t willing to pay either) it would be wonderful if you find a way to make it free.

    I hope this project will continue getting better and better!

    And please never stop making your wonderful Podcasts, I listen to them every single day!

    Peace, Love an Good luck!