The Incredible Kyle Maynard — Fear{less} with Tim Ferriss (#556)

“I know there are many people who, whether they admit it or not, view disabled people as inferior. We are ‘broken’ in their eyes. We are of no use, no value, and we are just running out the string on life. But I believe that we are all disabled in one way or another, including disabilities of character and personality. My disability just happens to be more visual than some.”

— Kyle Maynard

Welcome to another episode of The Tim Ferriss Show, where it is my job to deconstruct world-class performers to tease out the routines, habits, et cetera that you can apply to your own life.

You’ll get plenty of that in this special episode, which features my interview with Kyle Maynard from my 2017 TV Show Fear{less}. The “less” is in parentheses because the objective is to teach you to fear less, not to be fearless.

Fear{less} features in-depth, long-form conversations with top performers, focusing on how they’ve overcome fears and made hard decisions, embracing discomfort and thinking big.

It was produced by Wild West Productions, and I worked with them to make both the video and audio available to you for free, my dear listeners. You can find the video of this episode on, and eventually you’ll be able to see all episodes for free at

Spearheaded by actor/producer and past podcast guest Vince Vaughn, Wild West Productions has produced a string of hit movies including The Internship, Couples Retreat, Four Christmases, and The Break-Up.

In 2020, Wild West produced the comedy The Opening Act, starring Jimmy O. Yang and Cedric The Entertainer. In addition to Fear{less}, their television credits include Undeniable with Joe Buck, ESPN’s 30 for 30 episode about the ’85 Bears, and the Netflix animated show F is for Family.

Please enjoy!

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Podcast Addict, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, Castbox, Google Podcasts, Amazon Musicor on your favorite podcast platform. You can watch the interview on YouTube here.

The transcript of this episode can be found here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

#556: The Incredible Kyle Maynard — Fear{less} with Tim Ferriss

This episode is brought to you by 5-Bullet Friday, my very own email newsletter that every Friday features five bullet points highlighting cool things I’ve found that week, including apps, books, documentaries, gadgets, albums, articles, TV shows, new hacks or tricks, and—of course—all sorts of weird stuff I’ve dug up from around the world.

It’s free, it’s always going to be free, and you can subscribe now at

What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.


Want to hear another episode with someone who manages to make the seemingly impossible a reality? Listen to my conversation with one-handed concert pianist Nicholas McCarthy, in which we discuss proving doubters wrong, working with limitations instead of being obstructed by them, how to manage ego, and much more.

#174: The One-Handed Concert Pianist, Nicholas McCarthy
  • Connect with Kyle Maynard:

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook


  • Kyle tells us about his first and last wrestling seasons. [05:48]
  • What is congenital amputation? [08:11]
  • How did Kyle’s upbringing by such supportive parents set him up for success? [08:37]
  • What Kyle’s experience with prosthetics was like as a kindergartner, why he decided to go without them, and how his classmates reacted at the time. [11:33]
  • Growing up, what was Kyle most afraid of — and how did he deal with this fear? [13:12]
  • Knowing the struggles of envisioning a bright future from beneath the shadow of depression, what advice does Kyle have for someone new to the experience of being an amputee? What got him through his own period of self-doubt? [14:47]
  • How did Kyle get started with wrestling? Was he an immediate success? [19:02]
  • A few live demonstrations. [20:45]
  • Does Kyle think he has an unfair advantage in the ring? [23:49]
  • What’s been the most valuable thing Kyle’s taken away from wrestling, and how did he develop the self-awareness to recognize it? [25:28]
  • What drives Kyle to spend sometimes as many as 200 days on the road speaking? [31:24]
  • Who does Kyle consider to be the most inspiring religious or spiritual leader? [32:53]
  • A reminder that, visible or not, we’re all “disabled” in some way — and it doesn’t mean we’re broken. [34:15]
  • What is Kyle’s self-talk whenever he feels like quitting? [35:44]
  • What role has building physical strength played in overcoming mental, emotional, and social challenges for Kyle? [37:31]
  • 22 veterans a day are dying by suicide. What advice does Kyle have for someone who has a tendency to isolate themselves and maybe doesn’t know how to ask for help from others? [39:53]
  • Recommended reading, inspiration from the uncaring face of any mountain worth climbing, and two words that carry a lot of mileage in conflict resolution. [42:44]
  • Something Kyle’s changed his mind about in recent years. [45:56]
  • How was Kyle inspired to take on Mount Kilimanjaro, and how did he pull it off? [49:00]
  • What would Kyle’s billboard say? [53:47]
  • Parting thoughts. [54:42]


“I know there are many people who, whether they admit it or not, view disabled people as inferior. We are ‘broken’ in their eyes. We are of no use, no value, and we are just running out the string on life. But I believe that we are all disabled in one way or another, including disabilities of character and personality. My disability just happens to be more visual than some.”
— Kyle Maynard

“How could that guy be so drunk and still stay in his wheelchair?”
— Kyle Maynard

“I used to [say], ‘Oh, never, ever give up.’ Now I’m like, ‘Giving up is super important.’ And you should give up a lot of things a lot quicker. A job that you hate, a relationship that sucks, give it up immediately.”
— Kyle Maynard

“It’s like, a mountain—it does not care what race you are, what gender you are, whether you’re in a wheelchair or not. It doesn’t give a shit. Mountain’s like, ‘Zero Fs given.'”
— Kyle Maynard

“We all have our assumptions and beliefs and judgments, and it’s just impossible to see somebody else’s perspective with that. And when you look at me or if someone looks at me for the first time, if you haven’t seen the videos and stuff like that, it doesn’t automatically occur to someone like, ‘Oh, that guy’s clearly an MMA fighter or a mountain climber.'”
— Kyle Maynard

“We all walk around as these mental cryptographers, as if the maps that we go and create are reality, are the territory, and they’re not. They’re just maps. And any map that you go and create can get outdated.”
— Kyle Maynard

“If you do follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in your field of bliss, and they open doors to you. I say follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.”
— Joseph Campbell


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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