Quadruple Amputee Kyle Maynard Is a Photographer, Wrestler, and Inspiration Machine

Quadruple Amputee Kyle Maynard Is a Photographer, Wrestler, and Inspiration Machine


Joseph Campbell said, “Follow your bliss.” He said, “Follow your bliss and the universe
will open doors for you that wouldn’t have open for anyone else, and doors will open
where there were previously only walls.” To me that is like a big part of the way that
I want to live my life now, is to follow my bliss. And if you don’t have something that makes
you feel blissful I think that you have to go and take your eyes and look for ways in
which you either are passionate about something or that you can make a difference in somebody
else’s life. And I think the times that those things intersect
are the times for me that are the best. So if I’m doing something that’s going to
go and make a difference for somebody else but it’s also something that I care about
a lot myself then I’m most excited for that. Right now people have been asking me, “What’s
your next mountain? What are you going to climb?” I tell them photography, because I want to
learn that. And it’s challenging to figure out how can
I use a camera and adapt it to me. And sometimes I’ve had some embarrassing moments—I’m
at such an amateur level right now, and just because I’ve gotten to meet some amazing photographers
and videographers and I go and talk to them about this stuff, and I’m like elementary
school student right now with it. But I know that I have to fail a lot, and
maybe the first 10,000 pictures that I take are going to be basically useless, but the
next 10,000 might be decent, and the next 10,000 after that might be pretty good. So the quicker I can go and take that first
10,000 that are just probably going to suck, the better I’m going to be, and quicker I’m
going to get to the ones that are decent. I want to just maximize that time of like
that early-stage failure, and that’s not even really failure, but it’s just like those little
learning curves, the learning pain, and then eventually it will be pretty good. One of the tougher periods in my life when
I felt hopeless was around ten years old, and I started just having fears and doubts
over what my future was going to look like; just not knowing if I’d ever be able to live
on my own, if I’d ever be able to have a girlfriend someday or a job or like any of those things. It was just a lot of fear and doubt. And actually I think a lot of what loosened
the grip on that hopelessness was—I can look at two particular moments and sports
helped with that. It was making my first tackle in football,
and it was winning my first wrestling match. In football the guy who went to go and block
me had no idea how to block me, and I had no idea how he was going to go and do it,
so he just stood straight up and I dove under his legs and tackled the quarterback. First play I got the sack. So I told my dad that night, “I think I’m
done with youth football I’m going straight to the NFL now!” And then in wrestling I lost every single
wrestling match for a year and a half, so I lost 35 matches in a row. I hated it. My mom and dad were kind of dragging me out
to wrestling practices, dragging me out to matches, and I wanted to go and give up, I
wanted to quit. And even if you asked my dad if he thought
that I would have ever won a match, he had been a wrestler and he would have told you
no. But he continued to kind of push me to stick
with it. Anyway my dad said, “Everybody loses their
first year in wrestling. Everybody loses every match their first year,”
he said, “but everybody wins at least one match their second season because you’ll find
somebody who it’s their first season, so you’ll beat them.” And so I ended up winning my first match off
of like a seventh grader – I’ll never forget it, just the experience of it looking at my
opponent and I could see he was a firs-year wrestler, and I thought, “That’s my kid
that I’m going after.” And so we shook hands and all of a sudden—I
think when you have hope you start looking for all the evidence as to why you’re going
to succeed. I think when you lack that hope then you start
looking for all the reasons as to why you’re going to fail. And for this first match I started seeing
this kid, I’m like: “He’s kind of scrawny, he’s not warming up the right way,” and
then we shook hands before the match and I was like, “He’s got a weak handshake.” My brain is scanning for all this confirmation
bias, but like a positive form of it to go and see all the evidence as to why I’m going
to go and beat him, and then all of a sudden I took him down, landed on top, and I was
like, “Whoa, this is awesome! … And I have no idea what to do now.” My dad told me to let him up, and I ended
up taking him down and let him up, took him down and let him up and won that first match
by like a mercy rule technical. And that moment in time certainly started
to loosen the grip on some of the fear and doubt that I had about my future, of what
life was going to go and look like for me as quad-amputee in the future, and I would
have had no idea that life could have turned out to be as amazing as it had. But that’s what I think a lot about now: What
drives me is to go and reach those ten-year-olds who are currently lacking hope?

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23 Replies to “Quadruple Amputee Kyle Maynard Is a Photographer, Wrestler, and Inspiration Machine”

  1. "Follow your bliss" is some bullshit. We wouldn't have sewage or HVAC workers if everyone was an astronaut or athlete. Also, I'm sorry, but it's not like people like this accomplish these things by meeting the same standards as their peers and without a shit ton of help and permission by able-bodied people. It's all a crock.

  2. I feel sorry for the real victim here. The dude he beat in a wrestling match! Im sure he never lived that one down

  3. How are you gonna get tackled or pinned by a guy with no arms or legs? Look, I am gonna be 'that' guy. If you're a wrestler and you legit got taken down and pinned by pretty much ball like mass, then you are really low caliber. Same goes for a quarter back. I am sorry, dude. You do you, that's really cool. But anyone who takes athletic capabilities of a guy with no arms or legs seriously when competing against normal athletes, are no more foolish than taking a 280 pound linebacker seriously playing against 10-year-old kids.

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