News: Author, motivational speaker visits wounded warriors
Story by Staff Sgt. JaJuan Broadnax
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - It’s not always easy to talk about or admit to shortcomings, an author and motivational speaker said May 22, to soldiers at Fort Bragg.
Kyle Maynard, an award-winning mixed martial arts athlete, visited wounded warriors here to provide testimony of his motivation to accomplish great things despite being a congenital amputee. He was born with arms that end at the elbows and legs that end at the knees bust still set weightlifting records, fought in martial arts, and became the first man to crawl on his own to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa.
“I can’t compare a second of what I’ve been through compared to what a soldier has been through”, said Maynard.
Maynard was born to a military family at Fort Myer, Va.—now Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall. His family taught him to accept and overcome the circumstances he was given in life.
“The biggest lesson to me that I had to learn there is that the way that someone else looks at us does not dictate who we are by any stretch,” he said. “We have to go inside and find that for ourselves.”
Maynard, author of No Excuses: The True Story of a Congenital Amputee Who Became a Champion in Wrestling and in Life, added the perception of the disabled as being helpless can be changed through actions.
“I know that many of you have internal scars that you face, which in my opinion, can be far more challenging than anything that I’ve had to endure, “ he said. “But it’s true that the only way that we can change the way that anybody else sees us is to go and change ourselves first.”
Through the support of family and friends, Maynard was able to dream big and do things to work toward his goals.
“Just setting those things in motion and going half on that vision of something that you want in life, I believe, is critical,” he said.
Despite his physical limitations, Maynard was able to wrestle and play football while in school. He eventually left college to become a motivational speaker after promoting his book on the Oprah Winfrey show at the young age of 19.
“I went from being a full- time college to being now a full-time business traveler going around at nineteen years old and speaking for Fortune 500 companies and schools and I’m supposed to be disseminating some life-changing wisdom, and I was only 19,” said Maynard. “I felt like I couldn’t get my own life together.”
Maynard described how he had to overcome loneliness and self-pity in order to live the life that he so often talked about in his speeches.
“I had to go eat some of my own dog food,” he said.
Since the self-realization of his passion to help people reach their “highest human potential,” Maynard has been involved in programs supporting injured military veterans.
He one day hopes to complete a degree in biochemistry so that he can help with research on paralyzed patients. Until then, he will continue to travel around the country in hopes of motivating others through his accomplishments and speeches.