By Tyler Gray
No excuses. The phrase is more than just a motto or a mantra for Kyle Maynard. It has become his life. Maynard was born in 1986 with a condition known as congenital amputation, where he has arms ending at the elbows and legs ending at the knees.
On Saturday, Sept. 15, in the auditorium of the SCERA Center for the Arts, Maynard spoke to a crowd of more than a hundred people without a microphone, telling stories about his life and what he’s learned. Not allowing his condition to define him, Maynard said it was his parents who helped him understand at a young age that he could still accomplish anything he wanted to.
After telling his mom that he wanted to play football, Maynard’s mother didn’t ask him if he was sure or try to temper his expectations, but simply said, “Let me call the coach.” Maynard said he also wanted to wrestle in high school, where he lost 35 times in a row in his first year. He thought about quitting until his father told him his own story of how he didn’t win a single match his first year either, but finally won during his second year. Kyle kept wrestling, winning 36 matches his senior year and learning later that his father might have embellished his own story a little.
As a 19-year-old college freshman, Maynard’s life changed dramatically when he wrote his book “No Excuses.” He found himself interviewed by Larry King and Oprah, and yet Maynard said he became depressed while on the road telling his story. He joked that he was the world’s only “depressed motivational speaker.” He said that, once again, he had to practice what he preached. It was this honesty and sense of humor that allowed Maynard to touch so many lives.
Maynard, now 26, has set records in weightlifting, written a best-selling novel and climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro. Maynard said these accomplishments only reinforced his belief that once you achieve success, any doubt that you previously had means nothing.
Amarae Huffaker, 17, whose mother works at UVU, said, “A lot of people couldn’t do what he does, and he has a mind frame that is incredible.”
Maynard urged everyone in the crowd to learn the “why” of their existence. He said it’s easy to get caught up in where we’re going, but he stressed the importance of taking the time to look back and see how far we’ve come. Maynard’s message was simple—there are no good excuses, and his life is the proof.