World- famous adventurer Bear Grylls has survived some of the most challenging environments in the world. In a career that has spanned 25 years, the indomitable survivalist reflects on his extreme encounters and what it means to lose yourself to the wild.
Bear Grylls, born Edward Michael Grylls, has made a career grappling with the obliterating conditions of the wild. Once described as a man “at the top of the food chain”, the former British Special Forces military man has achieved international acclaim for his particular brand of survival. Host to his own chain of survival shows, the adventurer has utilised unnerving and oftentimes stomach-churning methods to stay alive. Despite the sensationalist appeal of these encounters, Grylls's expeditions into the wild brings worlds together. In his series Running Wild, the adventurer guides tentative celebrity guests through remote jungles and forbidding terrain to deliver a taste of life in the wild. In other series, the adventurer is dispatched to far-afield continents to utilise even more radical techniques to survive. While his methods may seem unorthodox, Grylls shares an unmitigated perspective that brings us closer to understanding the true nature of the wild.
The best way over our fears is right through the middle.Bear Grylls
Q: What draw does the wild have for you?
BEAR GRYLLS: The wild builds bonds between people that last a lifetime. I see this time after time from expeditions; from shows like The Island, Running Wild and The Worlds Toughest Race that we are currently filming. It’s powerful and good, but there is no shortcut to avoiding some scary moments and a few scars!
Q: You are the youngest man to scale Everest and an incomparable survivalist. How do you believe your experience of fear differs from most people?
BG: I have felt truly terrified more times than I can remember. I have learnt though, through experience, to do my utmost to hold my nerve and to stay calm in these situations. “Calm is contagious”, as the SEALS say. You have to face fears head on and understand that fear is there to sharpen you, and the best way over our fears is right through the middle. Never run from them or they grow.
Q: Your shows frequently present the visceral reality of survival. What are your thoughts on our instinct to survive as a species?
BG: It is hard wired in our DNA to stay alive, whatever it takes. We all have that. Life can cover over that spirit sometimes and dull it down, but when the chips are down and you really need it, the spark of that fire
inside, that human spirit will always be there. You just got to trust that and dig deep sometimes to claim the
Q: In your career, you constantly take on the uncertainty of the unknown. What about the process do you identify with the most?
BG: I really think life begins outside of our comfort zone. As humans, we have to push ourselves out of our comfort zones to understand who we really are at our core. I don’t even call it a comfort zone. I call it a comfort pit! It’s somewhere to escape as fast as you can. As the Commandos say: be comfortable with uncertainty. I always loved that.