Title: Mud, Sweat and Tears
Author: Bear Grylls
Year: Published 26/05/2011
Length: 352 pages
Genre: Biography, Autobiography, Adventure
Get a copy: 1) Search in local bookstores to support small business 2) Amazon
Short Description: Known and loved by millions – for his documentary Ultimate Survival. Bear Grylls, a Northern Irish adventurer, has survived in situations where few would dare to fall. Attractive and touching, Mud, Sweat and Tears is a must-read for both, adrenaline junkies, as well as for travelers who prefer the comfortable armchair. Immerse yourself in a world filled with adventures and dangers. The world of Bear Grylls.
Bear Grylls always pushes himself to the max. As a boy, he learns to swim and climb trees with the help of his father. Not long after, Bear was head of night-climbing missions to restricted territories.
Later, he finds his true identity and his life calling through mountain climbing and martial arts, leading him to the lower parts of the mighty Himalayas and to a training camp for karate masters in Japan.
Despite the many incidents he has suffered, he never surrenders and continues to pursue his dreams. Now, for the first time, Bear reveals the story of his life-threatening life.
I love the TV series. The exotic places he visits, the freezing mountains he climbs, but mainly what he teaches in the show (I specifically remember a technique that will help you water in the desert). The guy obviously knows what he’s doing. His techniques for survival are widely popular and I was looking forward to reading some more on the subject. Unfortunately, the book failed to deliver – f0r me specifically. Instead of adopting new ways to survive in the jungle, Mud, Sweat and Tears is a book that traces the life of Bear Grylls – and I can’t say that it’s that fascinating. He is popular and obviously knows how to survive in the wilderness, but his personal life is quite ordinary.
Yes, adventures are what he pursues but I can’t say that his life, while growing up, is somehow different from the lives of others – we have families, we’ve all done stupid stuff, and we eventually found something to care about.
I don’t know, probably the book will fancy people who really love Bear Grylls and want to know more about his personality and his personal life. However, for me, that wasn’t enough to convince me that the book was worth my time.
After all that being said, you might think, “why the hell I am writing a review then?” Well, each book teaches something. Sometimes you can easily spot it when you see it written down, in other occasions, you have to really search for the lessons between the words.
Notes, thoughts, and essential takeaways that I want to remember from the book. My main goal is to leave you with curated content, to which you can easily return to in the future for reference, that’s holding (spoil free) insights of the book, but mainly actionable steps, that can be used in our real lives:
My Secret Inner World
It’s time to enter my inner world. This is a mystical Self – focused, sharp, clear-minded, brave. This part of myself I know best, but I rarely use. I visit this place when it’s absolutely necessary. Like now.” Bear Grylls
There are several people hidden inside of you. Some of those guys are standing right beside you, awaiting to take control. We can easily imagine them as the characters from the fantastic four comics. Firstly, we have Mister Fantastic. He’s rational, smart, flexible (like, literally), settled, and will always find a wait to handle a situation properly. Secondly, we have the Invisible Woman – the girl. She’s romantic, modest, vulnerable and often has doubts about her abilities. On the third spot, we have, The Thing. A guy who will act before he thinks – the dumbest fellow from the group. And finally, we have the Human Torch. This one is flame. He will immediately burst into flames when a stranger across the street give your wife, the look.
I am sure you can easily spot situations where the characters from above are taking control over the mothership. However, there is one extra character. Let’s call him Mister X. This guy possess all advantages of the fantastic four characters and none of their weaknesses. He’s bold, brave, a true risk taker, knows how to talk his way out of a situation, and will crush every obstacle standing between him and his goal. Unfortunately, Mister X rarely sits behind the steering wheel. Why? Mostly, because he’s impeded by fear, laziness, indecision, sadness, anger, guilt, jealousy, shame, and other self-sabotaging feelings.
Bottom line: you’re much better, smarter, faster, than what you think about yourself. Simply, you need to block the feelings that are trying to keep you down and more often leave the X fellow, take control.
Intolerance to Two Things – Laziness and Apathy
I cannot disagree with the following said from Bear Grylls: “I am intolerant of two things – laziness and apathy.”
My observation is that we’re slowly turning into these lazy creatures whos only interest is watching something on a screen regardless of the size. Whether this will be a smartphone, screen monitor or a TV, it doesn’t matter. What’s important is the fact that this trend is no longer a trend, is becoming a part of our lives.
Such human behavior is something, I personally, can’t stand. Mostly because such people are rarely happy, smile only when they do nothing, try to convince you that doing particularly less work than an unemployed person is a good thing. Laziness is like a disease. The only way to cure yourself of this state of being is by acting, enjoying life and understanding that there is more to life than laying around.
To tell you the truth, I’ve been there. I was the person who doesn’t give a damn about anything and the only activity I enjoyed more than sleeping was watching television. Probably that’s why I now despite lazy people. I am probably afraid of becoming the same careless dude who I abandoned a couple of years ago.
Since you’re reading this, I bet you’re not lazy. My advice to you will be to distance yourself from such people and constantly remind yourself that we can become better with each passing day.
The way your life turns out solely depends on you
Your life will be the way you make it for yourself no one can do it for you, but you can’t do it alone.” Barack Obama
Our actions, or inactions, are the things that make our lives better or worse.
Regardless of the way, the place, and the people who brought you here, in the beginning, the way you live your life entirely depends on yourself.
Imagine that your parents are the owners of a large organization that earns millions of dollars of revenue each year. Or, they’re simply rich by our current standards. Hypothetically, your life should be destined for successes and moments of joy. After all, you’re will be the inheritor of this organization. You wish a car, you have it. You want to learn a new language, you get a personal tutor.
The above, of course, is the best case scenario. What happens sometimes in real life is quite different: Your spoiled ass is so used to having everything that at some point you decide that you only want things that are forbidden – drugs, another man’s wife, and other illegal substances. As you can imagine, this leads to communes visits, diseases, sleeping in garbage cans, impotence, and finally, you will be probably excluded from the family heritage.
The same applies to people who grow up in poverty.
Growing up in a poor environment can be a catalyst for becoming a world leader. A person who will do whatever it takes to help the people around him. On a lot of occasions, exactly the people who don’t have much are the ones that help more often.
So, despite your current situation, financial status, or physical location, understand that the only person who can change things for better, is you.
Confidence and Determination
These two are probably the most important qualities you might possess.
You can lack everything else but you can compensate it with confidence and determination. Even if you’re a skinny ass dude with a strange haircut you can still escape a siege from a couple of bullies when you act like you don’t give a shit and you’re not afraid of them – even if you’re pissing yourself inside the pants deep inside your mind at that moment.
The above-mentioned qualities are actually a necessity if you’re looking for a way to get a date with a girl you secretly adore. The main reason girls “like” jerks is because these guys act like everybody in the freaking world works for them. On the other side, there’s you. Constantly apologizing, and justifying your every move.
Let me give you a bit of a background about why women love self-confident males.
Back in the days, when our ancestors lived, the prehistoric people, things were quite harsh. They didn’t have electricity, supermarkets, or free wi-fi – I know, right, it sucked big times. They actually had to make fire on their own to keep their bodies warm. These times were no place for weak people who can’t take decisions or act boldly. If you hesitate, you’re eaten by a wild animal or you’ve stayed without an heir to continue the clan. Of course, the females adored such behavior and the beauty queen was offered to the boldest dude from the tribe.
You see now, it’s hard-wired in the women’s brain to like courageous behavior. And it’s not only them. People, in general, are keen on obeying the one who’s acting like he knows what he’s doing. So, if you end up in a situation where you’re not sure what to do, acting with confidence will surely win you, followers.
Know Your Limits
You surely can’t climb Mount Everest without proper preparation. I hope you realize this.
As humans, we all have certain limits in regards our skills, financial status, endurance, and even what’s our intellectual cap. Knowing these limits will definitely save your life on some occasions.
For example: A person who’s well aware that he’s afraid of heights will avoid climbing trees, rocks, jumping out of an airplane, looking down from the edge of a building. Mainly, because if he put himself in such situation he knows that this will make him feel dizzy and might potentially lead to a tragic outcome.
On the other hand, a person who is not aware of his limits might put himself in in an unfavorable position which will, then, definitely lead to a cataclysmic event. Or in other words, one of the following: social embarrassment, being kicked from his job, lack of sexual intercourse, or the worse, the reason for his death.
If you don’t know how to speak to an unknown woman on the street, you don’t do it, right? Same should apply when you do all other things. Not that you shouldn’t talk to people you don’t know – if you’re a single guy above 40 you definitely should consider doing it more often actually. What I saying is that knowing your limits will give you an adequate position of your current state. When you’re well aware of this fact, you can then act towards expanding these boundaries.
Even if you’re not rich, you can’t endure an expedition to the top of the highest mountain, you can’t convince a girl to sleep with you on the first date, that shouldn’t discourage you. Quite on the contrary, it should actually motivate to improve as a person.
I started running, but not in the usual way. I loaded a backpack with weights and ran long distance at night, pouring in sweat. I was exploring my own limits and felt alive only when I was on the brink of my ability. I was not the fastest, the strongest, or the best in anything, but that only excited me.” Bear Grylls
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