In my previous blog post I spoke about Bear Grylls book Facing Up which is about his attempt at climbing Mount Everest. It was a good start in getting to know Bear Grylls the man. But this book Mud Sweat And Tears is Bears autobiography and it should be definitive in answering the question: Is he the real deal, or is he too good to be true? Spoiler: He’s the real deal.
He’s an Etonian, he’s passed SAS Selection, he’s the youngest Briton to have reached the summit of Mount Everest, and we’ve all seen his death-defying and stomach-churning ‘antics’ on Bear Grylls Born Survivor (aka Man vs Wild). There’s no question he’s the real deal. He’s a committed family man and father to his 3 young sons. It’s good to see the first ‘F’ in Bears 5 F’s is for Family (the others are Friends, Faith [meh, nobody is perfect!], Fun, Follow your dream). Bear has the privilege of being Chief Scout to the UK Scout Association; and as a former Scout myself I can only imagine how inspirational he is to Scouts (and people) all over the world.
Rating: 80% (that’s pretty good!)
Bear has done several other adventures and many in aid of charity: crossed the North Atlantic Artic Ocean in an open boat; climbed unclimbed peaks in Antartica; flew a powered paraglider above the summit of Everest; lead the first expedition through the Artics Northwest Passage in a rigid inflatable boat; jet-skied around Britain; hosted the highest ever party suspended under a hot air balloon (at 25000 feet).
But Bear Grylls hasn’t had it all his own way. He initially failed SAS Selection. But, after being invited to re-apply, he succeeded. He broke 3 vertebrae in his back in a parachuting accident and that ended his SAS career, but it also sparked his determination to attempt to climb Everest. He broke his shoulder in a climbing accident, and his leg on an ice-slope. But in each case he came back stronger.
Not everyone is that lucky. Some people have accidents which they don’t recover from. The real measure is what we do with what we’ve got. And sometimes the greatest heroism comes from those who have so little, yet do so much. The fact is that Bear Grylls is just an ordinary guy, but he’s done extraordinary things.
If you’re a devout cynic and only want to focus on the negative then you may get some solace by thinking of Bear Grylls as a college dropout. Annoyingly for you (and for me, as a holder of graduate and postgraduate degrees), that puts him in some very esteemed company.
I enjoyed reading Mud Sweat And Tears and give it 8 out of 10. It’s an easy read and Bears writing style is great. Top man.