Professional Adventurer Bear Grylls Explains His One Trick To Conquering Fear

Photo by Luis Enrique Ascui/Flickr Creative Commons

Bear Grylls has done some pretty gnarly stuff in his lifetime, stuff that even the most hardened men around the world probably wouldn’t want to consider. He’s tackled resistance-to-interrogation (R2I) training during his bid to join the U.K.’s elite SAS special forces, survived a near-fatal parachuting accident in Africa that left him terrified to engage in skydiving again, and braved the most hellish landscapes on the planet, from the crashing waves of the North Atlantic to the summit of Mt. Everest.

So how does Grylls — a professional adventurer and avatar of human endurance for millions of viewers around the world, thanks to his beloved series Man vs. Wild — conquer his fears before he embarks on his next attempt to conquer Mother Nature? Simple, he says: Don’t think, just do.

"I've learned that the best way over our fears is right bang through the middle,” Grylls told attendees at the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai, according to the BBC. “It really is. The only way you don't see the fear is when you're right on it.”

Like the hundreds of survival skills he’s picked up in his decades traveling the world, Grylls’ ability to overcome fear and self-doubt came with time, he says — and it’s that constant struggle to conquer near-impossible obstacles that made him the man he is today.

"I wasn't very good at school — and I struggled a lot with confidence," he said of his early years. “[But] the great people I know in life often struggled at school, because it was the struggle that developed their strength."

In order to succeed, Grylls first had to accept the possibility of failure — especially in situations where his own life hung in the balance. From the BBC:

When he talks about the last exhausting phase of climbing Everest, he describes coming across the body of another climber he had known, Rob Hall, who had died on the mountain two years before.

"I remember just sitting next to Rob, still perfectly there, his hair blowing, as if I could nudge him and he'd stand up and be fine … I desperately needed something to give me strength - and he is such a hero of mine. I just remember this panic filling me - there are a lot of bodies on the mountain, but this was different - we were so close, but now so far away."

He pushed on and became one of the youngest climbers to get to the summit of Everest. And he says he brought back some snow from the summit and kept it as a liquid symbol of conquering his self-doubt.

With a mentality like that, is there anything that international wildman Grylls actually does fear? Just dealing with the hell that is other people, it seems. “I'm really bad at cocktail parties with lots of people I don't know,” he said. “I really genuinely am."

Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.

Take $75 off a Casper Mattress and $150 off a Wave Mattress with code TASKANDPURPOSE

And no one knows that better than military service members and we have the pictures to prove it.

Read More Show Less
(The 621st Contingency Response Wing/Flickr)

The commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard called the ongoing partial government shutdown "unacceptable" following reports that some Coast Guardsmen are relying on donations from food pantries while their regular paychecks remain on hold.

"We're five-plus weeks into the anxiety and stress of this government lapse and your non-pay," Adm. Karl Schultz said in a video message to service members. "You, as members of the armed forces, should not be expected to shoulder this burden."

Read More Show Less

The U.S. Department of Veterans' Affairs will implement changes next month that will simplify the process for how veterans make appeals.

Read More Show Less

Editor's Note: This article by Richard Sisk originally appeared on, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

The bigger and faster electromagnetic weapons elevator on the new aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford is finally ready for use, an achievement the Navy called a "major milestone" for the program and other Ford-class carriers to be built in the future.

Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer said earlier this month that he had bet his job on getting all the Ford's elevators to work, telling President Donald Trump that the project would be done by this summer "or you can fire me."

Read More Show Less

Airman 1st Class Isaiah Edwards has been sentenced to 35 years in prison after a military jury found him guilty of murder in connection with the death of a fellow airman in Guam, Air Force officials announced on Tuesday.

Read More Show Less