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I am a blowhard egomaniac

I was in the midst of preparing a new KidPower presentation for Elbow Valley Middle School yesterday. It's their school year kick-off celebration day and the Principal has asked me if I would address the students and staff by speaking about setting goals, accomplishment, and the importance of staying active and healthy.

And then I get this email from Gary B:

"adventuresofgreg.com.......oh please, give me a break. Is the world even a slightly better place because you have two Guinness records in your name. You obviously have lots of energy and time. Why not use it to do some real good. The world has enough blowhard egomaniacs that are really into the adventure for their own gratification, all the while claiming their endeavor is for the betterment of all mankind."

Gosh - what a downer! I guess I should just trash the email and move on, but for some reason I really feel inspired to respond to this.

Am I a "blowhard egomaniac"? I suppose if you didn't know me, by looking at my web page you might come away with the feeling that I might be somewhat of an arrogant swellhead. In my defense though, I come from a marketing background and I realize that I am my product and that I need to treat how I am presented as if I am a product being advertised for sale. I market myself not unlike any other corporation would advertise their product or service. I know from experience that if I am to accomplish my long term goals, that I need to start marketing myself appropriately.

So what exactly are these long term goals of mine that are keeping me focused on this polished image?

1. KidPower
I want to make KidPower a national program that includes an interactive component designed to get kids across this country active again. To achieve this goal, I need the financial support of corporations. What can I sell a corporation? Simple: me. The more media attention I get, the more my corporate sponsors benefit from the publicity. Both in brand marketing and corporate social responsibility fulfillment by being connected to the KidPower program. A corporate sponsor is not interested in funding a project shrouded in secrecy.

2. Base building and community building
I have some very aggressive personal goals that I would like to accomplish. These are longer term, much larger projects that need to be built-up slowly. Not many corporations join the S&P 500 index of the largest North American corporations within their first year of business. It takes time to grow, and growth builds upon previous successes. It's base building. When I approach the experts in the boat building community with some crazy idea about designing a pedal boat to cross the ocean with, how do they respond to someone without any kind of track record? I know, because I have been faced with this before - they ignore you. When you approach them from a strong base of previous successes (and the media recognition to back it up), then people and companies tend to rally around your idea and feel inspired to become involved. It is an amazing thing when you can create a project where so many others can become part of the success.

3. To inspire others
Gary says "The world has enough blowhard egomaniacs that are really into the adventure for their own gratification" and he is partly correct. Am I really doing all of this only for the betterment of all mankind? Probably not. But then again, what do we ever do that is totally for the betterment of all mankind? You probably have a job. A job that pays you money that goes into paying for a roof over your families heads, and putting food on the table. Most of us spend the majority of our time concerned with the betterment of ourselves - not mankind.

But in the end, Gary is wrong - I truly believe that. I can honestly say that my biggest goal with regard to what I want to accomplish and what I have accomplished is to inspire others to achieve the great things I know they are capable of. Nothing makes me happier than to know I have been of some help or inspiration to someone who has decided that they want to drop a few pounds, or run their first marathon, or build a carbon fiber bike frame, or someone who just needs a little motivation to take the first step to making their dreams come true.

"Use what talents you possess. The woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang the best." – Henry Van Dyke

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12 Responses to “I am a blowhard egomaniac”

  1. # Anonymous John Mancenido

    I think Gary B is absolutely wrong. Whenever I read the email updates and go to your website I don't ever feel like you are driven by a need for fame.

    I chat with a friend of mine here at work once in awhile about your adventures...he has told me that one thing he finds amazing is that you did both your records under the radar so to speak. He finds it amazing that considering the scale of both records that you deserved much more media coverage. You don't go out of your way to get lots of coverage...heck you are too busy training and building and spending time with your family. Its seems obvious to me that being in the public eye isn't why you're motivated to do these adventures.

    It should be obvious to anyone who has followed all this from the beginning, that there is something intellectual, emotional, and spiritual that keeps driving you forward. It's obvious from the books you sometimes refer to and the quotes that inspire you and the long, long hours on end of training you talk about; and in the hours upon hours that you spend in the shop building and experimenting and often failing when you are building your equipment.

    What you are doing matters. It matters to me, to your family, to your friends, and the many people who follow your adventures. Sure, records will fall, and someday the records you set may fall too. But the effect it has had on so many people is the legacy that matters. The sheer RAW effort of your adventures is inspiration for others to push harder, to dig deeper, to make good choices, and to always live every moment as if it were your last. There are no ordinary moments!!

    Thanks Greg and keep it up!!!  

  2. # Anonymous Griffen

    You already know but Gary is as the British put it, a wanker! He is more then likely sitting on his couch saying. If I had the time and money I could do that. What's the big deal. Well the big deal is that stop crying about it and do something.

    Greg, you may not need to go to work everyday to pay the bills but I have a feeling that you put in your time already and made some good decisions that put you into that position. Well good for you. People can be so bitter with their your own lack of achievements. I may have to show up at work everyday but that doesn't stop me from keeping in shape and doing events that other people think are a waste of time. The kids I coach see those accomplishments and respect you for doing them and lets face it that's not always easy to get from high school kids. Lead by example! Do what you can to get kids outside enjoying life. What do you think Gary does? Properly yells at his son to go get him another beer out of the fridge while he watch the game on TV. Nice life buddy!  

  3. # Anonymous Tim Bourrie

    PS I feel bad that I didn't use my real name and hid behind an alias. Now Gary you can google me and call me a blowhard egomaniac also. I'm proud of my accomplishments.  

  4. # Anonymous NEVILLE NEVILLE

    Greg,

    No one is forcing Gary B. to read your blogs. Evidently he IS
    reading them and feels that he ought to bring you down to Earth a peg
    or two. So what! For every person who is doing something
    interesting (note, I did not say world altering.) there will be
    plenty of people to take a shot at them. That is why trash celebrity
    magazines are a billion dollar industry. Again, SO WHAT!! I don't
    read every word you write, but I keep up with your progress, I enjoy
    your technical work, your genuinely positive bent towards a healthy
    lifestyle, and I cheer when you accomplish your goals. Good for you!
    At the very least, you are doing no harm to the world, at the very
    best you are inspiring some kid to take on a task bigger than himself
    (herself) and get it done. That's pretty good.

    Welcome to the world wide web! Now every blowhard can stand on his
    (her) virtual soapbox and unabashedly share what they know and what
    they do. Wonderful! We can choose porn or ebay or even some guy out
    there building a bike or a boat to see if he can do something
    interesting. Well I have chosen to watch some guy in a boat. I can
    watch when I want and turn it off as I choose, and rather than point
    out his flaws as I selfishly see them... I would rather encourage
    that guy to pedal that dumb boat that isn't curing the common cold or
    cancer or world hunger...! So, Greg... keep building and training
    and sharing, and when you are out in the mid-Atlantic while the rest
    of us pack into the theatre to see the Simpsons movie with a tub of
    buttered popcorn, maybe you will figure out how to create world
    peace. Either way, good for you!

    As for you, Gary B, relax - it's not about you.

    Most sincerely,
    Neville
    Chicago, IL  

  5. # Blogger rohorn

    Yeah, I suppose I am as well. So what.

    No, seriously now:

    You inspire people - unfortunately, you will also inspire stupid people to write stupid things. Aren't you glad you don't make them happy? I can only guess about Gary B's ailment - but why waste time in his head. That would not be one of those better things to do with our time.

    My late mother had a sign in the kitchen:

    To Avoid Criticism:
    Say Nothing
    Do Nothing
    Be Nothing


    Anyway, glad you shared your downer - hope the response picks you up to a higher place than you were before. Just don't avoid criticism.

    A fellow real person,

    Bob Horn

    http://rohorn.com
    303 783 8923  

  6. # Blogger lulu

    You know Greg, I believe that great things are acheived with passion. Or rather, it takes passion to achieve great things. Passion is a very self-centric
    thing, it is a personal response to an idea or a dream.

    Sure, it may come across as egomania, but I suggest that anyone who strives to be the best they can be and realise their personal goal or vision will always inspire others along the way. The KidPower program is a wonderful and worthy project, as well as a necessary one.

    If your projects mean that you may be seen as a blowhard egomaniac, who cares? Only those who probably don't have the passion to strive for great things themselves, whether it be at a local community level or a big-picture national or global level. Keep following your passion.

    Liza  

  7. # Anonymous Juergen

    Keep on truckin' Greg.
    I enjoy reading your exploits and have followed your work since your early ideas of crossing Canada on a trike. Your work inspires me and others.
    Remember "sticks and stones...."
    Just keep on going.

    Thanks
    Juergen  

  8. # Blogger Annie

    Dear Greg,
    I am really impressed by your answer, you can put into words your
    > achievements better than anybody else that I know. BRAVO!
    > I am very positive about your impact on kids and adults, you have drive
    > and motivation so please do not let anybody tell you anything negative.
    > Sometimes a bad comment makes you think about your life in general
    > and it is OK to fight for what you believe in.
    > I would like to get involved with you in your campaign for kids. I have
    > done a lot of volunteering for children and it would be nice to
    > do that again.
    > I have time and am feeling great again.
    > You are still my hero.
    > Annie  

  9. # Anonymous Anonymous

    Greg,
    I think you can take great pride in this email response. I can see your passion for inspiring others to do what they're best at. Obviously you've brought out this person's talents for complaint and criticism. As a way of thanking him you should invite him over to your place for a swim, bike ride
    or run - he might realize that it isn't egotistical to advertise genuine and helpful accomplishments. It is egotistical to criticize people who do.

    Seriously, his psychopathic behavior (making harsh remarks as if they are helpful) is a symptom of Toxoplasmosis, or possibly a host of other psycho-biological parasites that manifest in people who let their immune system degrade as a result of poor diet, fitness and relationships. Although I know the cause and the cure, I don't know how to make adults want
    it when they've become comfortably stagnant in their self-destruction. And anytime you fight an adversary that you can't defeat you risk making them stronger. Educating kids is the only way I know to a hopeful future, inspiring them is easier and the most beneficial. Along the way you'll inspire some adults to be less constructive, it doesn't do any good to confront them angrily (and in fact I don't know what does) but I've gotten
    the best results by smiling and answering their vitriol with grattitude. Kind of like waving and smiling at a driver that tries to run you off the road when you're cycling - they figure you're hopelessly nice or stupid. Either way they leave you alone.

    Thanks for the good things you've inspired in me, and the people I've shared your story with.
    Sincerely,
    Nick Hein
    Morgantown, WV  

  10. # Anonymous Anonymous

    On 8/10/07, neil waldron
    > I feel sorry for Gary B,
    >
    > Boy oh boy, If I was awarded 2 guiness records, there would be adds
    in
    > papers, tv adds, banners off tall buildings and probably I would try
    and con
    > nasa into taking piccies into space to.
    >
    > Just to let Gary B know "GUINESS BOOK OF WORLD RECORDS, IS RIGHTS FOR
    > BRAGGING BIG TIME WHOEVER IT IS AND FOR WHATEVER IS ACHIEVED".
    >
    > A good yell fixed things right up.
    >
    > Just to let Greg know, I suffered spinal injuries which makes it very
    hard
    > for me to do benificial exersice, but since I began reading his web
    based
    > journal, I have started albeit in small steps to get back into
    exersice. I
    > can now walk around 500 metres ( that is a long way for me) on a good
    day. I
    > am hoping by Christmas that 1 Km will be achievable.
    >
    > As we are suffering an obecity epidemic, isnt anything that
    encourages kids
    > to exersice and get fit good and in need of backing. I would say
    YES! more
    > yelling!
    >
    > In short, Gary B go crawl back under whatever rock you came from.
    >
    > Greg, keep up the good work, dont stop and maybe just maybe you will
    help
    > get kids up and active, which in itself is a worth while goal.
    >
    > Neil
    > Australia  

  11. # Anonymous Anonymous

    Good rebuttal Greg... bottom line - the guy's just a jealous underachieving moron. You'll gain more credibility by bringing his 'opinion' to the forefront - then tackling it head on like you did - rather than just ignoring it. He represents a demographic that just doesn't get it.. and likely will never get it.

    Cyrille  

  12. # Anonymous Anonymous

    Greg,

    As a result of your accomplishments (and the blessing I received when my health was restored after my illness some 5 years ago), I have been motivated to take better care of myself and to dream a little more about how far I can push my body. I have always been into power lifting, but I now ride a stationary recumbent bike at the local YMCA and I am building myself up for the day when I can pedal myself 65 miles to work (one way). I am sure it will be some combination of stored electricity, generated electricity and solar power, but I believe it will happen. This would definitely not be my mindset if you and I had never met. Please continue on your quest and rest assured that you are making a difference (even with us old dogs)...

    Buzz  

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