Bear Grylls Breaks Down What it Means to be an Outsider: ‘The Greatest People in the World are Always Outsiders’ (Exclusive)

by Jon D. B.
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“The true Outsiders have the most inclusive hearts,” Bear Grylls offers ahead of Running Wild‘s return to National Geographic.

“Adventure is truly a state of mind.” Wise words to live by from entertainment’s premiere adventurist and self-professed Outsider, Bear Grylls. A staple of Hollywood’s outdoors ethos for two decades running, Bear has hosted a slew of wildly successful survival-based series. Running Wild alone is six seasons in with a seventh on the way. This longevity is precisely why he and the show’s NatGeo crew chose to mix things up for Season 7, adding The Challenge as a title tagline.

It’s more than just a title change, too. This year’s first two episodes highlight celebrity guests performing survival maneuvers and tactics far more dangerous than any attempted in seasons prior. For Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings‘ star Simu Liu, this meant causing, then traversing, a Canadian Rockies avalanche, only to submerse himself into subzero waters alongside Bear with nothing to protect them but the skin on their bones.

“It’s the most dangerous feat anyone’s performed on Running Wild,” Bear tells Simu in their episode. And the survivalist chalks Simu’s incredible fortitude up to one thing: “His Outsider spirit.”

“I love the fact that Simu described himself as an Outsider,” Bear tells me over the phone as he travels. “I said, ‘You’re going to fit in great here!’ We’re a whole crew of misfits on this show.”

Canadian Rockies – Simu Liu in RUNNING WILD WITH BEAR GRYLLS: THE CHALLENGE. (Credit: National Geographic/Ben Simms)

When it comes to the archetype-defying brilliance of the episode’s accountant-turned-Marvel-hero, the spirit of a true Outsider is “his genius,” Bear praises. “It’s what sets him apart. Simu came from nowhere, and he broke the mold, beat the odds, and he re-wrote the rulebook of how to become a superstar overnight. And that’s an Outsider spirit.”

Bear Grylls: ‘I think the greatest people in the world are always Outsiders’

It’s a moniker Bear knows better than anyone. And he’s learned to see it in others.

“I think the greatest people in the world are always Outsiders,” he offers in a hearty tone. “It’s the outsiders, the outliers, it’s the pioneers in life that always change the world. I think what you guys do at Outsider is right in our wheelhouse of living and breathing the fact that adventure is truly a state of mind.”

Canadian Rockies – RUNNING WILD WITH BEAR GRYLLS: THE CHALLENGE. (Credit: National Geographic/Ben Simms)

For Bear, the Outsider spirit is one of taking risks, building bonds, and chiefly: respect. “It crosses everything we do. Our relationships, our aspirations, our approach to the wild places. Our goals, our dreams. But here’s the thing,” he pauses. “An Outsider spirit doesn’t mean an outsider attitude towards other people. The true Outsiders have the most inclusive hearts.”

‘An Outsider spirit doesn’t mean an outsider attitude towards other people. The true Outsiders have the most inclusive hearts’

“He’s like that,” Bear continues of Simu. “He’s a truly inclusive person, a true team player. And he’s a humble guy who was willing to make himself vulnerable on this journey and go with it. To trust me to look after him, and show an amazing side of himself on this journey, as well.”

Canadian Rockies – Simu Liu in RUNNING WILD WITH BEAR GRYLLS: THE CHALLENGE. (Credit: National Geographic/Ben Simms)

In the end, as Simu and the seasoned survivalist warm themselves by a fire, Bear describes the actor as “A true hero.” And this, he says, is another moniker all Outsiders should aspire to.

Running Wild with Bear Grylls: The Challenge premieres July 25 at 9 p.m. ET on National Geographic. Subscribers can stream all new episodes exclusively beginning August 10 on Disney+, where former seasons are also available.

Outsider will be back soon with plenty more from Bear Grylls in the lead up to The Challenge.

Outsider.com