David Grier - TLP

Inspirational Adventurer


David Grier – TLP is a speaker, chef and dedicated athlete and adventurist. He´s was born on the 16th of January 1960 into a Cape wine farming family in South Africa, here his love of the outdoors, food, wine and adventure began. He set out to take all his passions to the extreme and explore the limits of the human mind and body.

After studying Hotel Management, David set out into the industry, starting the first of a string of successful restaurants. Always pushing the boundaries in the food industry he slowly began to make his mark in the industry culminating in his most recent restaurant being rated in the top 100 in SA. This led to television, brand exposure and his own range of food products.

David Grier – TLP (Legacy Project)

David’s last challenge was the a run from Guantanimo bay on the southern tip of Cuba to the most North eastern point – This was done just after his run from the John O’ Groats to Lands End down the UK, then a run from South to North Up Ireland followed by a run along Hadrian’s wall.

In that same year David Grier – TLP Ran from the most northern temple in Kashmir India to the most southern temple in the ocean at Kanyikumari a distance of some 4008 km and a time span of 93 days becoming one of the first people to complete this deemed to be impossible feat.

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Interview Questions

As one progresses in life I feel that success does take on a different meaning, initially success tends to be all about that individual, or personal achievement, to stand out above those around you, to hear and absorb and to cherish that cheer of personal achievement.

I have now found that my personal achievement is done alone, in some quiet place. The main focus and gauge of ultimate success is what change I can bring to those around me, ultimately to make my life’s journey count by making a difference.

I have been driven by various things, I have along the way made mistakes , let people down, its quite normal for a person to do this sort of thing unintentionally, but I feel important to realize this and rectify it. This became a big driver, to be able to keep my word, not let a person down achieve what I have set out to do and what I have said I will do.

Then there is the real driver, when you get to the stage when you see what you can achieve by putting your hand out to the person next to you and helping them. That reward will give you the biggest drive

I think the first achievement was rewarding my parents with a degree of success in my business career as a chef, making them proud and showing them what they had sacrificed for me was worth it. My highlights have been my adventuring, Running the Great Wall of China, the Coast of South Africa, The paddle to Madagascar and running the island and then my Run down India.

The biggest achievement that has come out of my life has been what these adventures have done to me as an individual and how they have reshaped my life and career and through them I have now managed to raise funding for 1800 children to receive corrective surgery.

I have been part of the development and have deployed the AJUGA fire resistant structure into informal settlements. I have just completed the building of the OWETHU primary health care clinic that will be soon deployed to help uplift healthcare delivery to rural settlement.

As an individual we are ultimately as good as the people that we have around us, no one really achieves anything of any significance on his own, it’s all down to the group that we have helping supporting and propping us up and then delivering.

I feel that the ultimate difference is the individual’s ability to create a team around you that are capable of delivering what you have in mind and then set out to achieve this.

If I have to look back the journey that I have traveled, I feel the one strength that stands out is my vision  to see a problem as a challenge and to find a solution to it.

  • You need to be passionate and driven by what you want to achieve.
  • You have to be able to execute what you have in mind.
  • I have always felt that preparation is 90% of what you have to achieve, look at every small item and then when you feel that you have found a solution, look at it again.
  • Finding the correct people to team up with you and by this I mean people that have strengths that you don’t.
  • You have to be able to earn the respect of those around you or you will fail and lead by example.
  • Have grace, I feel that this is so important to be able to accept what happens along the way and come to terms with it, because you cant always win. There is no better tool than a good loss

Remember the hardest part of any journey is putting it together and that is where 90% of us fail, get frustrated and give up. This is where your self belief comes in. If you can push through getting the project up and running you will succeed.

I am passionate about what I do, I will not ask someone to do something that I wont do, I make sure that I am totally prepared for what lies ahead of me and very importantly I have a risk factor of 60-40, I am not prepared to put my self past that nor anyone with me.

I fully respect my team and listen to them, and most importantly I have learnt that when I am wrong I am wrong and will stand aside.

I feel that respect is paramount with this comes honesty and ones integrity. My family is really important to me and one can so easily overlook this when you are chasing a career or success, we all make this mistake and remember, its never to late to say “I am sorry” and change your focus.

The tools that have been critical to me have actually evolved out of my journeys and the most important thing is that they tend to be your faults that come to the surface and one realizes in order to move on you have to deal with them or you will fail. Mine have been the common ones that we all have to deal with.

  • I have had to change in so many ways and evolve.
  • In order to do this I have had to see the rewards I will gain from changing myself.
  • I have had to have the correct attitude in order to achieve this.
  • The stark realization that on my own I am nothing, I need the people around me
  • Then the simple one to achieve happiness, just drop your expectations a little to and achieve able level and you will be happy every day

On a psychological or mindset level, how do you use your mind and how do you think in a specific way to help you achieve your goals and realize your ambitions?

In the extreme adventure field, its 70% a mind game and the other 30% is that as well. The mindset is so important. Self belief is that fine line between success and failure. Then there is the ability to handle panic, it sounds quite hectic, but panic manifests in so many ways all day. It’s the ability to sit down under pressure and have a clear slow look at all the options available and choose the correct one, remembering that the correct one might not be the shortest, the easiest or the most rewarding, but it must be paramount to you long term success.

Appreciation – if one can swap the expectations for appreciation, just sit back and appreciate what you have your mind will become less clouded. I got such solid advice while running in India. “If you can find reason for why you are suffering then it is no longer suffering”

As humans I feel that we are in a way inherently negative creatures and we do polarize toward this and then look for the reasons why we are so negative and there are lots of those around us. I have had 3 situations where I have had serious self doubt and fear.

A fall in China that nearly ended the run, being washed down a river at 2 in the Morning in Madagascar in a Cyclone and then sitting down on the road in India where the demise of humanity had just got to me and I could not carry on, I had 2000 km still to go.

I have managed to deal with this because deep down inside I have that little strand of self belief that I can get up and try again even if I know that I might fail, but in order to dig that deep and reach inside, there needs to be a catalyst and that has always been the people around me who have believed in me, saying, get up and try again, I am nothing without them even if they are not there at the time.


I don’t feel that one can always perform at ones peak, but it’s the ability to manage the mental and physical strengths and get the body and mind working as one so that when the one lags the other can compensate it.

I am not a good reader, but love to listen to people and draw from their experiences. My biggest daily inspiration that just lifts me is to get outside an just appreciate the beauty of nature and free my mind a bit from the daily pressures

My ambition is to be the best possible father to my children and be the person that they can always access no matter what – I have planned a few more adventures that I would like to complete – My goal is to roll out as many fire resistant crèches across South Africa’s informal settlements and provide access to primary healthcare to impoverished rural settlements, but I cant do this on my own, I need you all

Life is a short term gift, use it and make the best of it, no one can live it for you its yours, live it.

My dad once said to me “Rather regret doing something that regretting not having done it”

I am not rich or wealthy in the material terms, but I have a wealth experiences and am rich in knowledge. This takes time, patience, planning and passion and its up to you, no one is going to make you rich

Like minded people will always gravitate but in saying this, to keep the energy going, and to reach what you have set out to achieve one needs to inject positivity, keep everyone engaged, listen to the people around you and most importantly everyone must play a part in the success and share in the reward of achievement

The most important relationship in life is the relationship with oneself, if you can master that all other relationships will work,

I made my journey count, I made a difference

Interview Date

  • 2015-09-07


  • South Africa



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