Mike Tyson – The Living Embodiment of the Awesome Power of Mentors


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You may find this hard to believe, but Mike Tyson was a self-help nut.

Once Tyson came under the watchful mentoring eyes of Cus D’Amato, he embarked on an intensive self-help regimen that transformed him from a street thug into a boxing legend.

Tyson’s book, Undisputed Truth is a testament to the power of self-improvement. This book is filled with all sorts of self-help information Tyson learned from legendary trainer, Cus D’Amato. It is actually an amazing education, this book, if you can get past all of the horror that was Tyson’s non-boxing life. Cus taught things to Tyson that were straight out of bestselling self-help books such as Think and Grow Rich, The Power of the Subconscious Mind and even my book, Rich Habits.

In fact, I was shocked how many Rich Habits Cus taught Tyson. What those teachings did was create perhaps the greatest, most successful boxing heavyweight, the world had ever known.

There were so many firsts in Tyson’s dramatic boxing career that you cannot dispute the affect those self-help lessons had in molding Mike Tyson into a boxing Virtuoso.

  • Visualizations – Tyson used visualization techniques, created by Cus D’Amato, to help him see himself as a fierce, quick-footed boxer. Cus had Tyson engage in visualizations as part of his nightly ritual. Occasionally, according to ttyson’s book, Cus would sit next to Tyson’s bed and assist him with his nightly visualization routine. Cus had Tyson visualize himself as the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, a fearsome, unbeatable fighter and as one of the best boxers of all time, even better than Marciano and Ali. He had him visualize his training and his bouts. Cus turned Tyson’s brain into a virtual movie theater.
  • Affirmations – Affirmations, like the visualizations, were another part of the reprogramming techniques Cus used on Tyson. Cus had Tyson repeat various affirmations that were tied to his goals, in bed just before falling off to sleep. Cus would repeat many of the affirmations to Tyson even during the day. He’d feed Tyson’s mind with statements about being unbeatable, becoming the undisputed heavyweight champion, going down in history as the greatest boxer the world had ever known, etc.
  • Deliberate Practice – Part of Tyson’s training regimen included repeatedly hitting a torso displayed on a mattress, over and over again in the same spot. Every combination he threw at that mattress became programmed into his subconscious. Tyson took these Deliberate Practice Rich Habits with him into the ring. Like an automaton, he hit opponents with the same ferocity and focus he exacted on his mattress.
  • Moderate Eating – Cus monitored what Tyson ate every day. If he saw Tyson eating something fattening, like ice cream, he would get in his face, reminding him of the dreams and goals they were pursuing. Tyson would put down his ice cream and re-focus his thinking and behaviors because those dreams and goals were more important to him than ice cream.
  • Self-Improvement Reading – Cus instilled in Tyson a love of reading. He encouraged this behavior daily and provided Tyson with all sorts of historical and biographical books beyond just boxing. Tyson credited those books with helping him understand the way people think and thus, helping him psyche out his opponents. One of Tyson’s favorite reading subjects was Alexander the Great. He often thought of himself as boxing’s version of Alexander the Great.
  • Learn From Mistakes – In his early amateur bouts, Cus and Tyson would go over all of his mistakes, post-bout, and then correct them in the gym. Cus viewed every one of those early bouts as a learning experience for Tyson. Cus told Tyson that the best lessons came from being defeated. That’s where the hard lessons were learned, he’d tell Tyson.
  • Goals – Together, Cus and Tyson set numerous goals always tied to the dream of becoming a heavyweight champion. Every day they focused on their goals. Tyson would go on to become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, winning all three belts, the last one on March 7, 1987 at the age of 20. He was the first heavyweight boxer to simultaneously hold the WBA, WBC and IBF titles, and the only heavyweight to successively unify them. He was also the youngest.

Good mentors not only make success possible, they are the fast track to success – Mike Tyson went from street thug to heavyweight champ in just five years, under Cus D’Amato’s mentoring. Tyson, like most individuals who find a success mentor, was very lucky to have found Cus D’Amato. Cus was not only a great trainer, he was steeped in self-help wisdom. What transformed Tyson, Iron Mike Tyson, was his willingness to embrace all of the mentoring Cus could dish out, and his belief, instilled in him by Cus, that he controlled the circumstances of his life.

Mike Tyson is the living embodiment of the power of mentors.

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Thomas C. Corley About Thomas C. Corley

Tom Corley is a bestselling author, speaker, and media contributor for Business Insider, CNBC and a few other national media outlets.

His Rich Habits research has been read, viewed or heard by over 50 million people in 25 countries around the world.

Besides being an author, Tom is also a CPA, CFP, holds a master’s degree in taxation and is President of Cerefice and Company, a CPA firm in New Jersey.
Phone Number: 732-382-3800 Ext. 103.
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  1. Wanda Rosseland says:

    Wow! Thank you, Tom. Pretty unbelievable.


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