Lessons from Undisputed Truth: My Autobiography by Mike Tyson
I’ve always been an avid reader, and I have a particular interest in following the lives of those that made it to the top of their field. Mike Tyson is a name that will go down in boxing history as one of the fiercest fighters there ever was. So naturally this was a story I was interested to deep dive into.
I also want to document the things I took away from his story too. Due to my personal interest in mindset, and what makes a champion, I was looking for clues that contributed to his success.
A burning desire
Mike’s early years were tough. Far from it for me to give away the story of where he came from in this post, as it’s well worth a read for yourself. But suffice to say he wasn’t born with a head start in life. In fact, on paper you could say he didn’t have a chance. Yet he still managed to make it to the top of his field to be champion of the world.
What Mike had in his favour though, was a burning desire to be somebody. His experiences had cultivated a level of aggression within him, that he was able to lock on to a target and ‘go for’ with everything that he had.
This was a key take away for me as most people think they have a burning desire within them to achieve big things if you ask them. The truth is that not many people actually do. As Mike’s story shows, if you can cultivate that intensity of desire you can overcome many obstacles that otherwise seem insurmountable.
Get the right people in your corner
Through the book you see both ends up the spectrum when it comes to getting the right people around you. In his early years he has the support and guidance of a man named Cus who saw something in Mike that he hadn’t yet learned to see in himself. It’s impossible to say whether the world would or wouldn’t have seen Iron Mike on the world stage, had he never met this man. But from following the autobiography it was very clear that the two of them shared a special relationship.
Cus instilled qualities into Mike that went far beyond his boxing skills. They helped shape him as a man. There were many references to how they discussed psychology, and philosophy together.
As the story progresses he shares accounts of placing his career in the hands of those that didn’t have his best interests at heart. And the contrast is very clear.
Mike never once doubted himself. And always viewed himself as top of the pile. To the point that he didn’t always prepare fully for upcoming bouts, as he didn’t perceive opponents as a threat.
There was a question mark around whether his belief went too far at times, and whether his belief went to the point of arrogance and beyond. But either way, you can’t question what he achieved in his boxing career through his belief in himself.
A lesson to us all that we owe it to ourselves to back ourselves in life.
Dealing with your dark side
This autobiography was very candid, and you have to commend Mike Tyson for the level of openness and honesty he shared. All of us have our demons to deal with. And one of the dangers of huge success is greater access to all of the vices that may be our downfall.
“Money and success don’t change people; they merely amplify what is already there” – Will Smith
Like many people who have read the book I never fully appreciated the extent to Mike’s battle with drugs behind the scenes, and his relationship issues with women. His accounts made me realise just how fragile the line can be from being on top of the world one minute, to scraping the bottom the next. And nobody is above this reality.
For this reason it is important to take time to truly understand ourselves, and who we are deep down.
Understand your Baseline Normal
Later in his life Mike worked with a therapist who introduced him to the concept of his baseline normal. Which is actually a very powerful concept.
Our baseline normal can be viewed as our centre point which our mind is always pulling us back toward. Suggesting that no matter how high, or low you get, your baseline normal will be fighting to get you back to that level. Therefore to create any lasting change for ourselves, we all need to positively impact our baseline normal.
I’ve always tended to view this concept in terms of your comfort zone. For instance your central point of your comfort zone is where your sweet spot is, and where your mind is most comfortable being. We have this for every aspect of ourselves including our finances, our weight, or whatever.
If we attain a higher standard than our central point, we can find ourselves being pulled back to our sweet spot. You see this with people who have won the lottery, and within 5 years their bank account and net worth is back to where it was before they won it.
Equally, if we get to the lower end of our comfort zone we’re spurred into action to do something about it. This is often evident with people’s fitness levels. Where they may be relaxed about their goals until they deteriorate to a point where they are simple too uncomfortable to accept it. So we get in gear to rectifying the situation.
For me this was a good read
In my quest to study the warrior mindset there isn’t anyone who conjures up the warrior spirit more than Mike Tyson does. The man was built for battle, and I have no doubt at all that in his day he would have been fully prepared to die with his boots on, as he chased his dreams.
So it was extremely insightful to learn more about his own journey in his own words, and get a glimpse of what the world looked like through his own eyes.
Some of his accounts made me think about how the world is often just a reflection of who we are on the inside. When he talked about his feelings of hyper-vigilance, and how he could often see the bad sides of situations that other people missed, it gave you more of an understanding of the filters he was viewing the world through.
There is a fine line between pushing yourself to the limit, and falling over the edge. At times in his life Mike Tyson painted a picture of himself that frankly was a very intimidating, and scary guy. A guy who I wouldn’t like to bump into in the wrong hour that’s for sure. Yet he also shared a side of himself that does have a big heart, and a lot to give.
I couldn’t put it down, and there were times in the book I felt every punch he took. Inside and outside the ring. Some deep lessons within if you look for them.Undisputed Truth: My Autobiography
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