Mike Tyson On Fear
Mike Tyson was arguably one of the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time. Few boxers could match his combination of speed, power, and technique. Mike was knocking out grown men when he was just a teenager. He became the youngest heavyweight champion in history at the age of 20.
For those of you who remember watching his fights (or have seen his old fights on youtube) it was typical of him to score a brutal knockout in the first few rounds. Tyson had a very aggressive and unrelenting style. He beat many guys off of brute intimidation alone. In fact, the great Larry Holmes even admitted he was scared for the first time in his life when he stepped into the ring to fight Tyson.
But what a lot of people don’t know is that for the most part it was all an act. Tyson was far from the fearless and totally confident fighter he pretended to be. The confident, fearless attitude was something that was instilled in him by his trainer and mentor, the late Cus D’amato:
I tell my kids, what is the difference between a hero and a coward? What is the difference between being yellow and being brave? No difference. Only what you do. They both feel the same. They both fear dying and getting hurt. The man who is yellow refuses to face up to what he’s got to face. The hero is more disciplined and he fights those feelings off and he does what he has to do. But they both feel the same, the hero and the coward. People who watch you judge you on what you do, not how you feel.
At a young age Tyson learned how to harness and control his own fear and project it on to his opponents. He kept up a fearless attitude to psych everyone out. In other words, Tyson knew the art of skullduggery:
The concept of a fearless warrior is a complete myth. We all feel fear. But as men we are not judged so much by what we say but rather what we do. A man separates himself based on his actions, not feelings.
I highly recommend watching the 2008 documentary Tyson for more great wisdom.
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