To make space for the things you want in life—whether it’s a new career or more stamina at the gym—you may find it helpful to look to legends like Mike Tyson for advice. Over his 20-year career, Tyson showed America what being a champion looks like, winning 50 of his total 58 fights and becoming the first heavyweight boxer to simultaneously hold the WBA, WBC and IBF titles. Was Tyson simply born with the natural gifts of speed and strength? Or did he work tirelessly to ensure his steady rise to victory? To find out, we looked to Mike Tyson’s life and some of the best Mike Tyson quotes on productivity to see what we could glean from his long and prosperous career. Whether you’re looking to enter the boxing ring yourself, or your worst opponent is your own procrastination, these Mike Tyson motivational tips will have you primed for a knockout.
1. Practice Daily Affirmations
“As a 13-year-old and 14-year-old kid, [trainer Cus D’Amato] would sit me down and put me under hypnosis and he would tell me that I'm the most ferocious fighter that God ever created...and I'd go through all those affirmations: ‘Day by day, in every way, I'm getting better, better, better.’”
In his book, Iron Ambition: My life with Cus D'Amato, Mike Tyson explains how a daily routine of hypnosis, visualization and affirmations helped to create his productive and victorious mindset. Science backs him up too. Research shows that self-affirmation enhances performance and makes us receptive to our mistakes. You can try this at home by setting aside some time each day to visualize yourself having achieved your ultimate goal. What would that look like? If your ultimate goal is writing an award-winning screenplay, you might visualize yourself onstage at the Academy Awards. If your goal is becoming a heavyweight championship, visualize yourself in that ring. You may find it even more helpful to create an actual picture using magazine cutouts or drawings and display your goal picture where you can see it frequently. Pair this visualization with an affirmation, a verbal expression that supports your goal. Repeat this affirmation several times every day and expect results to flow in.
2. Be Adaptable
“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”
When asked by a reporter if he was worried about Evander Holyfield and his fight plan, he shot back with a line that made history: “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” While he didn’t mean that planning was useless, he did mean that you should be prepared to alter that plan if something unexpected throws you off course. Being adaptable relies on the ability to not panic when things don’t go according to plan. Instead of feeling hopeless or giving up when an unexpected event disorients you, adaptability allows you to learn from the experience and develop new skills to make you stronger the next time around.
3. Ditch the Past
“The lowest form of conversation is ‘was.’”
In an interview with sports journalist Brandon Steiner, Tyson refused to share his “favorite” fight, explaining that a good friend once told him it was pointless to dig into the past. You may also find that history keeps you from moving forward. Be like Tyson and keep living in the present tense. If you let past failures and mistakes weigh you down, you prevent yourself from making room for your future successes. You may also have to take a hard look at the people around you, your daily habits, and your lifestyle and ask yourself if they’re aligned with your goals. Breaking up is hard to do, but not if it leads to a better you.
4. Don’t Worry About the Opinions of Others
“It doesn’t matter what anyone says about me. I’m a totally different entity to what other people think. Michael and Tyson are two different people. I’m Tyson here.”
Just like you shouldn’t let the past be a menace to your success, you shouldn’t be misguided by what other people say. Tyson’s quote about being a “different entity” to what others think proves that he allows himself to craft the persona that fits him best. If you want to dream big, don’t let the narrow-minded opinions of your enemies bring you down. And remember — you have plenty of different personas that make up who you are. Don’t let criticism about your performance at work have a negative impact on your personal life, and vice versa.
5. Adopt a Fighter Mindset
“Anybody can be a good fighter, but the same qualities of becoming a good fighter are what you’re going to need to be good at anything in life — discipline, self-sacrifice and the ability to absorb some punishment — mental, physical, emotional.”
In an interview with Men’s Journal, Tyson lets his humble nature shine though. To make space for the things you want in life, you don’t have to be a fighter, but you’d be wise to have a fighter mindset. You may not end up with a gleaming belt around your waist, but you’ll have something more: the satisfaction of having entered the ring. How that’s for some Mike Tyson motivation to get you powered up for the rest of your day?