Cus D’Amato’s Lessons That Transformed Mike Tyson Into a Champion

Hard to believe, but boxing legend Mike Tyson was the product of an intensive self-help regimen that transformed him from a street thug into a boxing legend. I am reading his blockbuster book, Undisputed Truth (, and it is filled with all sorts of self-help information that he 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, the boxer.

Here are some of the self- help lessons that were responsible for turning Tyson into a legend:

  • 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 the 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.
  • Repetition by Doing – Part of Tyson’s training regimen included repeatedly hitting a torso displayed on a mattress, over and over again in the same specific spots. Every combination he threw at that mattress became programmed into his subconscious. This soon became a habit that Tyson would take with him into the ring.
  • 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 to change his behavior. Tyson was always on guard as to what he ate out of fear of retribution from Cus.
  • 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 and worked to realize those goals. One of those goals was to become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world by winning all three belts, which Tyson did 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.

Mike Tyson was very fortunate to have Cus D’Amato as his mentor. Cus D’Amato was not only a great trainer, he was steeped in self-help knowledge. What made Tyson, Iron Mike Tyson, was his willingness to embrace all of the self-help training Cus could dish out, and his belief that he controlled the circumstances of his life. Tyson soaked up all of Cus D’amato’s self-help knowledge like a sponge.  It was a perfect mentor-men-tee relationship; one the boxing world will likely never see again.

Be Sociable, Share!
Thomas C. Corley About Thomas C. Corley

Tom Corley understands the difference between being rich and poor: at age nine, his family went from being multi-millionaires to broke in just one night, due to a catastrophic fire that destroyed his Dad's thriving business. For fourteen years they struggled with poverty. There were eleven in Tom's family, and they lived in constant fear of losing their home.

Driven by the desire to unlock the secrets to success and failure, Tom spent five years studying the daily activities of 233 rich people and 128 poor people. He discovered there was an immense difference between the habits of the rich and the poor. During his research he identified over 300 daily activities that separated the “haves” from the “have nots.” Tom decided to write a book to share what he learned. That book, Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals (1st Edition), went on to become an Amazon Bestseller in the United States forty times over a three year period. To give you some perspective, in order to be a true Amazon Bestseller in the United States, where you actually receive a specific Bestseller designation from Amazon, you need to be in the top 100 of all books sold by Amazon in the United States in a given day. Rich Habits did that for nearly thirty straight days, rising as high as #7, eclipsing such Bestselling authors such as Stephen Covey, Robert Kiyosaki and J.K. Rowlings. Imagine that - an unknown, first-time, self-published author selling more books than J.K. Rowlings!

Tom now travels the world, sharing his Rich Habits and motivating audiences at industry conferences, corporate events, universities, multi-level marketing group events, and global sales organizations’ presentations and finance conferences. He has even spoken on the same stage with famous entrepreneurs and personal development experts, such as Sir Richard Branson, Robin Sharma, Dr. Daniel Amen, and many others.

Tom has shared his insights on various national and international network, cable, and Internet television programs such as CBS Evening News, NBC News, Yahoo Financially Fit,, India TV, Australia, and a host of others. He has been interviewed on many prestigious nationally syndicated radio shows, including the Dave Ramsey Show, Marketplace Money, and WABC.

Tom has been featured in numerous print magazines—such as Money magazine, Inc. Magazine, SUCCESS Magazine, Entrepreneur magazine, Fast Company magazine, More magazine, Epoca Magazine (Brazil’s largest weekly) and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine—and various online publications, including USA Today, CNN, MSN Money,,, and the Huffington Post. Tom is a frequent contributor to Business Insider,, and a few other media outlets.

National publicity has garnered international media attention for Tom and his Rich Habits research spanning 23 countries. Broadcast media, online publications, and television throughout Asia, the South Pacific, Europe, the United Kingdom, and Central and South America have shared his powerful message.

In an effort to help parents, grandparents, teachers and adults become success mentors to the younger generation, Tom released his second book, Rich Kids: How to Raise Our Children to be Happy and Successful in Life in 2014. This book was the self-help category winner of the 2015 New York Book Festival and Runner-up in the prestigious 2015 Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards Contest. In 2016 Tom released his third book, Change Your Habits, Change Your Life. This book provides the latest science on habit change as well as more of Tom's unique research on the specific habits that helped transform 177 ordinary individuals into self-made millionaires.

Besides being an author, Tom is also a CPA, CFP, and hold a master’s degree in taxation. As president of Cerefice and Company, CPAs, Tom heads one of the premier financial firms in New Jersey.
Phone Number: 732-382-3800 Ext. 103.
Email Tom
| Download Media Kit

Speak Your Mind