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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Weekend special: Have you learnt anything from the Mike Tyson story?

One of the reasons why this blog continues to attract such huge traffic from all over the world since its’ inception in 2005 is because of the trouble I take to listen. I mean really listen to what people are saying.

Try it for yourself the next time you have a conversation, because the rewards are immense. In my case people are always amazed at how I constantly seem to have my hand on the pulse of the nation and in some cases the pulse of other distant lands (like the time I predicted here the correct winner of the US presidential polls when the primaries had barely began).

From really listening to people one of the things I have picked up in recent times is that most people these days feel that they have had dramatically better times in the past and are almost down and out just now in retrospect. This is not only true in Kenya but virtually all over the world.

While this may appear to be obvious considering the downturn of the world economy in recent times, there are other extreme cases of people who were once rich but are now are paupers and even beggars. An excellent example here is some of the internally displaced persons IDPs who emerged from the disputed presidential elections of 2007.

The first thing you need to know is that a vast majority of people who lose large sums of money and are forced to change their lifestyles usually don’t survive. They just die… and I am not kidding. So the first thing you must know when you see anybody who has fallen from riches to rags still in good health is that they have to possess a certain amount of strength that must be admired before anything else.

This weekend we shall delve deeply into the come-back game and what it takes. Perhaps you are reading this and are deeply in debt not knowing what the future holds for you, if you indeed have any future. Take heart. My mission this weekend is simply to inspire you and help you focus on the stuff that really matters for your great comeback. Everybody loves a come back story but the truth is that they are very few around. Hopefully after this set of articles things will never be the same again for you and we will have many more come back kids around.

We shall start this series with the life of a man who has never made it back and is still struggling even as you read this. I believe that by examining his life and what is going on with him, we shall not only set the right mood but also learn tons of valuable lessons.

I am talking about former boxing heavyweight champion of the world Mike Tyson. This man once had millions of dollars in his account. For instance the Tyson and Holyfield fight of June 28, 1997. It was the most lucrative event in history and held that record until 2007. The bout drew such interest that it grossed a cool $100 million. Tyson received $30 million and Holyfield $35 million—the highest paid professional boxing purses ever for the next 10 years.

But amazingly Mike Tyson lost it all and has been reduced to a virtual beggar. At one time he featured in porn movies just to put food on the table.

Most of you reading this would swear that if you ever made half of $30 million you would be much wiser and be set for life and you would never lose it. Hold your horses and learn something from the life of poor Mike Tyson. I promise that you will not be so cocky at the end of this series of articles.

Let us start with some quotes from a recent interview the legendary boxer gave that give us a clearer insight into the life of this broke legend;

It's just a simple question of humility. If you're not humble, life will visit humbleness upon you. I'm a really damaged human being, and it's still such a struggle, but I'm going to fight to the end this time…

… I'm not a pacifist and never will be. I still get angry, and I still scream. I can talk about humility, but I'm not humble. I mean, if you say, "I'm humble," you've just contradicted yourself. But I'm trying to be, man, I'm trying so hard.

… If I was going to medicate, I'd just smoke a joint. Nah, it's trauma I'm dealing with. And it's this fucking ego of mine.

Q: So what were you thinking when you bit him(Holyfield fight)?
Mike Tyson: I wasn't thinking. I wasn't training for that fight. I was on fucking drugs, thinking I was a god. I should've been home with my family, man. My kids.

Q: What's the story behind your Mao tattoo?
Mike Tyson: I read his book when I was in prison, man. Down in the hole. They thought they were punishing me in that little room—no toilet, no bed. I got myself put down there so I could read Chairman Mao and not have to deal with all that prison bullshit. The thing that stuck from his Quotations book: "No investigation, no right to speak." If you aren't going to look deep, just shut up.

I got no money. I'm not a glamour guy anymore. I got friends who've got money, so it looks like I've got money, but I don't. All the money I had, forget it. I never had anything, never had a stitch on me that felt like freedom. But to have somebody by your side, win, lose, or draw. My wife's lived with me in places I wouldn't take a shit in. I wouldn't be a prostitute in some of the places my wife and I have slept.

- Mike Tyson –

d part 2.


Anonymous said...

Wow! I love this Chris. I really love it!!!

Kenya army blogspot said...

Women must have played a major role in Mike Tyson loosing his fortune.

If Mike Tyson's wife did not abandon him after he went broke, I want a woman like her.

What made Samuel Wanjiru not only loose his fortune but also his wealth????? Women

Kenya army blogspot said...

I meant
" What made Samuel Wanjiru not only loose his fortune but also his life?????" Women

Anonymous said...

It has been proven that the fastest way to get poor is to get mixed up with a gold digger of a woman.

Tyson didn't rape he was raped himself mpaka he became broke.

M. Pesa said...

GREAT Topic Chris. Now please allow me to share this real life story along the same theme....

I had this lazy friend some years back that no one cared about. He just loved drinking and partying daily from the little cash he made from some stupid casual jobs.

This guy had left Kenya due to so many debts and lack of job to go and "hide" abroad like so many Kenyans do. Whenever people had parties in their houses as Kenyans love doing when abroad, this guy would never be invited. The simple reason being that he would quickly drink all the beer without any financial contribution as was the norm, we used to call it "mchango!".

But my good friend would sniff the air and nevertheless gatecrash the parties, help himself in your fridge and grab a four beer pack to much anger of the host.

He would dance like a lunatic stepping on people's toes while elbowing about for space. Within time, someone would be holding their bleeding nose as a result of a heavy elbow from this drunk clown.

To make things worse, my broke ass friend would obviously be too drunk to to take a taxi home. He didn't have a ride and the worst mistake you can make in US or Europe is to drive while drunk.

By now you must have guessed he would stagger upstairs without anyone's knowledge and climb into your bed with his shoes on, then snore like a pig, without a care in the world. Even spanking his lazy backside very hard with a mwiko would not move him. He would just unleash a loud fart and snore on.

To cut a long story short, this guy who used to sleep on my sofa and refuse to move unless I used doom to smoke him out eventually got a grip in his life and started a small company and got married.

That was nearly 10 years ago. Today he has about 5 different companies spanning the globe. He has employed hundreds of people and is one of the most successful real estate developers in Kenya.

What spurred my friend to act (I believe) is his father who was very well off but landed hard on the ground after arrest and conviction in jail.

The auctioneers had a field day as they swarmed on their home like bees. My friend became a "come back kid" in his dad's place who was rotting in jail and battling serious diseases in Kamiti.

Moral of the story? Usiwahi cheka mwenzako leo. As they say, be good to people on your way up coz you may need them on your way down.

Nice Weekend guys.

Anonymous said...

M.Pesa has just told us the story of his life.
No wonder he got the handle mzee pesa.

Thank you for opening up and telling kk readers your own story mzee pesa

Anonymous said...

Mike Tyson may still be down in life but let's give him his due respect for not ever taking himself out of life, or rather taking he's own life just because life as he once knew it has bailed out on him.

The former champion is not a saint nor is he one of the biggest sinners in the world of boxing, or sports in general.

Many are still aware of how the media once had a field day by jumping on every opportunity to demonize and vilify Mike Tyson, who didn't know any better at the time.

And because Mike Tyson seemed larger than life and had such an aura around people, as well as a heavyweight charisma in front of audiences, there are people out there who thought that he had a big ego, he was an SOB, a punk, a woman beater, a beast, and all sorts of things.

But they had no idea that he was human, a person who thought about others and put them first, and it's for that very reason that so many people in his personal life, entrourage, handlers, business managers, lawyers, promoters, good weather friends, social leeches, and worst of all, the masamorra who were around him 24/7, took every advantage of him, literally robbing him left and right.

Most people would readily admit that they had expected Mike Tyson to have self-destructed to the point of taking his own life or being put behind bars for many years or for life.

Remember one O.J. Simpson who is now serving a total of 33 years in prison?

So far, Mike Tyson has survived better than many people would have expected or even wished him to since he is no longer a glamour guy anymore and a readily available meal ticket for some.

Sadly, lest we forget, there are number of professional athletes from around the world who have taken their own lives for one reason or another - that had nothing to do with personal financial crisis - since July of 1997.

Hideki Irabu, former baseball pitcher being the latest casualty.

Luckly for Mike Tyson, he has held his own ground in the best way he knows how and learned to keep his eyes off the mirror of what was once upon a time.

All things taken into account, Mike Tyson may still be struggling and fighting with his (kn)own demons, but he is alive and well against all the odds that were stacked up against him.

The has survived and I am sure that he will continue to survive with the help of his loved ones, and maybe become the comeback kid in the world boxing as trainer and reknown gym owner for the next generation.

Anonymous said...

Chris, one of my favourite "come back kid" or for that matter the one time Lazarus ["a homeless father who no dollar to his name nor any cushion (safety) in his life"] that had been left for dead is none other than the 57 year-old Chris Gardner.

kumekucha said...

Thank you M.Pesa for your heart-warming story. What a sensational come back. There are people like that who are brilliant and talented but can only thrive under pressure or after a misfortune like your friends'.

Anon@8:18 You have just done my next post for me and maybe even in a better way than I would have done it myself. And you have forced me to rework my next post... but am almost done with it. Great job though.

Anon@8:29 I didn't know who you were talking about until I googled it and realized it is the guy who inspired that excellent Will Smith movie; In pursuit of happiness.

Chris Kumekucha

Anonymous said...

Fellow Kenyans,
It has been stated that no man is an island unto him or herself, and truly no human being on this planet can succeed in life apart from companionship with his or her fellow human beings

The human male species in particular is a very interesting study as relates to this analogy; he can be said to require a female companion(for behind every successful man there is a great woman) and he can also be said to require association in the form of other men or women similar to him(misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows; and birds of a feather flock together)

But one thing that is very unique to man in his singular form(on his own and by himself) is that evil prevails solely if a man who is good (and not hard to find-this thinking is common from the female species!) does nothing to stop it.that is how important you as the individual male species are

It is only when life's circumstances are at a crisis point that the great man inside of you will be forced to emerge often in a most dramatic and sensational manner, and the resulting consequences are clear for all to see as in the case of MPESA or MZEE PESA and his "lazy millionaire" friend

So don't chose to give up on life simply because you are jobless, broke, and going nowhere fast, while tarmacking on the road 9-5 looking for any sort of job as your fellow Kenyans who use Kumekucha are living in lofy western European and Northern American capitals-

take heart men; this country is riding on your great backs of your actions or lack thereof; whether like the UoN and JKUAT male students who graduated today;or you have been tarmacking since 2002 when President Kibaki made it into power promising 500,000 jobs a year- don't give up! you are important to the past, present and future of this country

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