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 –
Read part 2.