A Story of Transformation
I just caught the last half of an interview with Mike Tyson on the Larry King Show on TV. It was so interesting to see a living example of someone who has achieved tremendous internal change. He is quite open about himself and his personal attitudes. But his changes are also apparent in his demeanor---how he interacted with Larry King, his tone of voice, body language and, of course, in his verbal responses. He seemed transparent to me, meaning he was genuine and sincere. I felt the truth in his answers to the questions. It is worthy of mention, I think, that listening to a person who is simply being straightforward can be fascinating. After the show, I saw on the Internet many tweets attesting to the same experience I had.
As he is now, I would describe Mike Tyson as a humble, thoughtful, man with inner strength and a commitment to his own personal development. Yet, if you review his history, you will see that at this point, he is an example of tremendous transformation. In his history is great success very early in life (heavyweight champ at age 20), breaking the rules (biting the ears of an opponent), breaking the law (convicted of rape and imprisoned for 3 years), and lots of other violent, outrageous, behavior as well as drinking and drugging abusively and enduring tragedy (the death of his child). He talked about knowing that he needs "structure" and routine in his life. This is very telling to a therapist as it indicates a piece of his early development that didn't go well (or some other kind of deficit), and explains some of his acting-out behavior. (Most healthy adults can provide their own structure, internally.) But what is encouraging is that he has identified this, and is now able to design his life in such a way that he has the optimal chance of functioning well and in a healthy manner.
As he is now, he seemed to be simple in his expectations of life. I am sure that he lives well, based on the earnings and acclaim that he built in his early, fabulously successful, career. Yet, he declared that he feels lucky to be alive and grateful. His belief is that he should enter into life fully and energetically as long as he lives. His optimistic view is revealed in his belief that stupendous things can happen to a person if they enter into living wholeheartedly. He has managed to change a penchant for aggression and violence into an ability to protect himself good-naturedly by joking, being direct, and fending off intrusiveness or insults in a non-provocative manner. The humility I mentioned earlier is evidenced in his declaration that he is in no position to judge others and that he doesn't.