Heads Up Teens: Know Your Values and Motivation Becomes Simple

Heads Up Teens:

A lot has been written about motivation. At the heart of it all, though, are your values. When I work with teens, I am always interested in what their values are. Why? This is how I unlock their motivation to reach their goals, to become better, to be more. Then it becomes simple, but not easy.

Let me share a couple of clear examples of how this works.

Mike Tyson Fights Buster Douglas – Buster…Who??

In 1990 Mike Tyson was the undefeated, undisputed heavyweight champion. Ring Magazine ranked him the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. He fought Buster Douglas, the 42-1 underdog, on February 11th of that year at the Tokyo Dome. An easy victory was predicted for Tyson.

It was gruesome. Douglas had a spring in his step from the beginning and dominated the early rounds, appearing unafraid of Tyson. Tyson’s eye began to swell during the fight, and his team had been so confident they didn’t even have the proper ice packs to apply. They made do. Then in the middle rounds, though Tyson began to land a few of his signature uppercuts, Douglas was still dominating. They came Round 8. Tyson knocked Douglas to the canvas, and Douglas took 9 counts to get back up.

In Round 9, Tyson came out aggressively, but Douglas was ready and was still standing at the end of that vicious round. In Round 10, Douglas came out fighting, landing several punches early on and then the four-shot combination that knocked Tyson to the canvas. Tyson stayed down during the count and for the first time in his career was counted out. The fight became one of the biggest upsets in boxing history and Buster Douglas became the new undisputed heavyweight champion.

Why was Buster Douglas able to knock out Mike Tyson when he as a 42-1 underdog?

In, Douglas’s words, “Because of my mother…God bless her heart.” It wasn’t about skills and it wasn’t about routine. It was about values. Douglas’s mother had died just 23 days before the fight. He knew he could go into the Tyson fight and give a lackluster performance, but that is not the way he was raised.

In an interview for the Boxing Insider, Douglas later said, “My mother was such a very strong woman and I couldn’t go out like that. She raised me to be a really strong man. So, really, like I said, that just intensified my training and my last couple of weeks before the fight.” Douglas said the Tyson fight was one of the most confident days in his career. His value? Love for his mother. She wasn’t there to see him, but he honored her and all she had taught him by not giving up in Round 8 and instead fighting the best fight of his life and making history.


I will give you one more example to really bring this point home. I met someone who was following an amazing nutrition routine. I asked him how he did it. He said it was not about the routine. He was diagnosed with a life-threatening disease and was told if he didn’t change his health habits, he would die. In that moment, nutrition became important to him. Why? His values. He stared death in the face, and realized he valued life. He wanted to live as long as he could. After discovering this value, the rest was simple.

Your Success Is Your Choice

For you to achieve all you want to in life, discover your values. They will drive your decisions and actions for the rest of your life. It’s a foundational move. It’s your choice.

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