Cus D’Amato Quotes To Inspire You

Cus D’Amato Quotes To Inspire You

Many of you might know who Cus D’Amato was. Cus D’Amato was one of the most successful boxing trainers and managers. Most notably, he was instrumental in the careers of Floyd Patterson, Mike Tyson, and Jose Torres.

I put together a list of Cus D’Amato quotes that I feel can inspire. Cus D’Amato quotes, like other good quotes I believe can, and should be reflected upon. Perhaps, where not initially intended, they can be relevant in other areas of our life.


“To see a man beaten not by a better opponent but by himself is a tragedy.”

This is something that can affect us all. Lack of confidence and belief in ourselves will hold us back from our potential. Not believing that we can achieve our goals is the surest way to make that a reality. Whether we lack the drive to put the work in to make ourselves successful or an inability to step over obstacles in our path.

We all must find our inner drive and motivators. It can be our children who we want to provide for. It can be our own self values in life and a hunger to achieve more. Nothing is sadder than wasted talent.


“A boy comes to me with a spark of interest. I feed the spark and it becomes a flame. I feed the flame and it becomes a fire. I feed the fire and it becomes a roaring blaze.”

This speaks to Cus’s ability to coach and maximize his student’s potential. Also, I believe this is an internal desire we can cultivate on our own.

  • What is your passion in life?
  • What goal do you strive to?

Consistency and at times just “grinding” can get us to where we want to be in life. Unfortunately, too often many of us begin a journey we are passionate about. It can be learning a guitar or a new language, we can be passionate for a few weeks or even months, slowly the desire dies out and we never learn that new skill.

We need to feed the spark to create a flame and then keep feeding it, so the fire won’t die. For me personally, this is where I believe goal setting helps to fuel our fire.

Create short term goals to accomplish a long-term goal. Often, if we only see the long-term goal it can feel arduous and unreachable if we are not accomplishing short term goals along the way.


“Greatness is not a measure of how great you are but how great others came to be because of you”

This reminds me what I heard from Zig Ziglar. You’ll get what you want in life when you help enough people get what they want. Look for partnerships in your relations and try to assist those around you.

Often we see high performing players fail in leadership. This can be because they excel at helping themselves but lack the ability to help others. Being able to coach, motivate, and inspire others around you is a learned skill set.

Practice this by helping others achieve their goals. Take the time to teach people the skills you know.  Help build their network by opening yours to them and strive to be more selfless.


“Heroes and cowards feel exactly the same fear. Heroes just react to it differently.”

Fear is perhaps our biggest inhibitor in life. I explored this before in an article about how to stop living with fear. Understanding that no one can conquer fear, you just learn the tools to overcome it.

Often, we are afraid because of lack of knowledge. Our brain is programmed to survive and to look for dangers. If we don’t have the skills or know the outcome our brain is programmed to believe the worst-case scenario will happen.

By training our physical skills along with our mental skills we can take steps to overcome this. This will allow us to react the way we’d like to, or need to, without the inhibition of fear.


“No matter what anyone says, no matter the excuse or explanation, whatever a person does in the end is what he intended to do all along.”

I think this is one of the Cus D’Amato quotes we can go multiple directions with. How I interpret this to motivate myself is by diving into my inner thoughts.

  • Like fear and belief, do I have a preconceived vision of the outcome?
  • I might say I want the promotion at work, but do I honestly believe I’ll get it?
  • If I don’t honestly believe I can complete a task, how genuine are the steps I’m taking to get there?

Often people can say things and have good intentions. On the surface they might even believe their words. Unfortunately, in their subconscious they don’t have a belief and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.


“Losers are winners who quit,…even if you lose…you still win…if you don’t quit.”

Nobody is successful 100% of the time. Our greatest lessons can be learned from defeat. Often with the joy of winning we overlook any shortcomings we had. Losing, forces us to evaluate every step of our process.

Critiquing and refining our approach to improve and be better than we were. If we quit, we lose this process. In quitting, we are forced to repair our thought process that led to our resignation before we can improve our methods.


“Emotions, particularly anger, are like fire. They can cook your food and keep you warm, or they can burn your house down.”

Controlling your emotions can be critical in a fight as this was who Cus D’Amato was instructing. This of course can carry over into our business and personal lives. Having a strong passion for what we do while controlling that energy can be a pivotal force in life.

Bruce Lee spoke of “emotional content”, he meant to feel and not think. Below you can watch the video and hear Bruce himself explain.

“The punch that knocks a man out is the punch that he doesn’t see.”

This quote can be taken very literally. True, the strike you don’t see often is the one that will knock you out.

I also want to look at this metaphorically. The dangers we don’t prepare for and lack of foresight, can be destructive in our lives.

In The Art Of War Sun Tzu says, “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.” Before you commit to an action, contemplate the possible outcomes.

Don’t just rush in and hope for the best. Know what steps you are going to take, what obstacles might arise, and measure what counters you can take.


“I’m not a creator. What I do is discover and uncover.”

A great quote for coaches and leaders. Cus was great at discovering what talent lay within a young man who came to train under him.

Cus unearthed what talents the fighter had and fed the “spark”. We can do this within ourselves as well.

  • What is your passion?
  • What is your talent?

If you know the answers already, then what are you doing to improve and continue uncovering them? If you don’t know the answer, this is a search within yourself you must undertake.


“People who are born round don’t die square.”

Just be yourself! When we are trying to improve ourselves in any facet, we need to improve who WE ARE.

We might read philosophy, listen to life coaches, or use other mediums to improve ourselves but we need to remain true to OURSELVES. We should not be copying or trying to be a clone of our mentors. Learn the lessons from them to shape and improve who YOU ARE.


Are there any Cus D’Amato quotes that I didn’t include that you’d like to share?


Do any of these quotes hold a different interpretation for you than they do for me?
Please share.


  1. Jordan

    These are all great quotes, but the one that resonates the most for me is the one about fear. I think fear is the biggest thing that holds people back from doing the things they want to do in life, but as the quote says, fear is universal – everybody feels it. I think sometimes people that are held back by fear believe that others, who are able to accomplish things, are somehow exempt from feeling fear. That belief allows them to rationalize – “They can do that because they’re not scared.” This quote reminds us that we all have the same burden of fear, and it’s up to each of us to learn how to not be limited by it.

    Great article, I look forward to reading more.

    1. Thanks for commenting Jordan.
      I like the one on fear as well. Over the last 6 months or so, I’ve been trying to learn a lot about fear and how our minds work. I’ve written a couple articles on it and find the whole concept very interesting. As I mentioned, I believe fear is perhaps our biggest inhibitor on life.

  2. Love these quotes! I think your interpretations are perfect and reading these altogether gives me motivation that I am currently lacking. 🙂
    I am not too familiar with martial arts, but have always been fascinated by it. What do I know is that one of my favorite foods is Sushi. Do you actually write about the food itself as well?

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