Born Cassius Clay, Muhammad Ali is widely considered one of the greatest heavyweight championship boxers of all time. As an amateur boxer he won a gold medal in the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. After becoming a professional boxer he became the first boxer to win the lineal heavyweight championship three times.
Muhammad Ali refused to be inducted into the U.S. military based on religious beliefs and his opposition to the Vietnam War. Because of this he was arrested and found guilty on charges of draft evasion. He was stripped of his boxing title, license and he was suspended from boxing. However, Ali never went to jail, his appeal went all the way to the Supreme Court (Clay vs. United States) where his conviction was overturned.
Ali, nicknamed “The Greatest,” was involved in several historical fights, including three with Joe Frazier and one with George Foreman. In his career he amassed 56 wins and only 5 losses. Ali’s success, fighting style (floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee), “trash talking,” and idioms made him a cultural icon.
In 1999, Ali was crowned “Sportsman of the Century” by Sports Illustrated and “Sports Personality of the Century” by the BBC.
7 Must Read Lessons from Muhammad Ali:
1. Suffer Now
I run on the road, long before I dance under the lights. I hated every minute of training, but I said, ”Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.”
Suffer now, pay the price now, though the price is high, it’s worth it. In the end, the price of success will be far less than the price of failure, and you will have made a good bargain.
Over the long-term it cost you less to succeed, than it does to fail, so pay the price now and live the rest of your life as a champion.
2. Desire, Dream, Visualize
“Champions aren’t made in the gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them — a desire, a dream, a vision.”
Do you have a burning desire to succeed? Does it keep you up at night, does it wake you up in the morning. Champions are driven to succeed, they have an inner picture of success, they’re determined to see that picture realized.
Champions never stop until their goal is achieved, they can’t stop, they’re on a mission.
3. Affirm Yourself
“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. Nobody can beat, Mohammad Ali!”
Ali said, “It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.” So don’t wait for someone to affirm you, affirm yourself! Ali did this all the time, Ali said, “If you even dream of beating me you’d better wake up and apologize.” He said, “I’m the greatest of all time.” He said “It’s hard to be humble, when you’re as great as I am.” Try saying that one a few times!
I know humility is important, but go ahead and say that last statement a few more times and see how you feel. Say, “It’s hard to be humble, when you’re as great as I am.” Say it again!
“A man who views the world the same at fifty as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.”
You’re supposed to change? “Change” often times gets a bad reputation, …if you see someone you hadn’t seen in a year, they should say, “you changed” and you should say, “thank you.” Life is about change, about growth; it’s about taking risk and becoming more. Ali said, “He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.”
5. Use Your Wings
“The man who has no imagination has no wings.”
A bird that doesn’t use its wings won’t make it very far. We humans have wings as well, it’s our imagination. We have the ability to leave the mundane and soar into a world of possibilities, a world without limits. If we believe what we see in that world, if we become pregnant with a vision from that world, then that vision will be born in this world.
6. Goals are Everything
“What keeps me going is goals.”
What keeps you going are goals too? Have goals, know your goals, you should be able to quote your goals upon arising in the morning, and you should visualize them before laying your head down at night. Goals are everything, you need them, and you need a plan to guide you to them. Never underestimate the necessity of goals, they keep you going.
7. Prepare to Succeed
“The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses – behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.”
You don’t succeed when your dream is accomplished…you are succeeding or failing right now. Your daily habits will determine how far you go, it’s not about the “lights,” it’s about how you prepare for the “lights.” Are you preparing, are you pushing through, are you getting ready for the lights!