On June 3, 2016, the world lost the G.O.A.T. - Muhammad Ali – at the age of 74 following a lengthy battle with Parkinson’s disease.
Ali was just as captivating outside the ring as he was inside. His contributions to boxing, fearlessness, his unmatched work ethic and passion for his convictions, makes him the transcendent sports figure of the 20th century. Here are three life lessons we can all learn from The People’s Champ.
1) Believe In Yourself
If you have no belief in your abilities then you are going nowhere fast!
At age 22, Cassius Clay was set to fight the heavyweight champion, Sonny Liston. No one believed he would defeat Liston except one person…Cassius Clay! The media laughed at his predictions. On fight night, they weren’t laughing. Liston was outclassed to the point where he did not rise from his stool to start round seven. Sonny Liston quit.
How does this relate to you?
You may be an athlete looking to get faster. You may be a figure competitor trying to get leaner. You may be an average joe looking to build muscle. Bottom line, it will not happen unless you believe in yourself. There will be those who do not believe you can succeed. But what they think does not matter if you believe in YOU.
2) Have The Will To Win
Ali faced the toughest fight of his career against George Foreman at the Rumble in the Jungle. Going into the fight, no one thought Ali could win. Foreman was the strongest boxer that Ali would ever face. The pundits were right. Ali could not trade punches with Foreman. But Ali had a plan to get Foreman to punch himself out. The “Rope-A-Dope” technique required Ali to absorb the brunt of Foreman’s punches to his body. This required Ali becoming friends with pain. By the end of the 8th round Foreman was spent and Ali knocked him out! Ali’s will to win outweighed the pain he endured.
Let’s say you are an aspiring bodybuilder with legs that resemble pipe cleaners, but you are determined to compete. Your will to step on stage has to outweigh the pain you will experience building your legs. It will hurt to do deep squats or run hill sprints. But if your will to win is unwavering then you will be successful.
3) Stand For Something
Some folks saw Ali as controversial.
He had strong beliefs. But the decision he made at the height of his boxing career defined him - he did not want to participate in the Vietnam War. He questioned why he should go fight in a war when his own people at home were being treated inhumanely. He lost his license to box for taking this stand. Regardless of what others said, Ali was willing to derail his career because he stood for something.
If you do not stand for something then you will fall for anything.
Ali was human and flawed like all of us, but he showed us the wonderful things that can be accomplished when applying the lessons above to your life!
Stay true to who you are. Muhammad Ali did until the end.