Today’s show is a tribute to Muhammad Ali, one of the world’s greatest ever sporting figures – who sadly passed away at the weekend. In this episode I share 10 principles of greatness from a man who taught us so much about what it takes to make things happen in this world, even when against the odds!
“I am the greatest,” he said, even before he was champ. Muhammad Ali was a man who spoke what he wanted to be much before he became great.
Muhammad Ali was not the tallest boxer, nor was he as bulky as most other boxers of his time, his punches were not the strongest, but he was still the best fighter of his time. His agility was impressive, but what was most impressive was his confidence in himself.
Back since the earliest days of boxing, experts relied on what they called the “tales of the tape” to predict how successful a given athlete’s boxing career may or may-not be. The “tales of the tape” were a series of physical measurements that included the fighter’s fist, reach, chest expansion, and weight… This process, they believed, would help them figure out who would dominate in the boxing ring.
And guess what? Muhammad Ali failed all of his measurements across the board. They put him in the “failure” bucket—Muhammad Ali “was not a natural.” Not by a long shot—at least according to the “tales of the tape” yardstick.
Instead of looking in the mirror and saying, “I’m not good enough to be a champion;” instead he said, “I’m going to use a different path to achieve greatness.” And he did…
Victories come from the head, not from the fist – true greatness comes from within.
Ali knew his purpose was to become the greatest boxer of all time and though he has sadly passed, his legacy transcends the world of sport.
Today I choose to honour Ali by sharing 10 observations about what I believe enabled him to achieve his vision of becoming the greatest boxer of all time. I’ll also be sharing the 3 key lessons that I will personally be implementing following my interview with Marci Lock
In this episode you will learn:
- 3 key take away lessons from my interview with Marci Lock
- 10 steps to greatness from Muhammad Ali’s life.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it.” Muhammad Ali
EPISODE RESOURCES – A glimpse into the Greatness of Muhammad Ali
“I never thought of the possibility of failing, only of the fame and glory I was going to get when I won, “I could see it. I could almost feel it. When I proclaimed that I was the greatest of all time, I believed in myself, and I still do.” Muhammad Ali
UNWAVERING SELF BELIEF
“To be a great champion you must believe you are the best. If you’re not, pretend you are.”
I believe that the key driver of Ali’s athletic success was his unceasing belief in himself.
Ali’s belief in his own abilities show’s by his expression of how great he is, one of his quote’s “I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.” proves that he had an undying belief in not just his own abilities but by his self worth, he knew his self worth was a mirror image of how successful he wanted to become.
“It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.”
Ali believed in the power of spoken words, what you speak become seeds of thought, your thoughts create a vision and a dream. Speak what you want to see, not what you currently see. His belief manifested from his repetitions of what he used to say to himself every single day.
He believed without a doubt that he was the best fighter of all time, and he even pushed this belief upon his opponents. He kept repeating to himself and anybody that would listen that he was the greatest of all time.
“I figured that if I said it enough, I would convince the world that I really was the greatest.”
As Ali’s career progressed, he had such a great belief in himself that it was accepted by his opponents. Many of them had lost the fight before the bell for the first round rang. His indomitable spirit would not let him be defeated. This mentality allowed to take the punches and keep moving forward. In his earlier fights, his opponents were heavily favoured, but he still managed to pull off the impossible.
The lesson is simple: believe in yourself. Have faith and self belief in yourself and in what you want to achieve. Be a firm believer of yourself, Be a firm believer of your dreams. When you are confident in your abilities, it will shine through in everything you do.
There will always be naysayers rooting for you to fail. Knowing that you can accomplish what you set out to achieve is half the battle. When you have self belief in who you are and what you want then you can write your own destiny.
HAVE A BOLD DREAM
“Champions aren’t made in the gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them — a desire, a dream, a vision.”
Muhammad Ali not only believed in himself, he constantly spoke into his future. He was a man who always knew who he wanted to be – his magnificent obsession was to became an incredible boxing champion, the greatest of all time and he was convinced in his own abilities:
He said “I would have been the world’s greatest at whatever I did. If I were a garbage man, I’d be the world’s greatest garbage man! I’d pick up more garbage and faster than anyone has ever seen. To tell you the truth, I would have been the greatest at whatever I’d done!”
His ability to see things in the long-term, looking at the bigger picture rather than short-term accomplishments would help Ali become the most famous athlete of all time, the only man to become the three-time heavyweight champion of the world, and his legacay as ‘the greatest’ lives on.
Muhammad Ali had many goals in his life, his goals were always a part of who he is and one of the major benefactors of his success. When someone has complete clarity on who they are and what they most want in life they become empowered by the self-image and identity that they create.
FIND YOUR HIGHER PURPOSE
“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.”
Ali’s purpose was to help people. 1988 he told the New York Times, “I never talk about boxing. It just served its purpose. I was only about 11 or 12 years old when I said ‘I’m gonna get famous so I can help my people. “
Ali wanted to use his fame to help uplift and inspire people around the world. He once said:
“We have one life; it soon will be past; what we do for God is all that will last.” Ali
Whether or not you believe in God, it’s what we do in our time on this planet to serve our highest purpose that counts. What cause are you willing to fight for ?
VISUALISE TO MATERIALISE
“The man who has no imagination has no wings.”
Before you actually win or accomplish anything in life, you need to see it in your mind. You need to be a winner in your thought before you become a winner in reality.
When he fought with an opponent, Ali would tell an opponent he would be beaten, and he would speak out the round that he would KO an opponent.
In 1962, Ali fought the sharp-punching veteran Archie Moore. Before the fight, Ali poetically predicted “Archie Moore must fall in four”. This irritated Moore, who responded by saying he had developed a new punch especially for the fight called ‘The Lip Buttoner’. But Ali was correct and defeated Moore with a fourth round knockout, true to his word.
When he first fought Sonnly Liston in 1964, Liston was overwhelmingly favored to win the fight. Ali (then Cassius Clay) believed in himself so much he purchased a bus with “Liston Must Go in Eight” emblazoned on the side. Ali knocked Liston out in the eighth round, exactly as predicted.
Ali called this “future history”, a powerful visualisation technique which he used to programme his mind for success in the ring. When you emotionally engage and commit to your future achievements you dramatically increase the likelihood of them happening. Talk about your dreams as if they’ve already happened.
EMBODY THE WILL TO WIN:
‘It’s hard to beat a guy when he’s got his mind made up that he’s going to win.”
Muhammad Ali always had the dedication to become the greatest but he couldn’t have got far in the ring or in life if he didn’t have the will to win.
Ali had the will to win in all aspects of life, he become an inspiration for millions through his willingness to win every round. He became iconic throughout the world for pushing his body as far as he could to win every fight he would ever face, even when he lost he embraced defeat “only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win.”
The most successful athletes all have one thing in common: mental toughness. It is what pushes you to work harder when you are ready to give up, and what tells you that you can do anything even when you are on the verge of losing.
One of the most iconic examples of Ali’s mental grit and will to win was when he stepped up to face the undefeated George Foreman. Despite previous losses, Ali believed he was destined to be the greatest boxer of all time. Ali trained even harder, and most importantly he created a mentality that would allow him to face any challenge, he developed the ultimate will to win.
During that fight, he took all the punches that Foreman threw at him. The match dragged to the 8th round where a tired Foreman fell to the ground and was not able to get back up. Against all the odds, Mohammed Ali created one of the biggest upsets in the history of boxing and was crowned world heavyweight champion for the third and final time.
Champions never stop until their goal is achieved, they can’t stop, they’re on a mission, they will persevere in the face of impossible odds.
“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”
Mohammad Ali believed in the impossible and was willing to push beyond and boundaries and defy his own limitations.
Show a willingness to win in your own life, have an undefeatable belief in yourself and your vision, show a commitment to win despite any opponent and be willing to take on any obstacle that stands in the way of your life.
HAVE THE COURAGE TO TAKE RISKS
“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.”
It is natural to fear failure. After all, failure means that you were not able to accomplish what you have set out to do. If we continue to accept our fear of failure, we won’t be able to achieve anything great in our lives. Instead of living a life of regret and doubt, why not take risks on the chance that you might achieve something amazing? If you are persistent enough, these risks can lead to great rewards in the future.
BE WILLING TO PAY THE PRICE OF SUCCESS
“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. I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’”
Everyone has to pay the price of success or failure. There is no substitute to hard work. Even The Greatest Muhammad Ali went through the pain and grind of everyday training.
If you want to achieve greatness tomorrow, you’re going to have to make sacrifices today.
The decision to sacrifice present pleasures and desires is what separates those of us who achieve our long-term goals and those of us who settle
DEFINE YOUR NON-NEGOTIABLES
“My principles are more important than the money or my title.”
Muhammad Ali always had strong, non-negotiable personal values and he was willing to make a stand on principle.
At the pinnacle of his career, during height of the Vietnam war in 1967, Ali stated that he would refuse to serve in the United States Army. His stand on principle did not come without cost – he ended up being tried and convicted for failing to report for induction. He was stripped of his boxing license, his world championship and handed a $10,000 fine.
He lost 4 years from the prime of his boxing career, yet his stand for freedom outraged a nation but inspired a generation.
A great person is shaped by their values and the strength of integrity in which their life is led by them. Our values help shape our behaviours throughout the path to greatness. The first step is to identify what your values are, and secondly, if there’s only one point you take from Ali is that that to achieve greatness your values must be non-negotiable
Staying true to who you are requires courage and great self-awareness – Never compromise your principles -.
BE AUTHENTICALLY YOU
“I know where I’m going and I know the truth, and I don’t have to be what you want me to be. I’m free to be what I want.”
Alongside his core principles, Muhammad Ali found freedom in being true to himself.
Growing up, we are raised with a set of beliefs and values that we must follow. We tend to only associate with people who are raised the same way. If we don’t open ourselves up to new ideas and experiences, we may never grow—spiritually, mentally and emotionally. We will continue to live in our world of prejudices and biases, not knowing any better. Our need for acceptance can make us invisible
Break all chains that seek to entangle you – whether it be family expectations, organizational demands or societal conformities. You are unique, and in order to embrace your uniqueness you must resist conformity and if you are to truly realise your destiny.
True freedom is to be free to be authentically you.
- ELIMINATE THE SMALL DAILY OBSTACLES
“It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe”
Its often the small daily obstacles that can lead us away from path to greatness – Pebbles can take the form of bad habits, distraction, procrastination, detractors.
Ali was a true master of focus and would weed out anything that stood in the way of his greatness.
Look out for these pebbles in your life and deal with them. Never let distractions pull you away from your dreams. When you deal with the pebbles in your life decisively you create a smoother path to the top.
Muhammad Ali Success Quotes:
- “Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”
- “To be a great champion you must believe you are the best. If you’re not, pretend you are”
- “It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.”
- “I figured that if I said it enough, I would convince the world that I really was the greatest.”
- “Champions aren’t made in the gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them — a desire, a dream, a vision.”
- “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.”
- “We have one life; it soon will be past; what we do for God is all that will last.”
- “The man who has no imagination has no wings.”
- “It’s hard to beat a guy when he’s got his mind made up that he’s going to win.”
- “He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.”
- “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. I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’”
- “My principles are more important than the money or my title.”
- “I know where I’m going and I know the truth, and I don’t have to be what you want me to be. I’m free to be what I want.”
- “It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe”
THIS WEEKS CHALLENGE
FIND YOUR GREATNESS:
If you know you are fully worthy and fully capable at your core, would you tolerate your current results? What beliefs about yourself do you need to embody to unleash your greatness? What do you want to become great at during your lifetime?
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