Muhammad Ali was an American professional boxer and activist. Nicknamed “the Greatest,” he is regarded as one of the most significant sports figures of the 20th century and is often regarded as the greatest heavyweight boxer of all time. He held the Ring magazine heavyweight title from 1964 to 1970.
Clearly, Ali left no stone unturned in captivating the attention of his audience through his words and punches—literally and figuratively, of course! He was undeniably a monster in the ring, with powerful physical prowess; however, not many know that he also served as a United Nations Messenger of Peace.
Even more, in the year 1990, Muhammad Ali met Saddam Hussein to negotiate the release of American hostages! Below are seven of the best success lessons from Muhammad Ali. Read further to learn more.
1. Have a higher purpose.
Muhammad Ali once said:
“We have one life; it soon will be past; what we do for God is all that will last.”
You don’t have to be religious or a firm believer in God to comprehend the quoted quote.
All you need to know is that you need to fulfil a higher purpose in your life to live a fulfiling and satisfying life. Pick a higher purpose that is close to your heart. It could be anything that gives you satisfaction, from helping those in need on the streets to raising strong and good children.
The point is, you need a goal that goes beyond accumulating a certain percentage of wealth and assets. Have a higher purpose in life.
2. Learn to Sacrifice Your Comforts
This particular success lesson does not come easy for most of us, but in order to live comfortably tomorrow, you need to sacrifice something today. Why do you think so few people become incredible at what they do?
It’s because they have learned to sacrifice their comforts for a better tomorrow. Muhammad Ali said (and rightfully so):
“I run on the roads long before I dance under the lights. I hated every minute of my training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion’.”
Regardless of what your goals in life are, you will always hate some tasks. Ensure that you don’t quit, even when you hate something. Remember, it too shall pass!
3. Greatness is a choice you make for yourself.
Mentioned below is another awesome quote from Muhammad Ali:
“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 faster than anyone has ever seen. To tell you the truth, I would have been the greatest at whatever I’d done.”
His words were truly admirable. You and I don’t have to start speaking like him and believing that I will be great at a particular job.
Broadly speaking, the point here is about choosing greatness over anything. Greatness is a habit that needs formation from a young age. Look for greatness in everything you do, starting now.
For instance, if you are working as a customer service representative in one of the retail shops, ensure that you provide the best services that your company has ever seen. By being great at your job, you are allowing infinite opportunities to arise in your life.
4. Free to be What You Want to Be
Every day, we come across numerous people who pretend and are striving to please each other. Those people need to be removed from your lives, starting today! It will be quite a refreshing change to see in your social circle when all those people-pleasers make way for honest and genuine individuals who are as driven and passionate as you.
Muhammad Ali truly believed in being free to be what he wanted to be. He never believed in pleasing people. He never wanted to be anyone else, and until his last breath, he was himself. Period.
5. Be truly rich.
Money is only a tool that helps you buy other tools. We have a choice to be made: to buy those other tools for ourselves or to help others by spreading the message of humanity and love.
Muhammad Ali, clearly, opted for later. His quote:
“To be able to give away riches is mandatory if you wish to possess them. This is the only way that you will be truly rich.”
Perhaps, for a few of us, his quote about being rich can be hard to decipher, but once you understand his perspective, you will see a deeper meaning in it.
6. Know When You Cannot Be Wise
Once you start believing that you know everything, your wisdom dies. The truth is, we are all human beings, and we cannot know everything under the sun.
While there is no way we can be good at every damn thing, for which we have strengths and weaknesses, it is possible to gain wisdom by seeking out the wise and making them your friends. Create an environment of teamwork and growth. Let there be wisdom in all of us.
7. Old age is just a record of one’s whole life!
This is my personal favourite success lesson from Muhammad Ali. Every day that we live, we are writing a new page that will be included in our book called ‘My Life’.
Most of us don’t die young, which means when we reach old age, we will see our record, which will contain our mistakes, scratching, scribbles, and everything in between, along with our moments of joy, pride, and wisdom. By the time we reach our last pages, may the final chapter end on a positive note of a life well lived.