The tributes and outpouring of remembrance for the legendary Muhammad Ali is testament to his greatness both in and outside of the ring.
The world’s most talented heavyweight champion embodied power, strength and determination, which is evident in his unprecedented boxing record of 56 wins to 5 losses. So what lessons can we learn from the genius who was Muhammad Ali?
1. You Need Believe In Yourself To Win
To become a World Class athlete you need self-belief and Ali had it by the bucket load, as shown when he said, “I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.” His complete faith in his own abilities both mentally and physically was clear for the world to see in the Rumble in the Jungle and the Thriller in Manila. As Ali wisely said, “To be a great champion you need to believe in yourself, if not pretend you are”– a lesson that is just as valuable in the boardroom as it is in the boxing ring.
2. You Should Always Follow Your Passion
No-one can be in any doubt that Muhammad Ali loved what he did. His passion for his sport and life in general, is clear in every interview he did. He demonstrates this joie de vivre when he famously said, “Don’t count the days, make the days count.” A stark reminder of our need to embrace life and make the most of every opportunity that comes our way, for as Ali remarked, “A man who views the world the same at fifty as he did at thirty has wasted twenty years of his life.”
3. You Need to Pick Yourself Up When You Get Knocked Down
“Inside or outside the ring, ain’t nothing wrong with going down, it’s staying down that’s wrong.” Ali’s resilience is unquestionably one of the reasons for his legendary success. After being badly hurt in the 2nd round of his fight against Earnie Shavers in 1977, he showed amazing resilience to take the fight the distance and seal victory. Just as bounce-back-ability is essential to becoming a great boxer, it’s equally important if you want to be a commercial athlete. The ability to persevere in the face of adversity is one of the main secrets to achieving commercial success.
So when you’re next in a challenging commercial situation, ask yourself how Muhammad Ali would approach it and let him inspire you to greatness. After all, as Ali, so clearly understood, it takes commitment, drive and hard work to achieve the extraordinary and become a true commercial athlete.
“Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them-a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have the skill, and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.”
Muhammad Ali 1942 – 2016