On The morning of Saturday 4th June 2016, I woke up to the upsetting news of Muhammad Ali's death. I didn't realise how important this man was to me and how high a pedestal I held him. You know how the saying goes ' You won't miss it until you lose it'.
After an hour of watching and reading up on his history and great work as a man of the community, I picked out 6 things we can learn from Muhammad Ali; here they are:
1) Fight for Freedom & Peace
During Muhammad Ali's lifetime and post his boxing days, he was dedicated to doing good and helping those in disadvantaged and less privileged positions in society.
As a man of the community it is essential we all do our part. The saying 'It takes a community to raise a child' is still as true today as ever. If we all contribute to the development of the community by doing our own little bit and acting as protectors of our community; we would see a dramatic increase in the development of our young people, the trust of the females of the community and the sense of security the elderly feel.
“In your struggle for freedom, justice and equality I am with you. I came to Louisville because I could not remain silent while my own people, many I grew up with, many I went to school with, many my blood relatives, were being beaten, stomped and kicked in the streets simply because they want freedom, and justice and equality in housing.” – Muhammad Ali
2) If you are going to do it, do it well
From a young man with rage on the streets, to the worlds most recognised and respected boxer. It is never enough to do something for the sake of it. If you are going to put your energy into doing anything, give it your all. Muhammad Ali wouldn't have been the greatest of all time if he picked up boxing just to beat up people on the streets; he put his energy in to mastering the art and dominating the sport.
3) Do it your way
He floated like a Butterfly and stung like a bee; he boasted how good he was a fighter in a poetical yet powerful manner; he did it in his own way. There is always a social norm that we tend to try and conform to which isn't always healthy for us. When doing it, feel free to do it your way, in a manner you are comfortable with ensuring however it is just as effective; or better yet even more effective than the norm.
4) Sacrifice for what you believe
Muhammad Ali was sent to prison at the height of his career for refusing to join the army in the war against Vietnam. He said:
“Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on Brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights? No I’m not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would cost me millions of dollars. But I have said it once and I will say it again. The real enemy of my people is here. I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality.… If I thought the war was going to bring freedom and equality to 22 million of my people they wouldn’t have to draft me, I’d join tomorrow. I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. So I’ll go to jail, so what? We’ve been in jail for 400 years.”
He was jailed for 5 years for draft evasion at the height of his career, simply for standing up for what he believed in and refusing to participate regardless of the pressure. They say ‘If you don’t stand for anything, you will fall for anything.
5) Don't let anything hold you back
Parkinson’s Disease paid Muhammad Ali a visit which slowly slurred his speech, slowed his movement and caused twitching. This is usually enough to cause a person to lose motivation and slow down in their works. However, Muhammad Ali continued in his charitable work visiting schools and less privileged areas of countries around the world
6) Believe in yourself
Behind the charisma, the strong face and the bold claims, Muhammad Ali believed in himself, his ability and used positive affirmations in a unique manner to motivate himself. Likewise, as men we need to believe in ourselves, motivate ourselves and set goals that will require us to sweat a little to achieve. Tell yourself how great you are, how you will achieve your goals, how you will overcome the obstacles you face and defeat your components…then back your talk with action.
You are capable, you are influential… you are the greatest – as long as you want to be.
I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was. –Muhammad Ali