Muhammad Ali was one of those people that you just couldn't dislike/hate. Regardless of your race, background or class their was something you could share with him. I never met the man nor watched any of his fights but I was so drawn to his charisma and confidence it was impossible not to take notice of him. Ali's death not only was a huge loss to the sporting world but also to the ordinary people like me who aspire to replicate his values, determination and work ethos. Looking back over his extraordinary life here are 5 things I think we can learn from 'The Greatest'.
#1 - Stick To Your Guns:
Muhammad Ali was not one to be a follower. From the changing of his name to his refusal to fight during the Vietnam War Muhammad knew his own worth and fought for his rights with such elegance and professionalism. In today's world it is so hard to stick to your core values with social media dictating what side you should be on but Muhammad Ali taught us your mind can have such a significant impact not only to yourself but to the world.
#2 - Never Doubt Your Ability:
When critics were doubting Muhammad's ability to fight George foreman in the infamous 'Rumble in the Jungle' fight, Muhammad ignored all negativity and had so much belief in himself that he probably made the media re-edit their story content more than once. He proved his point that self belief is key and he won the fight. He challenged the critics again in 1996 when he held up the olympic torch for the opening ceremony of the US olympic games despite his parkinson's disease. Muhammad taught us to never ever question our purpose in life because if you do you will never know what mark you will leave on this earth.
#3 - Never Forget Where You Came From:
It can be hard to switch from the regular person everyone knows you by when you're in the spotlight 24/7. Some find it hard to transition but for Muhammad Ali it just came natural. During his highest peak of fame, I read that when Muhammad wasn't in the spotlight, him and his cousin would go into the shops within their hometown Arizona and just talk to locals. I love the fact that he didn't hide behind closed doors when he wasn't in the ring, he remembered his community and lended his help.
#4 - Not To Take Yourself Too Seriously:
Muhammad Ali was funny, witty and charming. Despite facing hardships of discrimination and racism within the civil rights movement he still smiled and managed to turn a negative situation into a funny one. Life is too short to hold grudges or reflect on the past. Muhammad's charisma taught us to smile at every occurrence in life whether good or bad.
#5 - Constantly Educate Yourself:
Muhammad was a poet, teacher, activist and a philanthropist. He never stopped teaching himself despite the not being academically smart. He showed us that you didn't need to have a certificate to strive for change or impact a nation.
I thank you for teaching me to embrace and celebrate my individuality, to believe and follow my destiny.