I think most people knew only of Muhammad Ali’s shows, not his real life.
Some of his statements that made great impression on me are these:
- When I look at the world, I see that many people building big beautiful houses but live in broken homes. WE spend more time learning how to make a living than we do learning to make a life.
- Throughout my life, I never sought retribution against those who hurt me because I believe in forgiveness.
- Why not hold a competition of love instead of one that leads to jealousy and envy?
- One person with knowledge of his life’s purpose is more powerful than ten thousand working without that knowledge.
- Each time I thought I had achieved my life’s purpose, I discovered it was only another step in my journey. I thought boxing would help me be that public Black role model who was missing while i was growing up. I thought my purpose was to be that hero who showed children that Black is beautiful. I thought my purpose was to be that champion who showed White people they couldn’t treat Blacks like second-class citizens. I learned that all of these accomplishments were important, but even moe important, I gained a platform that allowed me to carry out my real mission, which has been to encourage all people to respect each other and live in peace.
- I just stood there as I watched Sugar Ray Robinson turn his back on me and walk away. Although I felt hurt and let down, I decided that I wouldn’t let my disappointment get the best of me. I was going to be different when I became a great boxer. I would be the kind of champion that fans could walk up to and talk to. I would shake their hands and sign every autograph, even sign some autographs in advance so that when I Was in a hurry, I could still hand them out to people assuring everyone went home happy.
- I looked at my gold medal and said to myself, I’m the champ of the whole world, and now I’m going to be able to do something for my people. I’m really going to be able to get equality for my people.”
- At that time, I chose to join the Nation of Islam, which promoted Black pride and independence. When I became a member, I was fighting for equality and Black pride at the same time.
- Even my own name, Cassius Marcellus Clay, wasn’t really my own. Cassius Marcellus Clay was a White man from Kentucky who owned slaves. So I was named after a slave owner, and to me, my name represented hundreds of years of injustice and enslavement.
- Why should we keep trying to force ourselves into white restaurants and schools when White people didn’t what us? Why not clean up our own neighbourhoods and schools instead of trying to move out of them into the White people’s neighbourhoods?
- My fighting had a purpose. I had to be successful in order to get people to listen to the things I had to say. I was fighting to win the world heavyweight title so I could go out in the streets and speak my mind.
- I was too busy selling tickets, playing around, and trying to promote my fights with my greatest asset–my mouth! I never took the verbal sparring seriously. It was all showmanship, which I learned from one of the best, Champion Wrestler Gorgeous George.
- I talk to God every day. If God is with me, no one can defeat me.
- What gives a person the strength to stand up for a cause, remain strong on the battlefield, endure all that may come in life? What gives us the power to have patience and the will to endure? It is the heart.
- Some people are so decent, loving and compassionate that the purity of their heart is almost visible. Some people have to struggle a little more to make these qualities a part of their being. Some people have to really work at just being civil. Some people seem to work at hardening their hearts so that even the least bit of compassion or love won’t scoop out. I think though that everyone has the capacity for love, kindness, and compassion.
- Giving because you genuinely want to help a person or a worthy cause while remaining anonymous is true charity.
- True success is reaching our potential without compromising our values.
- Success is not achieved by winning all the time. Real success comes when we rise after we fall. I am grateful for all my victories, but I am especially grateful for my losses because they only made me work harder.
- Jimmy ‘s death was a powerful lesson in the midst of all the activity and preparation for my job–a boxing match–of how fragile and precious life is. We must always be mindful that each day is a gift from God that can be lost at any moment.
- You don’t really lose when you fight for what you believe in. You lose when you fail to fight for what you care about.
- Suppose a man told you that he had seen a big factory where everything was running smoothly, without any owner or manager. Suppose he insisted the factory had been built all by itself, that even the machines had just appeared out of thin air and were now running like clockwork, producing wonderful products. Or would you believe that an electric bulb could generate light all by itself? Could even the great philosophers convince you that the fabric from which your clothes were made had not been woven itself? f we find the examples unbelievable, how could we possibly believe that the universe works so precisely without a Creator?
I think I read somewhere that Muhammad Ali said that anyone who believed his showman statements was crazier than himself! He saw boxing as just a job from which true living was separate!
All in all, I think Muhammad Ali gave time to reflect on his life and did not get carried away with success.
We have a lot to learn from him.