On June 3, 2016 the world lost a legend. Long after Muhammad Ali hung up the gloves, he was still inspiring people and that will continue with the generations to come. But even in death, we can still look back and see what made him the legend he is. Even though his records and titles (56-5, 37 KO’s, three-time world heavyweight champion) speak for themselves, his skills didn’t stop in the ring. His greatest legacy is the life lessons that can be learned from following in his footsteps.
1. Work Ethic: As a 12-year-old boy, Ali (then Cassius Clay), got his bike stolen. When he went to talk to a cop, he said he wanted to beat the kid who stole it. When the cop told him he better learn how to fight, he introduced him to the sport of boxing. It was then that his work ethic started. Whether it was sparring in the gym, training or jumping rope, he did it to the best of his ability. His work ethic was unparalleled.
“I hated every minute of training, but I said, don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.”
The traits of a champion is someone who is dedicated to putting hours upon hours of work to hone their skill. Everyone is told the importance of hard work. It those that put in the work that will go down as legends.
2. Confidence: Ali was known almost as much for his constant talking than his fighting. He proved the importance of being confident in yourself. If you go into anything in life, especially a boxing match, with the attitude that you were going to be successful, it will carry over into everything that you are doing.
“I am the greatest. I said the before I even knew I was.”
Even though he lost his title and a couple fight, he still was confident in himself that he could say it. He proved that to be truly successful, it all starts with believing in yourself. He oozed confidence, never doubted himself and it ultimately led him to become the greatest fighter of all time
3. Stay True: One of the greatest reasons he is so fondly remembered is his outspoken attitude to issues beyond the sports. When he saw something he perceived as wrong in the world like segregation or the Vietnam war, he wouldn’t shy away from speaking his mind.
“I have nothing to lose by standing up and following my beliefs.”
When he was drafted in the military, he refused because of his religious beliefs. Even though he was stripped of his title and lost three years of boxing, he never backed down to what he believed in. He stayed true to his beliefs and wouldn’t change them for anyone.
He was a giant amongst men. He could float like a butterfly and sting like a bee and we all have had an impact from the man they call the greatest. Rest in peace, Muhammad Ali.