2 weeks flies by. I started writing this as soon as I heard the news but found myself waylaid by other priorities. I wa sad and yet relieved when I heard Muhammad Ali had died. Sad for the loss of such a great man, but glad he was no longer suffering with his health.
2016 seems to be bad year for the loss of icons. None of us can live forever, and perhaps this is a good way of remembering why we love our fellow man, and use the reminder to give ourselves a kick up the backside to do something better with our short lives.
I almost certainly came across Muhammad Ali via the pages of The Game (I wonder of Dad still has them?) Even to a young middle class white boy he was clearly someone to be listened to, to repeat and to follow. I have never been much of a boxing fan but Love watching his fights, the way he moved was just incredible. But I feel it was what he did outside the ring that has had the biggest impact, and he is a light that will be sorely missed.
Here are 5 ways you can live your life like The Greatest
- Believe in yourself above all else. Have the strength and the focus to do what you know is best, ignoring those that will try and stop you. Ali would tell himself he was The Greatest every day. The more he told himself the easier it was to believe it.
- Listen to your conscience and stand up for what you believe in. Risk everything for the greater good if you know that is what you must do. By refusing induction to the US Army Ali knew that he would never fight again. He was in his prime, he would have been given a role that would not involve fighting, and yet he stood up for his beliefs. He refused to fight in a war that he knew to be wrong despite the personal cost of not going.
- Have a healthy disrespect for authority. This goes alongside your conscience. My favourite story, one that still shocks me to this day, was walking into a diner in Louisville after wining the Gold Medal at the Rome Olympics and being told they didn’t serve [African-Americans]. “Thats okay” he replied, “i don’t eat them”.
- Have love and respect for all of mankind (and the planet we live on). It is easy to forget that Islam teaches peace. Ali stood for freedom and equality for all. he rejected orthodox views and promoted the view that we are all equal and should treat all of mankind as our brothers and sisters.
- Leave a legacy. Ali was an Icon of the Century. He stands alongside the likes of Nelson Mandela, The Beatles, Amelia Earhart, Martin Luther King Jr. and Neil Armstrong. Can we leave a legacy as great as his? If you believe you can do so then yes. Believe.