Muhammad Ali’s words have long been by affirmations and motivations in the hardest of times. His hard work, dedication, boldness, stubbornness, cockiness, overflowing heart, and resilience make him one of my idols. He achieved greatness for himself as a platform for philanthropy. That is my dream.
Ali once said, "It's the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen." Today, in honor of his life and legacy, I’ll share with you his words that have become my affirmations.
“I don't have to be what you want me to be.”
“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”
"I'm gonna fight for the prestige, not for me, but to uplift my little brothers who are sleeping on concrete floors today in America. Black people who are living on welfare, black people who can't eat, black people who don't know no knowledge of themselves, black people who don't have no future."
“I am America. I am the part you won't recognize. But get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me.”
“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 fight is won or lost far away from witnesses - behind the lines, in the gym and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights."
“At home I am a nice guy: but I don’t want the world to know. Humble people, I’ve found, don’t get very far.”
"A man who has no imagination has no wings."
"Hating people because of their color is wrong. And it doesn't matter which color does the hating. It's just plain wrong."
““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?"
“I ain’t got no quarrel with those Vietcong….No Vietcong ever called me nigger.”
“My conscience won't let me go shoot my brother, or some darker people, or some poor hungry people in the mud for big powerful America. And shoot them for what? They never called me n-igger, they never lynched me, they didn't put no dogs on me, they didn't rob me of my nationality, rape and kill my mother and father. ... Shoot them for what? How can I shoot them poor people? Just take me to jail.”
"I never thought of losing, but now that it's happened, the only thing is to do it right. That's my obligation to all the people who believe in me. We all have to take defeats in life."
"It's just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up."
“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.”
“It's hard to be humble when you're as great as I am."
"What's really hurting me - the name Islam is involved, and Muslim is involved and causing trouble and starting hate and violence. Islam is not a killer religion, Islam means peace. I couldn't just sit home and watch people label Muslims as the reason for this problem."
“It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.”
"I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was. I figured that if I said it enough, I would convince the world that I really was the greatest."
"Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even."
"Stay in College, get the knowledge, stay there until you are through. If they can make penicillin out of moldy bread, they can sure make something of you!"
Silence is golden when you can't think of a good answer.
On how he would like to be remembered - “I'd like for them to say he took a few cups of love, he took one tablespoon of patience, teaspoon of generosity, one pint of kindness. He took one quart of laughter, one pinch of concern, and then, he mix willlingness with happiness, he added lots of faith, and he stirred it up well, then he spreads it over his span of a lifetime, and he served it to each and every deserving person he met.”