The Greatest

Recently, the boxing world lost one of it's "Greatest", Muhammad Ali. While I'm not a fan of boxing, I appreciate the example Muhammad Ali set regarding belief. Before the rest of the world even knew who he was, Muhammad Ali considered himself “The Greatest”. Eventually, his words became true.

Envision people who have had dire, sometimes even life-threatening circumstances but who eventually succeeded. People like Nelson Mandela, Helen Keller, Anne Frank and Mahatma Ghandi. What is it about these individuals that caused them not to give up? Was it determination? Persistence? Faith? Hope? Belief?

Belief is the ability to have confidence in the existence, the truth, or the reliability of something without proof. Synonyms for the word are faith, hope, and expectation.

In the book, I Never Promised You A Goodie Bag by Jennifer Gilbert, she details how, after a random, near-fatal attack she started the journey to reclaim her life. In it she states, "You can't control what may happen to you in this life, but you can control who you want to be after it happens. You can decide who you want to be." Quite simply, she believed slowly but surely that things could get better. This is true of many who have overcome overwhelming odds.

The same was true of a young man named Cassius Clay. At age 12 he started training as a boxer -with visions of 'whupping" the thief who stole his bike. Though he was later imprisoned for conscientiously objecting to go to war and stripped of his title, boxing licenses (in every state) and passport, Muhammad Ali's strong belief of being the "Greatest" led him to subsequently earn the heavy weight boxing championship -repeatedly.

While not a boxing fan, I have learned a tremendous life lesson from Muhammad Ali. In his fight against George Foreman, Ali strategized his "rope-a-dope" tactic, allowing the younger, more powerful Foreman to hit him until he tired out. Regarding that fight, Foreman said, "I thought he was just one more knockout victim until, about the seventh round, I hit him hard to the jaw and he held me and whispered in my ear: 'That all you got, George?' I realized that this ain't what I thought it was." Ali ended up winning.

The lesson? No matter what life throws at us, if we continue to speak about our beliefs -no matter how impossible they may seem; if we look at our adversities and whisper, "Is that all you got?", then we will see the fulfillment of our dreams/beliefs.

My challenge to you is to continue to say to yourself, over and over those things you believe. No matter how preposterous it may sound, remember the words of the man who made himself The Greatest.

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