What I learnt from Muhammad Ali’s life
Death is a sad thing. It’s also discomforting to see that the world only remembers people when they are dead. When they are not there to sink in the praise and the glory. To know that they mattered and were important to many people. Unfortunately, they don’t get to experience all this love when they are dead.
But there is a silver lining, as with everything. Through these deaths, we begin to focus on their lives. And the kind of impact they made in society. Just earlier this year, we bought Prince’s music until he climbed the charts to no. 1, and we celebrated David Bowie’s glorious life. We went back and remembered their golden music that catapulted them to stardom. Moreover, the young generations got the chance to learn who they were and what they did. So it’s not such a bad thing.
And the same thing is now happening to Muhammad Ali.
I never knew much of Ali when I was growing up. I only remember watching a movie of him as a kid, which is now a faint memory. All I knew then was that he was a boxer. Now, I know he was fighter, a comedian, a motivator. He fell repeatedly, but fought spiritedly until he conquered.
He was not only the king of the boxing ring. He was a champion of words too. He always talked about what mattered to him. Spoke hope and liberty into the lives of his people. Inspired them, stood up for them. He was a man truly proud to be black. And he used his voice vibrantly.
Ali was the epitome of sticking to what you believe in. A modern day hero. He was a legend, but only because he chose to be. Anyone can become a legend like him. But few people will be.
But this is what I remember most about him. Ali was a boisterous guy. A proud, almost self-conceited man. He wasn’t afraid to let everyone know that he was the greatest. But then he went ahead to prove it to the whole world. I think that’s why he was so great. He believed in himself, more than anyone else. He knew he was great. And so he became.
Like Ali, we need to be courageous enough to go after our dreams. To believe that we are great, even before we are. To allow ourselves to be free from other people’s opinions and do what we are called to do. To float like a butterfly, but sting like a bee.
Everybody needs that spirit. To believe that we are champs, just like him.