Muhammad Ali: 50 Inspiring Thoughts From the Greatest of All Time

As a child of the sixties, and also a boxing fan, Muhammad Ali was always going to be one of my biggest heroes. I loved his charisma, the brashness, the courage, and the sublime boxing skills all of which made him “the Greatest”.

But it was his wisdom, and what he did outside of the ring that made him into one of the most inspiring leaders that I have ever seen.

Here are 50 pieces of wisdom from Ali which we could all look to follow which would make the world a better place.

  1. “My principles are more important than the money or my title.”
  2. “I know where I’m going, and I know the truth, and I don’t have to be what you want me to be. I’m free to be what I want.”
  3. “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.”
  4. “He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.”
  5. “Friendship… is not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.”
  6. “I’ve made my share of mistakes along the way, but if I have changed even one life for the better, I haven’t lived in vain.”
  7. “If they can make penicillin out of mouldy bread, they can sure make something out of you.”
  8. “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.”
  9. “It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.”
  10. “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth. “
  11. “It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.”
  12. “The man who has no imagination has no wings.”
  13. “Age is whatever you think it is. You are as old as you think you are.”
  14. “A man who views the world the same at fifty as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.”
  15. “I wish people would love everybody else the way they love me. It would be a better world.”
  16. “My only fault is that I don’t realize how great I really am.”
  17. “It’s lack of faith that makes people afraid of meeting challenges, and I believed in myself.”
  18. “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.”
  19. “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.”
  20. “Silence is golden when you can’t think of a good answer.”
  21. “It’s not bragging if you can back it up.”
  22. “What keeps me going is goals.”
  23. “When you can whip any man in the world, you never know peace.”
  24. “I wanted to use my fame and this face that everyone knows so well to help uplift and inspire people around the world.”
  25. “I’m no leader; I’m a little humble follower.”
  26. “Old age is just a record of one’s whole life.”
  27. “Don’t count the days; make the days count.”
  28. “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.”
  29. “Hating people because of their color is wrong. And it doesn’t matter which color does the hating. It’s just plain wrong.”
  30. “Live everyday as if it were your last because someday you’re going to be right.”
  31. “I don’t count the sit-ups. I only start counting when it starts hurting because they’re the only ones that count. That’s what makes you a champion.”
  32. “The will must be stronger than the skill.”
  33. “Inside of a ring or out, ain’t nothing wrong with going down. It’s staying down that’s wrong.”
  34. “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.”
  35. “Now the things that once were so effortless – my strong voice and the quickness of my movements – are more difficult. But I get up every day and try to live life to the fullest because each day is a gift from God.”
  36. “Life is short; we get old so fast. It doesn’t make sense to waste time on hating.”
  37. “I try to learn as much as I can because I know nothing compared to what I need to know.”
  38. “Wars of nations are fought to change maps. But wars of poverty are fought to map change.”
  39. “You lose nothing when fighting for a cause … In my mind the losers are those who don’t have a cause they care about.”
  40. “You don’t lose if you get knocked down; you lose if you stay down.”
  41. “When a man says I cannot, he has made a suggestion to himself. He has weakened his power of accomplishing that which otherwise would have been accomplished.”
  42. “Just remember that you don’t have to be what they want you to be.”
  43. “The only limitations one has, are the ones they place on themselves”
  44. “I don’t smoke but I keep a match box in my pocket, when my heart slips towards sin, I burn the matchstick and heat my palm with it, then say to myself, “Ali you can’t even bear this heat, how would you bear the unbearable heat of hellfire?”
  45. “My soul has grown over the years, and some of my views have changed. As long as I am alive, I will continue to try to understand more because the work of the heart is never done.”
  46. “What you are thinking is what you are becoming.”
  47. “Whatever the challenge was, however unattainable the goal may have seemed, I never let anyone talk me out of believing in myself.”
  48. “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 willingness 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.”
  49. “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.”
  50. “I am grateful for all my victories, but I am especially grateful for my losses, because they only made me work harder.”

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