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An image of a banner with a boxer fighter holding a championship belt.

An image of a banner with a boxer fighter holding a championship belt.

When news of Muhammad Ali’s death came to light last weekend, it was hardly a shock as he had suffered from Parkinson’s and been in declining health for years. The bombardment of specials and highlights from his boxing career was also not a surprise.

But what I kept thinking about most wasn’t one of the Ali-Frazer fights, the Ali-Foreman fight, or any of his  battles in the ring. No, what I REALLY thought about most was what Ali said, what he stood for, and how those things went far beyond the boxing ring. Consider some of his quotes and how they apply (or should apply) to our own lives:

“It’s lack of faith that makes people afraid of meeting challenges, and I believed in myself.” If we don’t believe in ourselves and what we can accomplish, who will? It’s too easy to play the blame game for our misfortunes, but there’s usually much more to it than that. Look in the mirror. Meeting and overcoming challenges, whatever they are, starts there.

“The will must be stronger than the skill.” Patience and perseverance in life is key in whatever we do. What’s the thing that separates star athletes like Ali from the mediocre ones? It’s often those “p words” I just mentioned. Champion boxers like Ali have a lot of ability, to be sure, but they also tend to outwork the competition. They train just a little harder. They refuse to give up. They are driven to succeed. Whatever it is in life, we should never give up either.

“Live everyday as if it were your last because someday you’re going to be right.” Appreciate the big things like friends and family, and don’t keep putting off dealing with problems. If you have a relationship that needs mending, mend it. If you have an addiction, then seek treatment. Whatever it is, never assume you’ll have “tomorrow” to take care of it. You might not.

“The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” There is a saying that getting older is mandatory, but growing up is optional. Don’t waste time you’ll never get back. Never overlook the little things. Look around and smell the roses. And never “settle” for the status quo; keep learning, and keep striving.

So there you have it… Quotes from a late, great heavyweight champion boxer … but they are good lessons to live by no matter the occupation or personal issues we’re facing, don’t you think? RIP Muhammad…You left the world a better place.