Muhammed Ali: The Greatest Impact of All Time

Published on June 7, 2016

This past weekend the world lost a giant—three-time world heavyweight boxing champion Muhammed Ali. Ali always referred to himself as the greatest of all time, and he indeed is a great example of what it looks like when one achieves maximum Impact in the world.

As a motivational speaker and a sales and leadership expert, I want to examine how Ali achieved Impact and used it for the greater good of mankind.

To achieve Impact, Ali relied on the following:

  • Confidence. Even when others doubted him, Ali had the highest level of confidence in his abilities—and his attitude. When he had internal doubt, he forged on anyway, because he allowed nothing to stop him.
  • Perseverance. Ali never quit. He always found ways to win, even late in his career.  When his skills were on the decline, he employed his famous “rope a dope” strategy, which was to hang on the ropes and absorb enormous blows to the head until his opponent tired out. This served Ali well in the ring but proved disastrous later in life; he suffered from Parkinson’s disease for over two decades, which many experts believe was a result of those blows.
  • Conviction. Ali was not all about exploiting his celebrity status for maximum personal gain. Although he was a great showman, he used his celebrity status to take on causes he believed in, some of which weren’t popular at the time, such as draft evasion. For that he was sentenced to five years in prison, a $10,000 fine, and a three-year suspension from boxing—and had his championship belt taken away. How many of us would sacrifice what we have earned for something we believe in?  While his stance was not popular, it did create news headlines and eventually the public forgave Ali and, more importantly, marveled at his willingness to lose it all by standing up for what he believed in. Can you think of many star athletes today who are willing to lose it all for what they believe in?

By all accounts, Muhammed Ali became one of the most well-know people in the world, and he used that fame to Impact others, not even allowing Parkinson’s disease to slow him down:

  • When Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian was locked up in an Iranian prison for over 18 months for “espionage,” Ali, who was very popular in Iran, called for his release.  Rezaian claims his treatment got better right after Ali’s request, and eventually he was released in January 2016.
  • Ali visited Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein to secure the release of 15 hostages before the Gulf War.
  • Anybody who met Ali was overwhelmed by his kindness and the interest he showed in them. These exchanges created memories for life and maximum Impact!

These are just a few examples of achieving and using Impact for the greater good of mankind.  What can you take out of Ali’s journey on this earth that will help you achieve and use Impact for mankind’s greater good? Go ahead and be inspired by Ali’s great example, and turn that inspiration into action.

Let’s all inspire each other by commenting on this blog how you have turned Ali’s inspiration into your own Impact.