Muhammad Ali is a man that needs no introduction, he was an inspiration to millions of people worldwide. Ever since his passing I have come to realise that he really was one of a kind, there will never be anyone else like him. Yes there are amazing personalities, strong, funny and charismatic people from all over the world but few, if any, can be mentioned in the same breath as this man.

“I hated every minute of training, but I said. Don’t quit, suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.”

Muhammad Ali

It takes a special kind of person to brag the way he did, he promoted himself as the greatest long before anyone even knew who he was at a time where segregation laws were still commonplace. The difference between him and other people that brag? He backed it up. He worked hard enough and he knew if he paid the right price, he will be the greatest.

Let’s take a look at key habits of Ali’s that ensured he became Champion.

He worked hard, very hard – pushing through all the pain and kept going
This may sound like I’m only talking about physical training but this can be applied to everything, literally. Working hard can mean ensuring you read 100+ pages a day of a particular subject you wish to be an expert in or waking up at 4AM to go swim laps in a pool. Muhammad Ali was no stranger to hard work, he knew the work he was putting in was going to be put to good use. How many people actually love working out till they throw up? It isn’t a great feeling and yes everybody has limits but to really overachieve, you need to push the boundaries every now and then, you shock the muscles, the mind and yourself.

Training in anything enough will make you an expert, once you are an expert, keeping that military discipline to keep training will start to give you superstar status. All the great, wealthy and super successful people of today aren’t just experts, they are the best of the best. Warren Buffett’s training comes in the form of reading for hours on end everyday, Bill Gates tinkered with computers day and night. Adele doesn’t just wake up every morning with that out of this world voice, it all takes hard work in the form of blood, sweat and tears. Train your mind, your body and your soul like the greats do and everything else will fall into place. It won’t be easy, not even in the slightest, so you better pick something you love.

‘You have to have a lot of passion for what you are doing because it is so hard. If you don’t, any rational person would give up’

Steve jobs

His growth mindset – always improving himself
What many people seem to miss about sports and the greats in any sport is how important the mindset is, yes they need to be in tip – top physical shape but what if you need to take the game winning free throw to ensure a trophy for your team? I can tell you now, it will have a lot less to do with how well you shoot than you think, if you can’t keep your mind focused, you have no chance.

When Ali fought Sonny Liston, he was lacking in pretty much every aspect of the physical department, Sonny was bigger, more powerful and more experienced. Ali’s style of fighting meant that his jaw was exposed for long periods of time, lucky for him, his speed and agility was right up there with the best. However he was still punching way above his weight (sorry I had to) and the idea that Ali would beat Liston was absurd. Liston was far more superior, physically at least. This is where the mindset came in, Ali studied absolutely everything about his opponent, from fighting style to how he responded to interview questions. He then used all of his findings to get an idea of Sonny’s mindset, how brilliant is that? He then started to break Sonny’s walls down way before the fight even began. Some would argue he was defeated even before the fight began!

“Become addicted to constant and never - ending self - improvement.”

Anthony J.D’Angelo

His insane level of self belief

Having self belief is one of the most empowering things in the world, you can’t make someone else believe in you unless you do. Self belief is what moves mountains, breaks records and makes the impossible, possible. Muhammad Ali saw himself as a champion, he self proclaimed himself champion long before he was, not just any champion, the greatest champion. However when it came down to it he worked hard, really hard and made sure that when it mattered, he was at the top of his game, head and shoulders above everyone else.

Whether you have a business or your in school or even if you work as an admin assistant, see yourself as a brand. You are a business, you should be promoting yourself, not through your words but through your actions. Make yourself known, you are a person of value but if you don’t show it to people, people won’t know. There is a fine line with self promotion and people thinking you’re arrogant so showing your skills through actions is the best way to go.

“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee, your hands can’t hit what your eyes can’t see.”

Muhammad Ali

A lot can be learnt from the way Ali lived his life, he used his position in society to help create a better life for the ethnic minority. The truth is we can learn so many things from people who have worked hard to achieve success. The first battle you need to win is the one in your mind, you are special, you do have what it takes to be great. Work hard and be humble.


Use the habits mentioned above to excel in whatever you do, you deserve success, we all do. But we must work for it and never give up. GSY