6 Reasons Why I Have a LOVE HATE Relationship with Muhammad Ali

For those who don’t know, Muhammad Ali is one of the greatest boxers of all time and a cultural icon who transcended his sport.

He was known for his incredible speed, agility, and strategic prowess in the ring, and won an Olympic gold medal in boxing in 1960.

Ali went on to become a three-time heavyweight champion, and his fights were watched by millions of people around the world.

Recently I came across a YouTube clip of Muhammad Ali. And then some more. And then some more.

I started finding myself learning more about Muhammad Ali and his legacy.

And everything changed.

This is what he made me feel:

He made me feel like I’m not fast enough.

As someone who has built the world’s first performance focused theme for WordPress, someone who values speed in business, I always thought I had a “fast” mindset.

But until I saw Muhammad Ali’s incredible speed in the ring. It was awe-inspiring. He moved with such lightning-fast speed that his opponents had trouble keeping up with him.

Watching him fight made me feel like a sloth in comparison.

I realized that his speed wasn’t just physical, it was mental too. 

He was always thinking several moves ahead, anticipating his opponent’s next move and strategizing how to counter it. 

This level of mental agility was just as impressive to me as his physical speed.

His famous “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” philosophy was more than just a catchphrase. It was a mindset that allowed him to outmaneuver his opponents and stay ahead of the game.

Now, whenever I’m feeling sluggish or unmotivated, I think of Muhammad Ali’s speed and mental agility. 

It reminds me that I need to not only work on my physical speed but also my mental agility and strategic thinking.

Muhammad Ali may have made me feel slow, but he also inspired me to push my limits and strive for greatness.

He made me feel like I don’t work hard enough.

I remember a time when I was working on a big project, and I was feeling overwhelmed and burnt out. 

I had been working long hours for days on end, and I felt like I was hitting a wall. I started to doubt whether all the hard work was worth it.

That’s when I stumbled upon a video of Muhammad Ali talking about his training routine. 

He said: 

“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.”

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

These two quotes really resonated with me. 

They made me realize that hard work isn’t about the number of hours you put in, but It’s about pushing through the discomfort and the pain, and coming out the other side stronger and better than before.

He made me feel I’m not creative enough.

I typically feel pretty good about myself. 

I have managed to find unique ideas for building software products and solving people’s problems others had not thought of. I have executed creative marketing campaigns which led Astra to become the first ever non default theme on WordPress.org to power 1 million websites.

But then, I stumbled upon a documentary on Muhammad Ali in action. 

I was struck by how incredibly creative and innovative he was in the ring, and how he evolved himself over the years. He was constantly inventing new moves and strategies, coming up with unexpected ways to outmaneuver his opponents.

Watching Ali was like watching an artist at work. He danced around opponents, used psychological tactics to throw them off their game, and even invented his own fighting style, the “Ali Shuffle.” 

One of his most famous fights was the “Rumble in the Jungle” in 1974, where he defeated George Foreman and regained the heavyweight title. 

He used his “rope-a-dope” technique to tire Foreman out and then knocked him out in the eighth round. His victory in this fight is still considered one of the greatest upsets in boxing history.

He didn’t just follow the same old routine – he was always pushing himself to do something new and different. His approach to boxing was a reminder to me that true greatness comes from taking risks and embracing innovation.

And then, it hit me. I realized that while I was good at what I did, I was playing it safe. I wasn’t taking enough risks or being creative enough in my work. Ali’s example inspired me to push beyond my comfort zone and try new things.

Whether it’s brainstorming new feature ideas or marketing approaches for our software products, Muhammad Ali reminds me to embrace innovation and take risks in pursuit of greatness.

His charisma made me feel I’m boring.

His larger-than-life personality, quick wit, and undeniable charm made him a beloved figure both in and out of the ring. 

Watching him work a crowd or hold court during an interview was like watching a masterclass in charisma.

Now every time I find myself in a social situation, I think of Muhammad Ali’s effortless ability to connect with others and try to channel some of that energy. 

While I may never be as charismatic as he was, his example reminds me to always strive to be engaging, entertaining, and authentic in my interactions with others.

He made me feel like I worry too much.

Muhammad Ali’s boldness and willingness to go against the grain made me uncomfortable. 

He was unapologetically himself, even in the face of criticism and adversity. He changed his name, his religion, and his approach to boxing, all in the pursuit of being true to himself.

Now every time I feel pressure to conform or worry about what others might think of me, I think of Muhammad Ali’s fearlessness. 

He didn’t let anyone else dictate his path or his beliefs, and that’s something to admire.

In a world that often tries to force us into boxes and labels, Muhammad Ali’s example reminds me to embrace our differences and be true to ourselves. 

He showed me that it’s possible to be both successful and authentic, and that’s a lesson worth remembering.

He was banned from boxing for three years.

I still remember the day when I received the news that the Astra WordPress theme had been temporarily removed from the WordPress repository for a guideline violation. 

It was a devastating blow to my business, and I felt defeated and uncertain about the future. It seemed like the end of the world.

My team and I were all devastated. We had poured our hearts and souls into creating the theme, and now it had been suddenly taken away. We were left wondering what to do next.

Eventually, we overcame the situation, but it was definitely one of the most difficult times of my life.

It was during this time that I found inspiration in the story of Muhammad Ali. Despite being banned from boxing for three years during the prime of his career for refusing to be drafted into the Vietnam War, he came back even stronger than before.

This resonated with me on a personal level. Like Ali, I had faced setbacks and challenges, but I had a choice: give up or come back stronger.

I realized that the setbacks were an opportunity to learn and grow, to reflect on what we could have done better, and to come back even stronger.

Muhammad Ali’s story is a reminder that setbacks are an inevitable part of the journey towards greatness. It’s how we choose to respond to them that makes all the difference.

In Conclusion

Watching and learning from Muhammad Ali has been a transformative experience for me. 

His incredible speed, mental agility, dedication, charisma, creativity, fearlessness, and relentlessness have inspired me to push myself harder and strive for greatness in all areas of my life. 

While his superhuman qualities make me uncomfortable, they have also challenged me to be a better version of myself. 

Muhammad Ali’s legacy serves as a constant reminder that with hard work, perseverance, and a willingness to take risks, we can achieve extraordinary things and leave a lasting impact on the world.

Now, I’d love to hear from you. 

Who is someone that inspires you to be a better version of yourself? Is there a particular quote or moment that has stuck with you and motivated you to push harder? 

Leave a comment below and let’s continue the conversation!

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