#1531 Fight the Fear

We Can’t Be Brave Without the Fear

Did you know that the Muhammad Ali almost didn’t make it to the 1960 Olympics?



It had NOTHING to do with his skills in the boxing ring.

He had qualified but STILL almost didn’t make it out.

Get this…

The “GREATEST!” was afraid to fly.

He tells us: “For a while I was serious about not going to Italy for the Olympics, and then I thought about what my father said, ‘Always confront the things you fear.’ I realized that we are only brave when we have something to lose and we still try. We can’t be brave without fear.

He continues by saying: “I realized that this was one of those important moments when I would have to make a choice. There are little choices we make every day that set the standard for the rest of our lives. But this didn’t seem like a little choice to me, and I knew it would have a great impact on my life. If I didn’t get on that plane, I couldn’t win the gold medal. If I had not faced that fear and gone on to win the gold medal at the Olympics, I might not have become the heavyweight champion of the world. If I let fear stand in my way, I would never have accomplished anything important in my life.

I repeat…

The great Muhammad Ali almost didn’t make it to the 1960 Olympics BECAUSE HE WAS AFRAID TO FLY.


He mustered the courage to board the plane and fulfill his destiny.


Of course, he chose to act in the presence of fear over and over and over again in his life.

How about YOU?

Have you ever *almost* let fear stop you from doing something that became one of the most defining moments of your life?

(I, of course, certainly have. In fact, we have a series of +1s on what I call “Fear Doors.” Check out Fear Doors: Part I, Part II and Part III.)

Even more importantly...

Are you CURRENTLY letting fear stop you from doing what you need to do?

KNOW that your infinite potential exists on the other side of your comfort zone as you say, “BRING IT ON!” and give us all you’ve got.

P.S. I recently watched a great documentary on another great Black man who was a contemporary of Ali called Bill Russell: Legend. I Highly recommend it for both the Heroic inspiration and the cultural education.

As we discuss in Overachievement, Russell was so nervous before every basketball game he played that he threw up. Then he went out and dominated.

Remember: Courage isn’t the ABSENCE of fear. It’s the willingness to ACT IN THE PRESENCE OF FEAR.

P.P.S. Check out our Notes on a memoir by another all-time great fighter: George St-Pierre’s The Way of the Fight. It’s basically a treatise on his relationship to fear. And… While you’re at it, check out our Notes on Ronda Rousey’s My Fight Your Fight for her perspective on the subject as well.

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