Muhammad Ali was a magnetically charismatic heavyweight boxing champion turned humanitarian.
Wikipedia tells us that he was nicknamed “The Greatest” and that “he is regarded as one of the most significant sports figures of the 20th century and is often regarded as the greatest heavyweight boxer of all time. In 1999, he was named Sportsman of the Century by Sports Illustrated and the Sports Personality of the Century by the BBC.”
I recently read his autobiography, The Soul of a Butterfly, after one of the Black members in our community graciously encouraged me to explore more Black authors and share their stories and perspectives while broadening my own perspective. (Thank you again, Miata!)
Ali wrote this book with his daughter Hana Ali in 2004. He was 62 at the time. He died at the age of 74 in 2016.
It’s a fantastic autobiography in which we learn about the struggles he faced as a Black man living in the segregated South and the courage and commitment with which he strived to live a life of integrity and love.
I highly recommend it as both a great, inspiring biography of one of the most beloved (and polarizing!) figures of the 20th century AND as a means to learn more about the challenges we continue to face in creating a just society.
Today we’re going to focus on a couple of his thoughts on true, everyday greatness.
Here they are…
Ali tells us: “Truly great people in history never wanted to be great for themselves. All they wanted was the chance to do good for others and be close to God.”
On a more practical and importantly day-to-day level, Ali ALSO tells us: “At night when I go to bed, I ask myself, ‘If I don’t wake up tomorrow, would I be proud of how I lived today?’ With that question in mind, I have tried to do as many good deeds as I can, whether it is standing up for my faith, signing an autograph, or simply shaking a person’s hand. I’m just trying to make people happy and get into heaven.”
That’s Today’s +1.
When you go to bed tonight, will YOU be proud of how you lived today?
Today’s the day.