7 Success Lessons From Muhammad Ali

Want to hear some of Muhammad Ali’s success lessons?

He said; ‘I am the greatest’, and people heard and took him seriously.

You bet, had it not been Muhammad Ali saying that, people would have already left and never heard him again!

This is exactly where Muhammad Ali differed from other known and not so known athletes of the world. Clearly, Ali left no stone un-turned in captivating the attention of his audience through his words and punches, literally and figuratively of course!

He was undeniably a monster in the ring, a powerful physical prowess; however, not many know that he also served as a United Nations Messenger of Peace. Even more, in the year 1990, Muhammad Ali met Saddam Hussein to negotiate the release of American hostages!

This article is a tribute to Ali, who passed away earlier this year. Rest in peace.


Muhammad Ali’s Success Lessons

There are two fundamental things anyone can learn from meeting Muhammad Ali or by reading his book: on being successful in a sport, and, more importantly, being a good human being.

Unarguably, you and I can learn a lot from Muhammad Ali. Below mentioned are 7 of the best success lessons from Muhammad Ali. Read further to know more…


1. Have a Higher Purpose

Muhammad Ali once said:

“We have one life; it soon will be past; what we do for God is all that will last.”

You don’t have to be religious or a firm believer in God to comprehend the mentioned quote.

All you need to know is that you need to suffice a higher purpose in your life to live a fulfilling and satisfying life. Pick a higher purpose that is close to your heart. It could be anything that gives you satisfaction, from helping those in need on the streets to raising strong and good children.

The point is, you need a goal that goes above accumulating a certain percentage of wealth and assets. Have a higher purpose in life.


2. Learn to Sacrifice Your Comforts

This particular success lesson does not come easy for most of us, but in order to live comfortably tomorrow, you need to sacrifice something today. Why do you think so few people become incredible in what they do?

It’s because they have learned to sacrifice their comforts for a better tomorrow. Muhammad Ali said (and, rightfully so):

“I run on the roads, long before I dance under the lights. I hated every minute of my training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion’.”

Regardless of what your goals in life are, you will always hate some tasks. Ensure that you don’t quit even when you hate something. Remember, it too shall pass!


3. Greatness is a Choice You Make For Yourself

Mentioned below is another awesome quote from Muhammad Ali:

“I would have been the world’s greatest at whatever I did. If I were a garbage man, I’d be the world’s greatest garbage man! I’d pick up more garbage and faster than anyone has ever seen. To tell you the truth, I would have been the greatest at whatever I’d done!”

His words were truly admirable. You and I don’t have to start speaking like him and believing that I will be great at a particular job.

Broadly speaking, the point here is about choosing greatness over anything. Greatness is a habit that needs formation from a younger age. Look for greatness in everything you do and starting from now.

For instance, if you are working as a customer service in one of the retail shops, ensure that you provide the best services that your company has ever seen.

By being great at your job, you are allowing infinite opportunities to arise in your life.

Muhammad Ali Quotes

4. Free to be What You Want to be

Everyday we come across numerous people who pretend and are striving to please each other.

Those people need to be removed from your lives, starting from today! It will be quite a refreshing change to see in your social circle when all those people pleasers make way for honest and genuine individuals who are as driven and passionate as you.

Muhammad Ali truly believed in being free to be what he wanted to be. He never believed in pleasing people. He never wanted to be anyone else, and till his last breath, he was himself. Period.


5. Be Truly Rich

Money is only a tool that helps you buy other tools. We have a choice to be made – to buy those other tools for ourselves or to help others by spreading the message of humanity and love.

Muhammad Ali, clearly, opted the later. His quote:

“To be able to give away riches is mandatory if you wish to possess them. This is the only way that you will be truly rich.”

Perhaps, for a few of us, his quote about being rich can be hard to decipher, but once you understand his perspective, you will see a deeper meaning in it.


6. Know When You Cannot Be Wise

Once you start believing that you know everything, your wisdom dies. The truth is, we are all human beings and we cannot know everything under the sun.

While there is no way we can be good at every damn thing, for what we have strengths and weaknesses, it is possible to gain wisdom by seeking out the wise and making them your friends.

Create an environment of teamwork and growth. Let there be wisdom in all of us.


7. Old Age is Just a Record of One’s Whole Life!

This is my personal favorite success lesson from Muhammad Ali. Every day that we live, we are writing a new page that will be included in our book called, ‘My life’.

Most of us don’t die young, which means when we reach our old age, we will see our record that will contain our mistakes, scratching, scribbles, and everything in between, along with our moments of joy, pride and wisdom.

By the time we reach into our last pages, may the final chapter end on a positive note of a life well lived.



Here’s a quick recap on Muhammad Ali’s success lessons:

  • Have a higher purpose
  • Learn to sacrifice your comforts
  • Greatness is a choice you make for yourself
  • Free to be what you want to be
  • Be truly rich
  • Know when you cannot be wise
  • Old age is just a record of one’s whole life
  • How many of Muhammad Ali’s success lessons do you resonate with? Leave a comment below.

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