Entrepreneur: Muhammad Ali’s Words Stung like a Bee

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Muhammad Ali could always put on a show. The silver-tongued, quick-witted boxer who called himself, “The Greatest,” who could “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” passed away over the weekend.

With a heavy heart, my thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends, and many fans of the three-time World Heavyweight Champ.

While Parkinson’s disease slowly robbed him of his strength over the years, his words of past still pack a punch, especially for those looking for entrepreneurial inspiration.

He could be fearsome as we saw prior to a 1974 fight with George Foreman, when he said, “I wrestled with an alligator, I tussled with a whale, I handcuffed lightning, thrown thunder in jail, I'm a bad man. Last week I murdered a rock, injured a stone… hospitalized a brick. I'm so mean I make medicine sick.”

He could come across as superior, as he noted, “It’s hard to be humble when you’re as great as I am.”

But most of all, he was an inspiration to young and old of all walks of life.

"Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it,” Ali once said. “Impossible is not a fact. It's an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It's a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing."

And, of course, the irony wasn’t lost when he was once quoted saying, “I don’t like fighters who talk too much.”

When it comes to entrepreneurial inspiration one of my favorite examples was his belief he could beat Sonny Liston in the 1964 Championship, which he did [there’s an old photo with Ali standing over Liston, too].

Ali believed he would become victorious in the fight, even as the underdog who most people bet against.

While others may not have believed in him, he convinced himself he was truly the best.

I leave you with an old quote of Ali’s that sums up what it takes to be that one entrepreneur who does not give into failure, despite the fact that 90 percent of all businesses fail.

“Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them – a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have the skill, and the will,” he said. “But the will must be stronger than the skill.”