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Whether you knew him as ‘The Greatest,’ ‘The People’s Champion,’ ‘The Louisville Lip,’ or Muhammad Ali, Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. was one of the greatest athletes to ever live. Unfortunately, as you likely already know, he passed away on June 3rd at the age of 74.

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As a boxer, Muhammad was flat out devastating to go up against. In 61 total fights, The People’s Champion amassed 56 wins, 37 of which were by knockout, and even claimed gold for the United States at the 1960 Olympics in Rome, Italy.

But outside of the ring, Ali was also quite the memorable character, known for his bold statements, beliefs, and public appearances. Amidst all of that, Muhammad managed to leave us with a number of inspiring quotes that continue to shape our lives and encourage us. Here is my list of 8 of the most powerful quotes from ‘The Greatest,’ all of which will continue his legacy for many years to come.

1. “I don’t have to be what you want me to be.”

We may not want to admit it, but far too many of us spend a great deal of our lives looking for acceptance. In the process of trying to accomplish this, we often drift farther and farther from being ourselves, thinking that this is perfectly acceptable. As Ali reminds us, there is nobody greater to be than our authentic selves, and we are ultimately the only ones that can allow ourselves to be changed from that. Embrace your uniqueness and don’t let the opinions of others change who you are.

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

It’s easy to celebrate and appreciate the more gratifying moments in life, but it’s another thing to equally value everything that led up to creating that. When you feel tired, overworked, lazy, or stressed out, let this quote inspire you to push through that moment knowing it is just as important as your greatest moment of success.

3. “He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.”

As the famous adage goes: life begins at the end of your comfort zone. To me, this is exactly what Muhammad is reminding us of through this quote. Don’t be afraid to take some risks in life, knowing that the “security” of repetition is not as rewarding as your mind may make it seem to be.

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4. “If they can make penicillin out of mouldy bread, they can sure make something out of you.”

Ali uses one of the most famous medical discoveries to remind us all of just how capable we are. Stop belittling yourself, go after what it is you would like to accomplish, and become the greatest version of yourself possible.

5. “It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.”

To me, this quote signifies a statement we often make here at Collective Evolution: change starts within. It may seem like the problem is outside of yourself, but until we take the time to get things right internally, those external problems are simply going to persist.

6. “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.”

It’s easy to get preoccupied with the busyness of our daily lives, but there are few things more rewarding than carrying out a kind act for another person. As Ali reminds us, service to others is not only wonderful, but a necessary part of our human existence that demonstrates gratitude for being here on this planet.

7. “Age is whatever you think it is. You are as old as you think you are. “

Whether you are in your nineties, twenties, or anything in-between, one thing is for certain: in this life you are never going to be younger than you are right now. So stop dwelling on your age, embrace this moment, and make the most of it.

8. “The man who has no imagination has no wings.”

A child’s imagination is the foundation for all of his or her creativity. As adults, we may feel as if that is no longer the case, but the truth is that our imagination continues to be one of our most powerful tools. Let your imagination run wild and you never know what idea or action you will come up with.


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