We sat around the old black and white television. My father ran into the room. “Has it started yet” he said with the greatest excitement. It was the big fight. Muhammad Ali (then known as Cassius Clay) came into the ring. You knew he was going to win. He had that look of unshakeable belief in his eyes. He knew too. He had seen this fight in his head so many times, heard the cheer of the crowd and felt the feeling of being a champion long before he had even placed a foot in the ring. As he danced his way around that ring he did truly “float like a butterfly and sting like a bee”.

“I am the greatest” he said. His belief was embedded in every cell of his body. That’s what champions are made of. He told the world he was the greatest. He believed he was the greatest and he acted and boxed like he was the greatest. He became the greatest. Over and over in his mind he told himself this. It wasn’t just in the gym that he practised. He went right into his deeper mind and developed a belief so powerful that he became champion of the world.

“I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.”

That’s how the deeper mind works; the subconscious mind. It works on repetition. Over and over again you have to build the picture, hear the sound and feel the good feeling. But it has to be the right thoughts. He built the desire within him to be what he wanted to be. He fuelled his imagination. He did the physical workouts. He did the mind workouts. Mind and body were as one and he became a legend.

“A man who has no imagination has no wings.”

When we sat around that small black and white television, we didn’t know history was being made. The excitement in the room was electric. No one had ever seen the likes of him before. Something about him spoke to the people. He inspired people. He was charismatic and had real vision and he could talk his talk and walk his talk.

What made Muhammad Ali special was not only his talent as a boxer but also his way of being. That mindset. That curious nature. He was funny, full of life and wit. Some thought him a loud-mouth. But what came from his mouth was pure entertainment. His was a great mimic. He also was a wonderful poet.

His qualities were many. He was unafraid. Whether inside or outside the ring. He was unafraid to stand up for what he believed. He was his own man. What others thought did not stop him. He still made his point.

“Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights? No I’m not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would cost me millions of dollars. But I have said it once and I will say it again, the real enemy of my people is here. I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality. If I thought the war was going to bring freedom and equality to 22 million of my people they wouldn’t have to draft me, I’d join tomorrow. I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. So I’ll go to jail, so what? We’ve been in jail for 400 years.”

Muhammad Ali is what legends are made of. Once in a while there comes along a man or woman who seem to make the world smile. He was a champion. A man of hope. A man of inspiration.

If you suffer from anxiety or lack self-esteem you may be thinking thoughts that are not useful for you. How you speak to yourself inside your head will drive your behaviour too.

Remember the mind will take onboard anything you feed it. Your brain is so powerful. It’s just like a great big database storing everything you put into it. It will accept good and bad. It will act on the positive but it will act on the negative just as powerfully. You have to be really careful what you put inside your mind.

There is so much we can learn from his mindset. You too can develop a vision. Build belief. Be your own man or woman. Forget what other people think of you. Be your own person. Each of us are here for a reason. And as the Muhammad Ali said:

“Don’t count the days; make the days count.”

If I can help you or someone you know, just contact me direct. My contact details are here on my site.