What Can we learn from the Life of Muhammad Ali
As the world continues to talk about the recent tragedies of the past few weeks. We continue to focus on labels. Labels are built in the fabric of the United States of America. One label we continue to forget is “Death.” No matter whether you are black, white, or brown, you have a 100% chance of “Death.”
Muhammad Ali had many labels. Arguably the greatest athlete of all time died with a label of “G.O.A.T.” Muhammad Ali was crowned as “one of the greatest boxers that ever lived” when he knocked out Sonny Liston in the first round. In the ring Ali boasted, “I am the greatest.” Then in 1965, Ali was labeled a draft dodger by refusing to draft.
At this time in Ali’s life he knew how to deescalate the situation. When Ali was in the ring, many would say he talks too much or he is too loud. That was Ali’s ring persona. When Ali sat down to testify before the Grand Jury, he was calm, cool, and collected. Today, we discuss how to deescalate a situation with the Police and one questions asked by some is, “Why do I have to be the one to act different?” I say that authority has a way of making you act different. The readers who were raised in an Authoritarian household know how authority can make you differently. Being calm, cool, and collected is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of strength and intelligence. Imagine Muhammad Ali entering the Grand Jury chamber saying, “I’m the Greatest!!!” Now imagine Carmelo Anthony, Chis Paul, Dwayne Wade, and Lebron James giving their speeches before the ESPY Awards in the same persona as they display on the basketball court. In the book, Talent is Never Enough by John C. Maxwell he states, “Many people with talent make it into the limelight, but the ones who have neglected to develop strong character rarely stay there long.” Muhammad Ali’s character kept him with the label of G.O.A.T.
Let’s learn from this. We are all labeled and death is death. We all have different personas. Let’s learn about all of them so we can deescalate situations and we all can live.
ACTION STEPS: Deescalate a situation in your life today. Let’s talk.