It’s really hard. It’s really, really hard. It’s a difficult job. You can never perfect what we do. There is no way. I’ve never met anyone who goes, “That’s perfection.” As an actor, and this isn’t mock humility, I think it just goes for all art forms really, that the whole point is perfection is unachievable.
So see lots, read lots, hear lots. Experience life as well and just keep observing. Really observing. Not just looking and seeing, but sort of observing. It’s that constant pursuit of the unobtainable which is kind of magic, really, and to keep us kind of motivated to try better. It’s the Beckett thing. Fail again, fail better. Fail Better.
The wisest person I ever met in my life, a third grade dropout. Wisest and dropout in the same sentence is rather oxymoronic, like jumbo shrimp. Mm-hmmm. Like Fun Run, ain’t nothing fun about it. Like Microsoft Works. You all don’t hear me.
I used to say like country music, but I’ve lived in Texas so long, I love country music now. I hunt. I fish. I have cowboy boots and cowboy… Y’all, I’m a blackneck redneck. Do you hear what I’m saying to you?
No longer oxymoronic for me to say country music, and it’s not oxymoronic for me to say third grade and dropout. That third grade dropout, the wisest person I ever met in my life, who taught me to combine knowledge and wisdom to make an impact, was my father. A simple cook, wisest man I ever met in my life, just a simple cook. Left school in the third grade to help out on the family farm, but just because he left school doesn’t mean his education stopped. Mark Twain once said: “I’ve never allowed my schooling to get in the way of my education.”
My father taught himself how to read, taught himself how to write, decided in the midst of Jim Crowism, as America was breathing the last gasp of the Civil War, my father decided he was going to stand and be a man, not a black man, not a brown man, not a white man, but a man. He literally challenged himself to be the best that he could all the days of his life.
I have four degrees. My brother is a judge. We’re not the smartest ones in our family. It’s a third grade dropout daddy, a third grade dropout daddy who was quoting Michelangelo, saying to us, “Boys, I won’t have a problem if you aim high and miss, but I’m gonna have a real issue if you aim low and hit.”
A country mother quoting Henry Ford, saying, “If you think you can or if you think you can’t, you’re right.” I learned that from a third grade drop. Simple lessons, lessons like these, “Son, you’d rather be an hour early than a minute late.” We never knew what time it was at my house because the clocks were always ahead. My mother said, for nearly 30 years, my father left the house at 3:45 in the morning. One day, she asked him, “Why, Daddy?” He said, “Maybe one of my boys will catch me in the act of excellence.”
I wanna share two things with you. Aristotle said, “You are what you repeatedly do.” Therefore, excellence ought to be a habit, not an act. Don’t ever forget that. I know you’re tough, but always remember to be kind, always. Don’t ever forget that. Never embarrass Mama. Mm-hmmm. If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. If Daddy ain’t happy don’t nobody care but you know…
Next lesson, lesson from a cook over there in the galley. “Son, make sure your servant’s towel is bigger than your ego.” Ego is the anesthesia that deadens the pain of stupidity. You all might have a relative in mind you might want to send that to. Let me say it again. Ego is the anesthesia that deadens the pain of stupidity. Pride is the burden of a foolish person. John Wooden coached basketball at UCLA for a living, but his calling was to impact people, and with all those national championships, guess what he was found doing in the middle of the week? Going into the cupboard, grabbing a broom and sweeping his own gym floor. You want to make an impact? Find your broom. Every day of your life, you find your broom. You grow your influence that way. That way, you’re attracting people so that you can impact them.
Final lesson. “Son, if you’re going to do a job, do it right.” I’ve always been told how average I can be, always been criticized about being average, but I want to tell you something. I stand here before you, before all of these people, not listening to those words, but telling myself every single day, to shoot for the stars, to be the best that I can be. Good enough isn’t good enough if it can be better, and better isn’t good enough if it can be best. Let me close with a very personal story that I think will bring all this into focus. Wisdom will come to you in the unlikeliest of sources, a lot of times through failure. When you hit rock bottom, remember this. While you’re struggling, rock bottom can also be a great foundation on which to build and on which to grow. I’m not worried that you’ll be successful. I’m worried that you won’t fail from time to time. A person that gets up off the canvas and keeps growing, that’s the person that will continue to grow their influence.
Back in the ‘70s, to help me make this point, let me introduce you to someone. I met the finest woman I’d ever met in my life. Mm-hmm. Back in my day, we’d have called her a brick house. This woman was the finest woman I’d ever seen in my life. There was just one little problem. Back them, ladies didn’t like big old linemen. The Blind Side hadn’t come out yet. They liked quarterbacks and running backs. We’re at this dance and I find out her name is Trina Williams from Lompoc, California. We’re all dancing and we’re just excited. I decide in the middle of dancing with her that I would ask her for her phone number. Trina was the first… Trina was the only woman in college who gave me her real telephone number. The next day, we walked to Baskin & Robbins Ice Cream Parlour. My friends couldn’t believe it. This has been 40 years ago, and my friends still can’t believe it. We go on a second date and a third date and a fourth date. Mm-hmm. We drive from Chico to Vallejo so that she can meet my parents. My father meets her. My daddy. My hero. He meets her, pulls me to the side and says, “Is she psycho?” But anyway. We go together for a year, two years, three years, four years. By now, Trina’s a senior in college. I’m still a freshman, but I’m working some things out. I’m so glad I graduated in four terms, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan. Now, it’s time to propose, so I talk to her girlfriends, and it’s California. It’s in the ‘70s, so it has to be outside, have to have a candle and you have to have some chocolate. Listen, I’m from the hood. I had a bottle of Boone’s Farm wine. That’s what I had. She said, “Yes.” That was the key. I married the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen in my… You all ever been to a wedding and even before the wedding starts, you hear this? “How in the word?” And it was coming from my side of the family.
We get married. We have a few children. Our lives are great. One day, Trina finds a lump in her left breast. Breast cancer. Six years after that diagnosis, me and my two little boys walked up to Mommy’s casket. For two years, my heard didn’t beat. If it wasn’t for my faith in God, I wouldn’t be standing her today. If it wasn’t for those two little boys, there would have been no reason for which to go on. I was completely lost. That was rock bottom. You know what sustained me? The wisdom of a third grade dropout. The wisdom of a simple cook. We’re at the casket. I’d never seen my dad cry, but this time I saw my dad cry. That was his daughter. Trina was his daughter, not his daughter-in-law. I’m right behind my father about to see her for the last time one this Earth, and my father shared three words with me that changed my life right there at the casket. It would be the last lesson he would ever teach me.
He said, “Son, just stand.” You keep standing. No matter how rough the sea, you keep standing, and I’m not talking about just water. You keep standing. No matter what. You don’t give up. And as clearly as I’m talking to you today, these were some of her last words to me. She looked me in the eye and she said, “It doesn’t matter to me any longer how long I live. What matters to me most is how I live.” I ask you all one question, a question that I was asked all my life by a third grade dropout. How you living? How you living? Every day, ask yourself that question. How you living? Here’s what a cook would suggest you to live, this way, that you would not judge, that you would show up early, that you’d be kind, that you make sure that that servant’s towel is huge and used, that if you’re going to do something, you do it the right way. That cook would tell you this, that it’s never wrong to do the right thing, that how you do anything is how you do everything, and in that way you will grow your influence to make an impact. In that way, you will honor all those who have gone before you, who have invested in you. Look in those unlikeliest places for wisdom. Enhance your life every day by seeking that wisdom and asking yourself every night, “How am I living?”
May God richly bless you all. MAKE AN IMPACT
This incident led Lisa Kudrow into starring on Friends as PhoebeGoalcast has partnered with 9Spokes to offer this FREE App. Signup here: https://goo.gl/9RrXm2
Posted by Goalcast on Saturday, September 23, 2017
This was my shot. I cried a lot. It was so embarrassing. I got fired from Frasier. The one everyone knew was going to be a hit, and it was. This time, it was really hard not to think that it wasn’t meant to be, my career as an actress. A couple of months later, I was almost completely out of money.
Then I got a call from a friend, the actor, Richard Kind, who said, and this is exactly how he sounds, “I’ve heard what happened. I don’t know how you get up in the morning. How do you even get out of bed, get dressed, walk out the door, and show your face?”
Yeah, I was getting up in the morning and leaving my apartment, so maybe I was coping better than I was expected to. That’s a good sign. And I understand that because the 20s, they are that time in your life when you’re really getting acquainted to self-doubt when there’s so much seemingly at stake.
So let me reassure you, it’s not supposed to be easy. You’re supposed to have moments of uncertainty about which path to take, because the 20s are full of crossroads. When one door closes, another door always opens. It really does. That’s what I would tell myself to keep those moments of doubts, only moments. And it worked. I kept going.
Then it all changed. After many auditions, I was the second person cast in the pilot called “Friends Like Us”, which would later be changed to “Friends”. Jim Burrows also directed this pilot and the first 10 episodes of friends. One day, the six of us were talking with Jimmy, exchanging the time I got fired stories, and Jimmy told them mine. “Well, she’s got the worst one of all. She got fired from Frasier. Well. It’s a good thing you got fired, or you wouldn’t have been on this show.”
He was right. It was a good thing I didn’t get Saturday Night Live. And that Romy and Michele, that that pilot didn’t work out. And every other disappointment that happened. They were actually more like guideposts that kept me on my path. Oh, and after I got fired from Frasier, I went to a birthday party and, and feeling like I had nothing at all to lose, I flirted with a guy who was way out of my league. We dated and on Thursday, Michel and I will have been married for 15 years, and we’ll celebrate with our remarkable 12-year-old son. So, thank God I got fired.
There is a reason for everything. FIND YOUR REASON
There’s nothing worse than being stupid. Nothing. I mean, being broke is bad, but being stupid is awful. And what’s really bad is being broke and stupid. Right? That’s about the end of the world. There isn’t anything much worse than that, unless you’re sick. Sick, broke, and stupid. I mean, that is it. Right? There’s nowhere else to go.
So, make sure you get the information. It’s key. You don’t have to like it, but learn it. The talent story. Interesting story if you haven’t read it in a while. Just review it. It’s a good story, an ancient story. It says there was a master with three servants. He got them together one day, and he said to the three, “I’ve got these talents.” In those ancient days, a talent was a measure of gold. He said to the three servants, “Take these talents and see what you can do with them while I’m gone.” He said, “I’m taking a journey and I’ll be gone for a while. When I come back we’ll get together, go over the books, see how you did.” He said, “Here’s five of these talents for you. Five. Here’s two of them for you. Two. And here’s one for you. One.”
The master said, “Take those talents, see what you can do with them. When I come back we’ll get together and we’ll go over it all.” The servants said, “Okay.” Master takes off.
According to the ancient story, the master comes back from his trip. When he gets back, he gets the three servants together, and as he said he would, he asks, “How did it go with those talents? Your five, what happened?” That servant said, “Well, I took the five talents you gave me and I put them to work. A little shaky at first but,” he said, “things finally got rolling.” He said, “I poured it on.” He said, “My talents grew to seven, eight, nine, ten.” He said, “I doubled my talents from five to ten.” Books will show, Master said, “One heck of a job,” or something like that.
He said, “I gave you two talents. What happened?” That servant said, “About the same thing happened to me. I put those two talents to work, poured it on. They grew to three and then to four.” He said “I doubled my talents from two to four.” Books will show, Master said, “Well done.”
He said, “I gave you one talent. What happened?” That servant said “Well, I took the talent you gave me and I carefully wrapped it, and I dug a hole and buried it, and camouflaged it, I suppose, so nobody would steal it.” And he said, “Fortunately, nobody got it.” And he said “I knew you were going to be here today so I dug it up. Here it is, safely wrapped. I did not lose it while you were gone.”
According to the ancient story, the master said, “Take that talent away from him and give it to the man that’s got ten.” Now, you might say, “Well, I don’t like that arrangement. The poor guy’s only got one talent. He’s already got ten. It ought to be more even.”
Remember, I didn’t ask you to like it. But this one I would ask you to learn, because it simply means whatever you do not employ, you forfeit. Whatever you don’t use, you lose. Lack of use causes loss. If you tie your arm to your body, leave it there long enough, you’ll never use it again. It’s over for the arm. Now, it may not be over, but it’s over for the arm. The only way to keep the use of this arm is what? Keep using it.
If you quit, you lose automatically. They don’t bring it up for a vote. You lose automatically when you quit. The same thing that goes for your arm goes for your brain. Mentality. The same thing goes for all the human virtues. Ambition unused declines. Strong feelings unused diminish. It doesn’t grow, it diminishes. Faith unused decreases. It’s a law. Vitality unused diminishes. Energy unused decreases. The guy says, “Well, I’m going to save up my energy.” You can’t do that. That’s like trying to save today, put it on the end of the year. See, you can’t do that. They’ll come take you away. If you don’t use today, what? It’s lost. The guy says “I’ll work twice as hard tomorrow to make up for it.” See, that’s foolish. You could have done that anyway. Today unused is lost. A talent unused is lost. An ability unused is lost. Make sure that all of your talent, and ability, and mentality, and ingenuity, and vitality, and strong feelings, faith, courage, make sure that all you’ve got is being used, otherwise you lose. USE ALL YOU’VE GOT
People were looking at me, people were pointing their finger at me and laughing.
I was born this way, and no doctor knows why I was born this way. My parents don’t know why I was born this way. Lady Gaga don’t know why I was born this way. In my life, seeing everyone with arms and legs, my brother and sister have arms and legs. I never imagined that I would be happy, but we’ve got to understand that brokenness is brokenness, but hope is hope.
Some people say, “Well, all you need is just to be positive.” Well, it’s easy for you to say, that’s what I’m thinking. People who have arms and legs, it’s easy for you. I just want you to know though that there is something I have come here to prepare a message for you, to let you know that there is hope beyond what you see.
When in life, we have things in life that come and we try to figure out, well, who am I and what am I doing, and what’s my purpose? Is there any purpose at all to my life in the end?
I stand before you without arms and legs telling you right now that I am absolutely not disabled. There is something greater, something greater than the disabilities around you, or the limitations around you. There is HOPE.
Related: Overcoming Hopelessness by Nick Vujicic
His parents fought so much they neglected him, so he spent many years in foster homes as a child. The doctor severed a nerve in his face when he was born, leaving him partially paralyzed with slurred speech. He struggled at school, and was always in trouble. He was expelled from 14 different high schools.
In the early 1970s, he moved to New York City to follow his dream of being an actor, but could only get small parts. He had to work at a zoo cleaning lions’ cages and as an usher at a movie theatre. He was so broke, for 3 weeks he slept at a bus station.
One day, he watched a boxing match that inspired him to write a screenplay about an up-and-coming boxer. He stayed up writing for 20 hours straight and finished the whole screenplay in 3 days.
“It was either do that movie or rob someone, because I was at the very end of my rope.” ~ Sylvester Stallone
When he tried to sell the script, nobody wanted it. He couldn’t afford to feed his dog Butkus, so he sold him for $50 and walked away crying. He had $106 in the bank and his wife was pregnant. He finally met producers who wanted to buy the script but he refused to sell it unless he was allowed to be the main actor. He felt only he could bring the passion the role needed, but the producers wanted a real Hollywood star.
They offered Stallone $125,000 for the script with the condition that he wouldn’t play the lead. He refused, so they offered him $250,000 and then more, for just the script … still he refused. Finally, the producers relented, bought the script and let him star in the movie but only paid him a fraction of their initial offer.
Right after he sold the script, he bought Butkus back for $3000. Rocky won 3 Academy Awards, including Best Picture. The Rocky movies have made over $1.4 billion, making it one of the most successful franchises of all time. It is one of the most successful movies in history, making $200 million off of a $1 million budget.
“It ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving on. That’s how winning is done” ~ Sylvester Stallone
Starting a company is like staring at the abyss and eating glass, and there’s some truth to that. The staring into the abyss part is that you are gonna be constantly facing the extermination of the company, because most start-ups fail. It’s like 90% ~ 99% of start-ups fail. That’s the staring into the abyss part. You’re constantly saying, “if I don’t get this right, the company will die.” Which can be quite stressful.
The eating glass part is, you’ve got to work on the problems that the company needs you to work on, not the problems you want to work on. So you end up working on problems that you really wish you weren’t working on, so that’s the eating glass part.
On the big picture, you know where you’re generally heading for, and the actual path is gonna be some sort of zig-zaggy thing in that direction. Try not to deviate too far from the path that you want to be on, but you’re gonna have to do that to some degree.
You’ll hear something, “Well, I feel fear about this, and therefore I shouldn’t do it.” It’s normal to feel fear. There would have to be something mentally wrong if you didn’t feel fear. I feel it quite strongly. But there are just times when something is important enough, you believe in it enough that you do it in spite of the fear.
FACE YOUR FEARS
His family was so poor, he had to deliver 1300 newspapers a day. Then his father would take away all the money. His brothers ran away because they were fed up with the hardships at home. ~All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me.~
At the age of 19, he started an animation company – his lifelong dream. He failed to sell a single cartoon. His company went bankrupt. ~Everyone falls down. Getting back up is how you learn how to walk.~
He started an animation studio in an old garage. He spent the next 5 years working with no income. In 1928, he finally found success with a short film, but lost the copyright to his own characters. He was crushed. He had nowhere to live and little money for food. ~When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way – implicitly and unquestionably.~
He tried again with a new character, but the audience was not impressed with his film. Still, he made a second film, but he could not find a distributor. Finally, he found success on his third attempt. His character Mickey Mouse became a hit. ~If you can dream it, you can do it.~
He then wanted to make a feature-length animated film, but everybody said it was a bad idea. The movie took three years to make, and cost the equivalent of $25 million today. Disney ran out of money, and had to mortgage his house.
~The difference between winning and losing is most often not quitting.~
Once released, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves” was hailed as a masterpiece. It made the most money of any movie that year – the equivalent of $134million today.
In his life, Walt Disney won 22 Academy Awards, and was nominated 59 times. Both marks stand as records to this day. ~All your dreams can come true if you have the courage to pursue them.~
She said to me, out of the blue: “I'm the ugliest girl I know.” And I said, “Huh?” And she was like, “Yeah, I look like a boy with long hair.” And my brain went to, “Oh my god, you're six. Why? Where is this coming from? Who said this? Can I kick a six-year-old's ass? Like, what?”I went home and I made a PowerPoint presentation for her. And in that presentation were androgynous rock stars and artists that live their truth, are probably made fun of every day of their life, and carry on and wave their flag and inspire the rest of us. And these are artists like Michael Jackson, and David Bowie, and Freddie Mercury, and Annie Lenox, and Prince, and Janis Joplin, and George Michael, Elton John. So many artists. Her eyes glazed over. But then I said: “You know, I really want to know why you feel this way about yourself.” And she said: “Well, I look like a boy.”And I said: “Well, what do you think I look like?” And she said: “Well, you're beautiful.” And I was like: “Well thanks!” But I said when people make fun of me, that's what they use. They say that I look like a boy, or I'm too masculine, or I have too many opinions, or my body is too strong.And I said to her, I said: “Do you see me growing my hair?” She said: “No mama.” I said: “Do you see me changing my body?” "No mama.” “Do you see me changing the way I present myself to the world?” “No mama.” “Do you see me selling out arenas all over the world?” “Yes mama.”Okay, so, baby girl, we don't change. We take the gravel and the shell and we make a pearl, and we help other people to change so that they can see more kinds of beauty. All of you, thank you for being your true selves and for lighting the way for us. I'm so inspired by you guys. Keep doing it, keep shining for the rest of us to see. And you, my darling girl, are beautiful, and I love you. Thank you guys. Good night!
She said to me, out of the blue: “I’m the ugliest girl I know.” And I said, “Huh?” And she was like, “Yeah, I look like a boy with long hair.” And my brain went to, “Oh my god, you’re six. Why? Where is this coming from? Who said this? Can I kick a six-year-old’s ass? Like, what?”
I went home and I made a PowerPoint presentation for her. And in that presentation were androgynous rock stars and artists that live their truth, are probably made fun of every day of their life, and carry on and wave their flag and inspire the rest of us. And these are artists like Michael Jackson, and David Bowie, and Freddie Mercury, and Annie Lenox, and Prince, and Janis Joplin, and George Michael, Elton John. So many artists. Her eyes glazed over.
But then I said: “You know, I really want to know why you feel this way about yourself.” And she said: “Well, I look like a boy.”
And I said: “Well, what do you think I look like?” And she said: “Well, you’re beautiful.” And I was like: “Well thanks!” But I said when people make fun of me, that’s what they use. They say that I look like a boy, or I’m too masculine, or I have too many opinions, or my body is too strong.
And I said to her, I said: “Do you see me growing my hair?” She said: “No mama.” I said: “Do you see me changing my body?” “No mama.” “Do you see me changing the way I present myself to the world?” “No mama.” “Do you see me selling out arenas all over the world?” “Yes mama.”
Okay, so, baby girl, we don’t change. We take the gravel and the shell and we make a pearl, and we help other people to change so that they can see more kinds of beauty. All of you, thank you for being your true selves and for lighting the way for us. I’m so inspired by you guys. Keep doing it, keep shining for the rest of us to see. And you, my darling girl, are beautiful, and I love you. Thank you guys. Good night!
The Greatest Heavyweight Boxer of All Time
Jan 1942 – Jun 2016
Compilation of Muhammad Ali quotes across the web
(sorted based on LEN count)
Don’t feel sorry for me.
What keeps me going is goals.
I shook up the world. Me! Whee!
Superman don’t need no seat belt.
I’m so mean, I make medicine sick.
I got no quarrel with them Vietcong.
The white man is destroying the world.
It’s not bragging if you can back it up.
Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.
My toughest fight was with my first wife.
I don’t have to be what you want me to be.
Don’t count the days; make the days count.
A man who has no imagination has no wings.
I shook up the world, I shook up the world.
I’m no leader; I’m a little humble follower.
Old age is just a record of one’s whole life.
America is the greatest country in the world.
I’m not the greatest, I’m the double greatest.
Life is so, so short. Bible says it’s like a vapour.
No one knows what to say in the loser’s locker room.
It’s hard to be humble when you’re as great as I am.
All of us are so mixed. My great-grandfather was white.
I am the greatest; I said that even before I knew I was.
Silence is golden when you can’t think of a good answer.
There are more pleasant things to do than beat up people.
It’s in my blood to be around people while I was training.
I’ve seen George Foreman shadow boxing, and the shadow won.
My only fault is that I don’t realize how great I really am.
My principles are more important than the money or my title.
I’m young; I’m handsome; I’m fast. I can’t possibly be beat.
When you can whip any man in the world, you never know peace.
The only thing that matters is submitting to the will of God.
I’ll beat him so bad he’ll need a shoehorn to put his hat on.
I said I was ‘The Greatest,’ I never said I was the smartest!
I had a good time boxing. I enjoyed it – and I may come back.
I believe in the religion of Islam. I believe in Allah and peace.
Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.
If you even dream of beating me you’d better wake up and apologize.
Joe Frazier got hit more than me – and he doesn’t have Parkinson’s.
Age is whatever you think it is. You are as old as you think you are.
I should be a postage stamp. That’s the only way I’ll ever get licked.
Boxing is a lot of white men watching two black men beat each other up.
Go up in an airplane. Go high enough, and it’s like we don’t even exist.
I’m more at home with my log cabins than I am in my house in Cherry Hill.
Bragging is when a person says something and can’t do it. I do what I say.
I’m just hoping that people understand that Islam is peace and not violence.
My way of joking is to tell the truth. That’s the funniest joke in the world.
I had to prove you could be a new kind of black man. I had to show the world.
White people just don’t want their slaves to be free. That’s the whole thing.
He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.
Never put your money against Cassius Clay, for you will never have a lucky day.
Live everyday as if it were your last because someday you’re going to be right.
It’s just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up.
I’ve been everywhere in the world, seen everything, had everything a man can have.
Frazier is so ugly that he should donate his face to the U.S. Bureau of Wild Life.
There are no pleasures in a fight but some of my fights have been a pleasure to win.
It will be a killer, and a chiller, and a thriller, when I get the gorilla in Manila.
It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.
Wars of nations are fought to change maps. But wars of poverty are fought to map change.
If they can make penicillin out of mouldy bread, they can sure make something out of you.
I wish people would love everybody else the way they love me. It would be a better world.
A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.
It’s lack of faith that makes people afraid of meeting challenges, and I believed in myself.
I give thanks to God and to all the people in the U.K. who have supported me over the years.
I’m not the greatest; I’m the double greatest. Not only do I knock ’em out, I pick the round.
He’s (Sonny Liston) too ugly to be the world champ. The world champ should be pretty like me!
I figured that if I said it enough, I would convince the world that I really was the greatest.
You think the world was shocked when Nixon resigned? Wait till I whup George Foreman’s behind.
Ever since I first came here in 1963 to fight Henry Cooper, I have loved the people of England.
Joe Frazier is so ugly that when he cries, the tears turn around and go down the back of his head.
I am the astronaut of boxing. Joe Louis and Dempsey were just jet pilots. I’m in a world of my own.
A man who views the world the same at fifty as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.
All black Americans have slave names. They have white names; names that the slave master has given to them.
At home I am a nice guy: but I don’t want the world to know. Humble people, I’ve found, don’t get very far.
If you lose a big fight, it will worry you all of your life. It will plague you – until you get your revenge.
If I said I would knock out Sonny Liston in 1 minute and 49 seconds of the first round, that would hurt the gate.
I’ve wrestled with alligators. I’ve tussled with a whale. I done handcuffed lightning. And throw thunder in jail.
I’m so fast that last night I turned off the light switch in my hotel room and was in bed before the room was dark.
I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.
I wanted to use my fame and this face that everyone knows so well to help uplift and inspire people around the world.
I know I got it made while the masses of black people are catchin’ hell, but as long as they ain’t free, I ain’t free.
I know where I’m going and I know the truth, and I don’t have to be what you want me to be. I’m free to be what I want.
I calculate that I took 20,000 punches, but I earned millions and kept a lot of it. I may talk slow, but my mind is OK.
Hating people because of their colour is wrong. And it doesn’t matter which colour does the hating. It’s just plain wrong.
I figure I’ll be champ for about ten years and then I’ll let my brother take over – like the Kennedys down in Washington.
I’ve made my share of mistakes along the way, but if I have changed even one life for the better, I haven’t lived in vain.
I’m the greatest thing that ever lived! I’m the king of the world! I’m a bad man. I’m the prettiest thing that ever lived.
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.
The word ‘Islam’ means ‘peace.’ The word ‘Muslim’ means ‘one who surrenders to God.’ But the press makes us seem like haters.
A rooster crows only when it sees the light. Put him in the dark and he’ll never crow. I have seen the light and I’m crowing.
It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.
The fact is, I was never too bright in school. I ain’t ashamed of it, though. I mean, how much do school principals make a month?
No boxer in the history of boxing has had Parkinson’s. There’s no injury in my brain that suggests that the illness came from boxing.
I am an ordinary man who worked hard to develop the talent I was given. I believed in myself, and I believe in the goodness of others.
I used to tease Joe Louis by reminding him that I was the greatest of all time. But Joe Louis was the greatest heavyweight fighter ever.
Anywhere I go, there is always an incredible crowd that follows me. In Rome, as I land at the airport, even the men kiss me. I love Rome.
When I won the Golden Gloves in 1960, that made me realize I had a chance. And when I won at the Olympics, that sealed it: I was the champ.
Rivers, ponds, lakes and streams – they all have different names, but they all contain water. Just as religions do – they all contain truths.
Friendship… is not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.
You can’t keep your mind on fighting when you’re thinking about a woman. You can’t keep your concentration. You feel like sleeping all the time.
The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses – behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.
My trainer don’t tell me nothing between rounds. I don’t allow him to. I fight the fight. All I want to know is did I win the round. It’s too late for advice.
Allah’s the Arabic term for God. Stand up for God, fight for God, work for God and do the right thing, and go the right way, things will end up in your corner.
We who follow the teachings of Elijah Muhammad don’t want to be forced to integrate. Integration is wrong. We don’t want to live with the white man; that’s all.
Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. His hands can’t hit what his eyes can’t see. Now you see me, now you don’t. George thinks he will, but I know he won’t.
I should be a postage stamp; because that’s the only way I’ll ever get licked. I’m beautiful. I’m fast. I’m so mean I make medicine sick. I can’t possibly be beat.
No intelligent black man or black woman in his or her right black mind wants white boys and white girls coming to their homes to marry their black sons and daughters.
People don’t realize what they had till it’s gone. Like President Kennedy, there was no one like him, the Beatles, and my man Elvis Presley. I was the Elvis of boxing.
Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even.
I’m the most recognized and loved man that ever lived cuz there weren’t no satellites when Jesus and Moses were around, so people far away in the villages didn’t know about them.
I always bring out the best in men I fight, but Joe Frazier, I’ll tell the world right now, brings out the best in me. I’m gonna tell ya, that’s one helluva man, and God bless him.
Sonny Liston is nothing. The man can’t talk. The man can’t fight. The man needs talking lessons. The man needs boxing lessons. And since he’s gonna fight me, he needs falling lessons.
To make America the greatest is my goal, so I beat the Russian and I beat the Pole. And for the U.S.A. won the medal of gold. The Greeks said, ‘You’re better than the Cassius of old.’
I never thought of losing, but now that it’s happened, the only thing is to do it right. That’s my obligation to all the people who believe in me. We all have to take defeats in life.
If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it—then I can achieve it. Jesse Jackson said this as early as 1983, according to the Associated Press, and Ali used it in his 2004 book.
Ali’s got a left, Ali’s got a right – when he knocks you down, you’ll sleep for the night; and when you lie on the floor and the ref counts to ten, hope and pray that you never meet me again.
God tries you in certain, certain ways. Some people are rich, and they believe in God. They lose the money, things get hard, they get weak and quit going to church. Quit serving God like they did.
I didn’t want to submit to the army and then, on the Day of Judgment, have God say to me, ‘Why did you do that?’ This life is a trial, and you realize that what you do is going to be written down for Judgment Day.
I done wrestled with an alligator, I done tussled with a whale; handcuffed lightning, thrown thunder in jail; only last week, I murdered a rock, injured a stone, hospitalised a brick; I’m so mean I make medicine sick.
Terrorists are not following Islam. Killing people and blowing up people and dropping bombs in places and all this is not the way to spread the word of Islam. So people realize now that all Muslims are not terrorists.
Cassius Clay is a name that white people gave to my slave master. Now that I am free, that I don’t belong anymore to anyone, that I’m not a slave anymore, I gave back their white name, and I chose a beautiful African one.
I have been so great in boxing they had to create an image like Rocky, a white image on the screen, to counteract my image in the ring. America has to have its white images, no matter where it gets them. Jesus, Wonder Woman, Tarzan and Rocky.
Life is a gamble. You can get hurt, but people die in plane crashes, lose their arms and legs in car accidents; people die every day. Same with fighters: some die, some get hurt, some go on. You just don’t let yourself believe it will happen to you.
I would say things like ‘I am the greatest! I’m pretty! If you talk jive, you’ll drop in five! I float like a butterfly, sting like a bee! I’m pretty!’ When white people heard me talking like this, some said, ‘That black man talks too much. He’s bragging.’
The name Muhammad is the most common name in the world. In all the countries around the world – Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon – there are more Muhammads than anything else. When I joined the Nation of Islam and became a Muslim, they gave me the most famous name because I was the champ.
The Nation of Islam’s main focus was teaching black pride and self-awareness. Why should we keep trying to force ourselves into white restaurants and schools when white people didn’t want us? Why not clean up our own neighbourhoods and schools instead of trying to move out of them and into white people’s neighbourhoods?
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. 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.”
My lectures, based on Islamic teachings, were on various subjects. Some of the titles were, ‘The Intoxication of Life,’ ‘The Purpose of Life,’ ‘The Real Cause of Man’s Distress,’ ‘The Journey to the Goal in Life,’ and, one of my favourites, ‘The Heart of Man.’ they contained important insights that spoke to something deep inside me.