7 Career Lessons We Can Learn from Muhammad Ali

Blog-Ali-04.06.16
7 Career Lessons We Can Learn From Muhammad Ali

As the world woke up on Saturday, news that sporting legend Muhammad Ali had passed away began to sink in. No stranger to controversy, Muhammad Ali was as much of a character outside the ring as he was inside. Opinionated and strong-willed, Ali knew how to rattle people with his words as well as his fists. However Ali was no ‘empty talker’; his bold claims of being ‘The Greatest’ are backed up by his insurmountable success. In his 74 years Ali; won a gold medal at the 1960 Summer Olympics, fought 61 professional fights with only 5 losses and was named Ring Magazine’s “Fighter of The Year” more times than any other boxer – all this only being the tip of the iceberg. Ali was not immune to adversity either; receiving a 3 year ban from boxing at the peak of his career for refusing to be drafted into the US army to fight a war he didn’t believe in as well as being stripped of his world heavyweight title. This didn’t keep Ali down though, he returned to the ring in 1970 and reclaimed the title, cementing his position as ‘the greatest world heavyweight of all time’.



Whilst he may no longer be with us, Muhammad Ali leaves behind a legacy to inspire us all. Here we explore 7 lessons he left us with that we can apply to our own careers and set us on the right path to becoming a champ.

1. “Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them – a desire, a dream, a vision.”

This is simple; have a dream. An ultimate goal to work towards and set out to achieve it. Champions need benchmarks to measure their achievements against.

2. “Don’t count the days, make the days count.”

Don’t just count the days until your next win. Get up in the morning, have clear objectives of what you want to achieve that day and end the day knowing you gave it the best shot – it’s the only way to keep those victories coming.

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

Taking risks is scary, whether it’s going for that promotion or diving into a whole new career – there is always the chance you might fall flat on your face. However, there is also a strong chance it might be a triumph. If you want to be a success, take that risk. Champs don’t stand still for long because there is always someone coming up behind them ready to take that spot.

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

Believe in yourself! You can’t expect a potential employer or a big client to invest in you if you don’t believe your own hype. Become your own champion. Get rid of self-doubt and know your worth.

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

We all have parts of our job we dislike and wish we could wave a magic wand for it to be taken care of (I’m looking at you, e-mails!). Unfortunately, that’s not how victories are won in the real world. So grit your teeth, do what has to be done and enjoy the successes that come from it; knowing that you earned every minute.

6. “It isn’t the mountains ahead that wear you out. It’s the pebble in your shoe.”

Sometimes we are our own worst enemy and rather than it being the trials we face that hold us back, it is our attitudes. Life is unpredictable and will undoubtedly throw rocks at us – sometimes massive boulders even! However, it’s how we deal with them that matter. Don’t let your circumstances decide your success for you.

7. “The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.”

In business it is impossible to succeed and stay the same. External factors that we have no control over dictate that in order to grow, we must be able to adapt. If you operate in the Oil and Gas industry like we do, this is more apparent than ever. Being aware of your market, being flexible and learning from your mistakes are all key factors in success.

From the quotes discussed it can be seen that as well as leaving behind a great sporting legacy, Muhammed Ali has left us with some inspiring core values to apply to our own careers. Implement these and maybe we too can float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.

- Carrington Pink