Muhammad Ali needs no introductions. I recently started reading his autobiography The Greatest: My Own Story and it opens with him returning home after his defeat in 1973 to Ken Norton. Reading this reminded me of an Ali quote:
“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’ve posted before on the mindsets of elite individuals (eg in Focus, Motivation and Goals) and this quote from Ali demonstrates how he achieved the highs by experiencing the lows. The lows can come from defeats or may come from injuries or may be other things but the response of elite individuals is always the same – it makes them stronger.
The determination to be stronger manifests in the only response it can – train harder, practice more and this quality is reflected in several of Ali’s other quotes:
“What keeps me going is goals.”
“It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.”
“Don’t count the days; make the days count.”
“The fight is won far away from witnesses – behind the lines, in the gym and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.”
“I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’”
Muhammad Ali didn’t count how many sit up’s he did at the gym…….Muhammad Ali did sit up’s until he could feel his stomach muscles start to burn and then Muhammad Ali counted his sit up’s.
If you’re going to take the time to practice, practice like the elite.