Muhammad Ali’s 10 Rules for Success
1. Think differently
My thinking is so superior, my knowledge is so positive, my logic is so wise. I can see high and see farther than you.
2. Have confidence
He didn’t knock me out. He could hit hard, but he couldn’t find nothin’ to hit. I’m so fast, so hard to hit, so scientific.
3. Defy the rules
I don’t pay no attention to what they say about me. All I do is just do what I have to do. I don’t pay no attention to rules of boxing, I defy all the rules. And I’ve added pages and new sections to the book of boxing.
4. Stick to your game plan
I didn’t dance for a reason, I wanted to make him lose all his power. When I stay on the ropes, you think I’m doin’ bad? Stay on the ropes is a beautiful thing with heavyweight, when you make him shoot his best shots.
5. Have a bigger vision
Boxing is just a stepping stone to introduce me to the audience. like when I speak, I draw people in the States, to draw my people, teach ’em various things, which ‘ll give ’em dignity, pride, and self-help. And go for self, or help the ghetto, and help the dope, prostitution problem, the juvenilles. I use my image to help, or do all I can to stop a lot of trouble among our own people, fightin’ and killin’ each other.
So boxing is just going for to be another year, though my main fight is for freedom and equality.
6. Be prepared to handle anything
So I just had everything ready. Now, after the first round, and bein’ here, able to talk professional, a man so great, had so many knocks-out, never been defeated, never been even scratched. I didn’t know really how good he was. So I had to come in, actually a little nervous, and with everything ready, after one round dancin’, I’d found out that this would tire me out. So I would have resort to ropes. I figured that out that after the first round, So I said I’m going to go to these ropes.
And I’mma let this man through everthing he can, let him tire himself out. He might look like he’s winnin’. And if he don’t hurt me, I’mma stay here. Now after I found out he didn’t have it, I stayed there.
7. Show good sportsmanship
And it’s really silly when you think about fightin’. I look at other fighthers fight and I say I must be a fool. Here are two men like two roosters, you all know them cockfights. They took two roosters, and they put ‘em out, and they put knives on ‘em. And the roosters are fightin’ each other, and they’re not even mad, don’t know each other. And just to please somebody.
And here are two men in the ring, fightin’ each other and they’re hittin’ each other, and they bleed, and they’re fightin’. What they mad about? They’re not mad about nothin’. Just a bunch of agitatin’, bloodthirsty people. Sayin’ you can whoop him, he can whoop him, my man can whoop your man. Alright. You all get in there and fight.
Humans should have more sense than that. And you’re sittin’ out there, dressed up, drinkin’ your beer and they just fightin’ and just … and this is serious. The nose’ll bleed and the eyes cut, the teeth is out, and the brain, they might have a concussion, just to please you human beings. It’s real savage.
And I said, I’m not gon’ be that kind of fighter. I’m going to dance, and be pretty. I’m just gon’ win on points. And if I hurt my man, I’m going to let him go. I’m not going to kill him, just because somebody’s watchin’.
8. Be determined
I fought Ken Norton. My last fight, the fights was even, up until the last round. But I had somethin’ that he didn’t have, although I’m much older. And that was the last minute kick. The mental capacity to realize what’s involved and how important it is, and make it about to do somethin’ that’s really too tired to do. Your mind makes you do it.
Mark Spits, this olympic track star I was mentionin’, he wasn’t that much greater than all the people in the world. But sometimes he won by just that much. And the champion is just one who can come out at the last minute and close the show. As they say, the star closes the show.
A 14, 15 round fight, and it’s even, and usually this champion, you can depend on him, to come through at the last two seconds, and find some initiative from somewhere.
Not only that (discipline), it’s mental and physical. His body’s in physical shape to do it. Plus mentally too. He’s got his self in condition, where both fellas may be, sometimes, the will can outdo the skill.
And, sometimes, the fella’s will is stronger than the man who’s actually better physically. And the determination weakens the other man, just to see him so determined.
9. Outsmart your competition
I really do be angry. I have to psych myself up. I put myself on spots. It actually puts fear into your opponent. George Foreman. Just before the fight, I’m lookin’ at him when the man’s givin’ us instructions. I said, sucka, you are in trouble tonight. You are fightin’ the greatest fighter for all times. I’m fast sucka. I’m going to burn you up. I said, you’re meetin’ your master, your idol.
I talked through the whole fight. I said come on sucka. I said, show me somethin’. They told me you could hit hard. You’re just a sissy. Come on sucka, show me somethin’. Come on , you can do better than that, George. Look at you, round seven and you’re tired.
10. Be charismatic
I was told that it’s a big honor to be invited to speak at a place like Harvard. I’m trying to be serious, but you want to make me laugh anyway. I understand that out of people, such as you all, come presidents, and governors, and mayors, and great doctors, and physicians, and scientists, and everything. So I say, well to get somethin’ together, to talk to these people, it’s got to be pretty heavy.
If you had told I’d be offered a professorship to teach philosophy, and poetry at Oxford, and speakin’ at Harvard. Man, I never would’ve believed it. So I’m really humble, and I’m thankful, to be here at such a high of learnin’.
And now, I’m just a boxer. But most boxers can’t even talk. You couldn’t invite Joe Frazier or George Foreman.
… and this is the Ali shuffle …
I don’t count my sit ups
I only count them when it hurts
because these are the ones that count