Being just 21 years-old, I never experienced any of Ali's victories, but during the recap of his life by television networks there was one quote of his that truly resonated with me. That quote is "He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life."
I believe, if Ali didn't become a fighter, he would likely have become a world-renowned poet or writer, due to the many lines he was able to make famous. However, I found this one most interesting because it fits the mantra with which I have been trying to guide my life.
Avid readers of this column will likely remember, my Jan. 7 piece titled "New Hopes". In it I mentioned one of my personal goals was to stop fear from guiding my decision-making and that I hoped everyone else would attempt the same goal this year. This quote exemplifies that point perfectly.
Ali, formerly Cassius Clay, became known and remembered across the world because he took risks, making him, heavyweight boxer wise, the "greatest of all time." For one thing, he fought and defeated the greatest fighters of his generation. Also, his most memorable risk came in 1967 when he refused to take part in the Vietnam War, a decision that got him banned from boxing for three years. He stood up for his beliefs and was not afraid to act.
Ali's life story goes to show, people can become whoever they want to be, as long as they are prepared to act and willing to think differently. It has long been understood that our actions define who we are and who we become, so everyone has the power to become the person they dream of being.
As a reporter, I see people all the time, making unique decisions for themselves; from saving lives, to helping out others or simply being an inspiration for others because of what they have accomplished. What I'd like us all to remember is, with a little work, we can all become great, become remembered for something.
It was a sad day when the world lost this great fighter, but maybe his words and his actions will inspire people to become the next 'great one 'in their field, to follow their dreams no matter the challenges ahead, or to simply take a leap of faith in their life and make a decision that could change their future.