Muhammad Ali Clay was more than a professional boxer. He was an influential figure to a range of generations, not just with his historic matches but also with his inspiring words. His resilience both in the ring and public sphere can be an example to us all. After all, he was the man who floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee.

Here are 5 lessons and quotes from Muhammad Ali that every entrepreneur can implement in their work:

1. Be the first to believe in yourself

“I am the greatest!”

Muhammad Ali was known for being “the greatest” in the ring. The man called himself the greatest even before he became one because he believed in himself. The moment you leave your doubts behind and stop fearing the consequences is when you open the doors to new paths in life.

Self-doubt is something we have all experienced in our lives. But an entrepreneur faces new challenges every day and tries to solve the riddles one by one. Muhammad Ali believed he could become the greatest heavyweight boxer and he achieved that in 1964 when he became the World Champion. What’s stopping you from becoming the greatest in what you do?

2. The will is stronger than the skill

“Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them – a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.”

You know that idea you’ve always been thinking about? The one you daydreamed about it while staring through the bus window on the way home, but you always thought to yourself “I don’t have the necessary skills for it”? You should have started that project yesterday!

You don’t need to be the best of the best to make something great. You start by writing notes and making some sketches and eventually build the business step by step. As time goes by you’ll learn new skills along the way and make your way to the top. You’ll just have to start by releasing a prototype and launching an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) to test out the market. You’ll learn more along the way and will fix the flaws in the future releases.

3. Failure is part of the game

“Inside of a ring or out, ain’t nothing wrong with going down. It’s staying down that’s wrong.”

An entrepreneur should be willing to go to hell and back just to resurrect its wealth. You’d have to do everything possible for your startup to become successful. ‌But the harsh reality is that most of the times startups fail! And when you know you’ve done everything in your power to make it work and it just doesn’t, you’d just have to leave the past and work on new ideas. The failures are part of the journey to reach success.

4. Work hard now and leave a legacy

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

Being an entrepreneur requires commitment and perseverance. The 9 to 5 work hours won’t be enough for your infant company. This means you’d have to put longer hours and more effort for your business to thrive. You’d have to improve your self-discipline, plan your every move in order to get ahead of others.

Making hard decisions is also part of the daily routine which makes you responsible for the future of the company and the employees. You’d have to start doing the stuff you’d never done before, step out of your comfort zone and feel the butterflies in your stomach if you want to become the champion of your field.

5. Be you, do you

“I don’t have to be what anyone else wants me to be. I am free to be who I want to be.”

Muhammad Ali was a man who never let his surroundings define his purpose. During the counterculture of the 1960s and despite the controversies, Muhammad Ali converted to Islam just after he won the world heavyweight championship. He refused to get involved in the Vietnam war because of his beliefs and that made him an even bigger icon in the eyes of the public. To leave your mark on this earth, you must take the path that most people don’t bother taking it.

Get creative with your work and break the boundaries every once in a while. Build the product and provide the services that people need, but haven’t realized it yet. There’s no‌ framework to this, you’re the one who defines how you’re going to make a positive influence on your community.

R.I.P Muhammad Ali Clay 1942 – 2016

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