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Muhammad Ali, and I

by Tanya Agarwal

I see possibility Everywhere…

I grew up with many inspirations, one for real and rest, from my father reading to me voraciously in my childhood. And when boarding school happened to me at the age of 14, – he wrote the most beautiful letters to me. He would pick out inspirational lines from books and quote those in his letters.  This also came from the fact that – as a child, I had a speech disorder and my father constantly, tirelessly and with a glint in his eyes kept my morale up every waking moment of my life!

There is one inspiration that is hard for me to forget! I don’t think my father realized how much his reading and talking of Muhammad Ali – the great boxer, had influenced me. On a certain occasion in my student life – when I called him to cry my heart to tell him how pained I was – he only said one thing – Impossible is Nothing ( He knew a time would come when he would have to let go of me and let me understand the difference between possible and impossible). However, the innocence of those days gone by drives me and how!!!

I grew up trying to draw water from the well of everything impossible – making lots of mistakes, picking myself up, trying again and again ….and as always, there are enough naysayers and realists – But I see possibility everywhere!

People who are curious about the making of Ali, the boxer would find it fascinating to read about how Ali picked up boxing! It was at the age of 12 when Ali lost his first bike. He later wrote in his autobiography, The Greatest: “I ran downstairs crying but the sights and sounds and smell of boxing excited me so much that I almost forgot about the bike.”

So when Mohammad Ali passed away, I almost felt like writing this blog on just compiling my favorite quotes that come from him…and the ones I heard from my father…Both in my glory and distress…

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.

If they can make penicillin out of moldy bread, they can sure make something out of you.

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 last-minute stamina, they have to be a little faster, they have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.”

“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”

If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it—then I can achieve it.”

Don’t count the days; make the days count.”

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.” 

Most mornings when I am up at 4.15 to get ready and run…..I try to think like Cassius Clay…the words ..don’t quit..go run…go do what you love…be your own champion…ring into my ears constantly…

I recommend the book Soul of a Butterfly and The Greatest : Muhammad Ali for some dwelling on how his life turned out to be a constant inspiration for every generation!

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