Character of the week: Muhammad Ali

Ali by Annie Leibovitz

I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.
At home I am a nice guy: but I don’t want the world to know. Humble people, I’ve found, don’t get very far.

The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses – behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.

Friendship… is not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.

A man who views the world the same at fifty as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.

Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.

I never thought of losing, but now that it’ s happened, the only thing is to do it right. That’s my obligation to all the people who believe in me. We all have to take defeats in life.

I’m so fast that last night I turned off the light switch in my hotel room and was in bed before the room was dark.

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

It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.

It’s just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up.

It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.

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

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.

to Paulo, from Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali (born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr.; January 17, 1942) is a former American boxer and three-time World Heavyweight Champion,


  1. wishall says:

    ali wil be inspirational 4 a long time 2 come…!!!

  2. Gilda says:

    Dear Paulo,thank you for sharing the life of Muhammad Ali,it was touching by many people your story…Once again thank you very much.God bless and continue your work helping others to realise not to something that their NOT.What they need is to know Christ in their lives.

  3. Sarah S says:

    hello all, I’m new on here and looking forward to being a part of the discussion.

  4. I found this to be one of the most beautiful pictures of Muhammad I’ve ever seen. I lived down the street from him in MI for a few years and saw his health decline. This picture shows him in better times and I am so grateful for photographers and artists who can make time stand still.

    Thank you for sharing!

  5. agni says:

    Tomare tus luchas, y victorias como un gran ejemplo,fuiste grande, pero aun con la aparente derrota de la vida (apariencia fisica) sigues siendo para muchos un gran campeon.

  6. Sefa says:

    yeahh thnks for sharing

  7. Abradj says:

    Great man greatest boxer ever, you changed the history and the sport forever

  8. Peter Holst says:


  9. suri says:

    the greatest boxer ever

  10. Robert says:

    Affirmations + Belief = Conviction!! Just add time and
    “things start to happen”…hmmmm we/I can do this.
    Thanks for the morning thought.

  11. Truly inspiring! A great read to start my day! Thanks for posting Paulo!

  12. Semih says:

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

    Inspired. Thanks Muhammed Ali. Thanks Mr. Coelho.

  13. ishita says:

    your words in the mind make my life easy to handle, move and flow. i don’t stand and wait but just take the way it comes and pass on.
    thank you
    love you alot

  14. adrivrasarkis says:

    Muy buenoo!! El tipo tiene una idea de la vida interasante!

  15. lea says:

    what does it mean about him being fast that he turned off the light switch in his hotel room and was in bed before the room was dark?

    was that a joke i didnt get?or a quote?

    1. bacounoun says:

      That is only a figure of speech. Just to show how fast he is par comparison.

  16. Susheel nair says:

    Inspired. Thanks Muhammed Ali. Thanks Paulo.

  17. Kris says:

    I always thought Ali was the most obnoxious celebrity I’d ever seen. I saw him become world champ but his words at the time were beligerent and ego-centric. That is what has stayed w/ me about Ali and so it’s hard to read his characterization because it is contrary to what I observed growing up. But I do like Annie Leibovitz photo portrait of him.

  18. mauricio fonseca says:

    Dear friends, I’m sure Ali is a wonderfull man , but you are wonderfull people too, your comments are going to be very important to me tonight.

  19. grace says:

    float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. :)

  20. Malihe says:

    Thank you are a true friend too,,

  21. jomarie lubay says:

    a very inspiring story of mohammad ali, as a great warrior with a big heart ,, here in the philippines, we have also like ali, he is pacman as many times champion in boxing but also give inspiration to many others,,,I hope i give courage to other people on my own little way, as my rent of stay here on earth.

  22. dewi says:

    very inspiring mr. Paulo, thanks

  23. Ivy Josephine Gomez Hoh says:

    I was never a fan of boxing matches but when he entered the ring I watched and I admired the man who stung like a bee and floated like a butterfly!

  24. Ernst Janson says:

    Wow. And I like the reply of John Sargurudoss. Indeed, Muhammad Ali is a true champion

  25. Mathilde says:


    ‘its just a job’

    love this picture of him.

    ‘Service to others
    is the rent you pay
    for your room
    here on earth’

    a honest, sweet, real guy with insights.

  26. Alfredo Sánchez Ycaza says:

    Really good lessons, thanks for posting it!.

  27. John Sargurudoss says:

    Dear Paulo,
    I always remember Ali as a man who loved kids.Before the famous fight in 1974,he went to see a boy suffering from cancer in the hospital and told him,’I am going to beat Geroge Foreman and you are going to beat Cancer”.He took a photo along with a boy and after hearing that his condtion was bad,Ali rushed back to him again and told him to beat Cancer.The boy replied,’No Ali,I am going to meet God,and tell him You are my friend”.
    After winning the fight Ali was informed that the boy died.As he could not go for the boy’s funeral he sent his secretary to attend.When he came back from the funeral the secretary informed that the boy kept the signed photo of Ali closer to his chest in the casket.

    Indeed a great man.A real friend in need.

  28. Nico Patino says:

    I feel inspired reading some quotes from Muhammad Ali… a boxing match exists in the ring yet the fight of life is continuous. every defeat is a lesson learned and every win is a glorious recognition and appreciation…

  29. Elly says:

    As always. Beautiful!

  30. racquel says:

    don’t quit is a phrase i really needed today or perhaps everyday coz of the everyday tiring work i’m doing…i work really hard in my job and i get exhausted all the way from physical, emotional to intellectual. i say intellectual because actually i’m not learning what i’m supposed to be learn,my brain is rusty,i needed a good teacher and they’re not even half of my teachers in college.anyway..mostly it’s physical exhaustion then comes emotional…after this all day’s work, u even get paid an amount not deserving to the sweat and tears u’ve given…i’m giving more than what they are taking from me…MY point is, thanks Paulo for the lines, simple but powerful as they work on people like us….

    1. Sushant Joshi says:

      Very nice racquel… always keep the light of hope on…

    2. Abdul Wadood says:

      Don’t give up Friend.Things will turn out fine.It’s the last hour of Night that is the Darkest.

  31. ally says:

    Ali is a warrior indeed. A content warrior.

  32. toy says:

    much respect to a great life observer, a realist and a dreamer!
    thanks for the inspiration and the support!

  33. Helen Cuevas says:

    I know Ali only as a boxing champion and his “I am the Greatest” line. I didn’t know till now, that he can write those lines. Wise man indeed!

    Thanks Paulo for sharing.

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

  35. mahtaab says:

    thank you paulo….it is very nice and ture about
    friendship ,job ,feel and other subject
    thank you muhammad ali