The Power Of Influence

The 3rd of June marked seven years since the passing of Muhammad Ali.  At the time I wrote an article referring to the influence, someone I had never met, had on my life because he was always part of my life.  I have decided to rehash that article because there are still learnings from the life of Muhammad Ali and how we can make changes in our own life to have a positive effect.

At the time of Ali’s death there were varying reports on his life, some not so favourable and some adoring.  The not so favourable reports referred to Ali as being divisive and a black supremacist.  He had also been reported as being a bit of a philanderer despite his well-known religious beliefs.  The glowing reports depicted a man who could do no wrong.  He was inspiring, showing people they could be and do more.

So, what do we take from this?  Remember the great Nelson Mandela was considered by some to be a violent activist and terrorist.  What these two men ended up doing was changing their modus operandi.  The legacy they leave behind was moulded over time and from learning another way to influence and achieve a better outcome.

After Ali’s death I posted a quote of his on my Impact Improvements Facebook page.  The quote says,

‘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.’

This quote says to me that Ali was a man of strategy and planning.  With whatever he did, there was a plan for what he wanted to achieve.  The legendary fight with George Foreman, the Rumble in the Jungle, was a fight Ali probably shouldn’t have one.  But he prepared, he researched his opponent and knew what he needed to do to win that fight.  And the rest is history.

The other element Ali had was belief.  Belief he could achieve what he set out to do.  ‘I am the Greatest’.  He not only believed it, but others did, and do, as well.

That brings me back to where I started this article.  I said Ali was a part of my life.  How can he be when I had never met him?  My Father is a boxing fan.  It was his influence on my brother and I which meant Ali was an influence on us.  Remember Stephen Covey’s Circle of Influence.  Ali’s Circle of Influence became global and reaches across generations.  He prepared for that, he had a strategy to do it and he believed he could do it.  The plan more than likely changed along the way but he achieved it.

I have a Franklin Covey diary which includes daily excerpts from Covey’s book, ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’.  Ironically, on the 3rd of June this year, the excerpt related to Habit 1: Be Proactive.  The excerpt read as follows:

‘If I really want to improve my situation, I can work on the one thing over which I have control – myself.’

Ali did that to become the man people across the world loved.  May we all strive in our Circle of Influence to achieve what we want and inspire others to do the same.

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