"Float like a butterfly..."

Going behind the public image, and staying curious

I started to research Muhammad Ali as part of a behavioural modelling project, to understand more about his beliefs, values and where he was coming from as he said the famous line “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee”. With the recent sad news about him passing away, this feels like a good time to share what I discovered.

I was surprised and curious to find out about the long list of humanitarian and social change work he was involved with, and its wide-reaching impact. For example, 22 million meals were provided to developing countries, and he actively participated in international dialogue about peace. The Ali Center describes 6 core principles to “inspire young adults and adults to pursue greatness in their lives, communities and countries”:

Confidence – Belief in oneself, one’s abilities, and one’s future

Conviction – A firm belief that gives one the courage to stand behind that belief, despite pressure to do otherwise.

Dedication – The act of devoting all of one’s energy, effort, and abilities to a certain task.

Giving – To present voluntarily without expecting something in return.

Respect – Esteem for, or a sense of the worth or excellence of, oneself and others.

Spirituality – A sense of awe, reverence, and inner peace inspired by a connection to all of creation and/or that which is greater than oneself

Source: alicenter.org

This was very different and had much more depth than the “sting like a bee” mentality which I had set out to learn about. It inspired me to hold that level of curiosity with others from then on, to understand them as a whole person and all that they stand for, not just the interpretation of the things we see and hear in the brief moments we encounter them. This can be incredibly powerful for clients and builds an appetite for personal growth as well as deep appreciation for their strengths and values. One of the many reasons why I love my work!

"I've made my share of mistakes along the way, but if I have changed even one life for the better, I haven't lived in vain."

"I am an ordinary man who worked hard to develop the talent I was given. I believed in myself, and I believe in the goodness of others."

“I know where I’m going and I know the truth and I don’t have to be what you want me to be. I’m free to be what I want.” Muhammad Ali

Photo credit: Skeeze on Pixabay

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