On Friday 3rd June, Muhammad Ali past away. Yesterday, BBC news presented us with clips of his life, memorable quotes and unforgettable fights.
Then there were the interviews; his brother, Michael Parkinson (who famously interviewed him) and others, all talked about the type of man Muhammed Ali was.
And what stuck out to me was this; yes, he was the greatest sportsman of the century; yes, he played a crucial part in the Black freedom movement and yes, he had great charisma; but most of all, every interviewee talked about just how nice and kind of a man he was.
This man achieved so much in his life and the thing that sticks with the people he knew the most, is his kindness.
How amazing is that?
So often, we find ourselves neglecting basic kindness on our ways to fulfilling our dreams. Life can be hectic and tough – it can be incredibly easy to let these struggles push kindness to the back seat. Or else, once we find success we can simply forget how to be nice to others. But this legendary boxer, never let this happen to him – he stood for what he believed and did it whilst radiating warmth and kindness.
What do you want to be remembered for?
That’s a big question, huh. If you’d asked me to choose one word to describe how I would want to remembered, a couple of years ago I probably would have answered with intelligent or determined or hard-working. And of-course, none of those are bad qualities to have. And I do wish to be intelligent, determined and hard-working but are these really the most stand-out qualities I want to have? Why is kindness so under-valued?
When Muhammed Ali was asked this question by David Frost in 1974, he answered:
I’d like for them to say: He took a few cups of love. He took one tablespoon of patience, one teaspoon of generosity, one pint of kindness. He took one quart of laughter, one pinch of concern. And then, he mixed willingness with happiness. He added lots of faith, and he stirred it up well. Then he spread it over a span of a lifetime, and he served it to each and every deserving person he met.
And he did just that.
Muhammed Ali will always be remembered as the legendary boxer (floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee), he will always be remembered for being honorable – standing up for what he believed in, even if it meant losing a world title; he will always be remembered for his brilliant humor and charisma (if you haven’t already, I urge to watch clips from the Michael Parkinson interviews).
But from what I heard yesterday, I think what his friends, family and acquaintances will remember most is his kindness.
And I think we can all learn something from that.
May he be granted a place in Paradise.