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February 6th, 2008

Muhammad Ali on Becoming a Champion

When I began in business in 1987, I painted a quote on the wall of my gym. The quote comes from Muhammad Ali – 3x world heavyweight boxing champion.

“Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.”

It’s the last sentence from a longer quote of Ali’s that goes as follows:

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

Many of the clients I trained looked at the quote and got the message. Others didn’t.

The ones who got the message succeeded. The ones who believed they didn’t need to suffer at all – well, they never got anywhere.

Suffering is a state of mind that you go through on the way to focused bliss. Think about the foregoing sentence for a moment.

I may be wrong, but I think I know what Ali meant when he said he hated every minute of the training. I don’t think he “literally” meant what he said.

I believe what he meant was: When I wasn’t focused on my goal, the training was hard. Unbearable. Brutal. I hated it. It was insufferable. But as soon as I put my mind on the goal, I could handle it. I could bear it. I stopped suffering. I could endure the training. I could keep going.

As a college wrestler, I discovered this truth during practices where my side ached in pain; when my sweats were soaked and dripping with perspiration; when my shoes were sopped and left a slosh with every step.

I wanted to quit. I wanted to call it a day.

But a message came to me in the midst of my agony. The message was as follows: “Fure-cat, put your mind on your goal and all will be okay.”

I did this.

I started thinking about getting my hand raised. I pictured being written up in the newspaper, interviewed on television – and so on.

Next thing I knew – not much more than a few seconds later, the side ache was gone. The pain was no more. I ran as if in a state of reverie.

Best of all, by doing this, when it came time for competition, a funny thing happened: I won the tournament, got interviewed, got written up in the papers.

Strange.

Not at all.

Before you begin working toward a goal – all you see is the finish line. All you see is the celebration. Then, when you’re challenged to see how badly you want it – you may have a tendency to forget the finish line. The trick is to keep your eyes on the prize while also staying focused on what you’re doing in the present moment.

Some goals come easier than others. Champions understand this. But the achievements champions prize more than anything, are the battles that tested them with every fiber of their being.

Think about this today.

Are you suffering in anyway. If so, refocus and watch the pain dissipate. Keep doing this and the prize will go to YOU.

“Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a CHAMPION.”

Matthew Furey

P.S. TRUMP CARDS going out this week. Make sure you order one now.

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