As I listened to the tributes to Muhammad Ali over the last two weekends (until the horrendous tragedy in Orlando drummed out everything else) I was surprised at the sense of loss I felt. I’m not a boxing fan. I’m almost 70 years old and am usually quite critical of celebrity. I admire those who are intelligent and well-educated. Why was I feeling such deep grief for a boxer? I am part of the generation that saw the assassination of King, JFK, and Bobby. How was it that Ali’s death was touching my soul?
This is some of what I learned:
Ali said, “Rivers, lakes, ponds, streams, oceans all have different names, but they all contain water. So do religions have different names, and they all contain truth, expressed in different forms and times. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Muslim, a Christian, or a Jew. When you believe in God, you should believe that all people are part of one family.”
“I am America,” he once declared. “I am the part you won’t recognize. But get used to me – black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own. Get used to me.” Click here to read more.
How could one person do and be all that Ali did and was? In part, because he was resilient. William C. Rodden from the New York Times said it well, “What I gleaned from Ali’s life, as I’ve lived mine, is that the goal is not to go through life undefeated. The quest is to exercise resilience and come back stronger.”
Resiliency is defined as the ability to manage life’s challenges, stresses, changes, and pressures effectively. It is the ability to cope and adapt successfully to adversity. It is being able to bounce back to a balanced state after facing a major disruption in life or career. (Leutenberg & Liptak, 2011)
Here’ s what we can do right now…
- Find new, more positive friends.
- Prepare for the future.
- Laugh and find humor in my day.
- Do not label myself or allow myself to be labeled.
- Remind myself frequently of my positive attributes.
- Stay in the present without dwelling in the past.
- Overcome negative messages.
- Invest in myself.
- Take more responsibility for my own actions.
- Learn from my experiences.
- Be sure that the negative influences of the past do not contribute to my future.
- Refrain from making excuses or blaming.
- Be certain that I am, or that I become, the person I want to be.