Today we lost Muhammad Ali, the ultimate hype man. He turned trash talking into an art form if he didn't, in fact, invent it. His public persona was brash, arrogant, and overflowing in confidence, but we loved him because he had the talent to back it up.
Confidence or talent? It's a chicken/egg thing or perhaps butterfly/larvae in this case. Was he confident because he knew he had mad skills, or was it his confidence that drove him to work so hard? Regardless, he had to have them both or he would never have become "The Greatest of All Time." Yet there was something else that was probably even more important though...
He was one of the most recognized men in the world and he will be mourned by many, but maybe not as much as folks in the little town of Berrien Springs, MI. Ali bought a farm there in the 70s and trained there. When his fighting days were over, he and his family continued to live in the small community where he was a regular at the local McDonald's.
Sadly, I never got to meet Ali, but many of my family and friends did and have wonderful memories of him. Away from the ring and cameras, Ali was a humble, welcoming man who loved to do magic tricks. Many people tell similar stories of stopping by the farm uninvited, yet being warmly welcomed in and treated to autographs, photos, some of those aforementioned magic tricks and maybe even some shadow boxing. This continued even as Parkinson's began to rob him of his rapid reflexes, his mobility and even his speech. It is my belief that without such humility and strong personal character, he would never have been able to achieve the success he did.
Today we see so many who have undue confidence with arrogance and expectations far beyond what their skills or experience warrants. We need more people who have the strength of character to work hard and earn their confidence.
Life may have stung like a bee in his later years, but now he truly floats like a butterfly. Float on, Champ!