Faith is a positive, powerful concept. However, faith would not be necessary if challenges did not exist. When we face challenges, faith says that we believe in an idea, a power, a dynamic force that emanates energy which will buoy us up, help us through, give us strength, hope, some solution or deliverance, or the promise of a better future.
Yes, faith provides positive energy in some unseen but expected-to-materialize force or thing or event. Muhammad Ali had faith in an unseen future but one that had an expected outcome for him: “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’” Training as a world class athlete? I certainly can’t imagine, but the fact that he knew he would be champion meant he believed in himself.
And that belief for being the champion wasn’t in a trainer, promoter, equipment, or anything else except himself. Such training was a definite trial and challenge, but he pushed forward and competed and won because of faith. He could have given up — too poor, too hard, too disadvantaged, too hated. He could have produced excuses by the boatload.
Why didn’t he? “It’s lack of faith that makes people afraid of meeting challenges, and I believed in myself.” Believed in myself. Believe in Myself. You know what? Ali’s life and words are the very reason that those who espouse realism for their lives just don’t appeal to me on a philosophical level. “Oh, but be realistic. You are no J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, etc.” Don’t care. I’m the greatest, and that simply means in my mind that I don’t care about being better than anyone else. I am the greatest Me. I have to believe that. I’m the greatest— no qualifiers like “I’m the best that I can be.” That is mopey-ass shit.
“I am the greatest.” Love that from Ali, actually the words in one larger context are “I am the greatest. I said that even before I knew I was. I figured if I said it enough, I would convince the world that I really was the greatest.” Others might stand back and dispute and compare and say other boxers or writers or anything at which you may be claiming greatness are better, greater than you. It doesn’t matter, though, if you have reached your greatness, does it?
I have seen this play out to be true so many times in life. Have you ever known those people at work or school or in some club or organization who get noticed and promoted over you or others? Those of whom you say, “I’m better, smarter, more productive, more beautiful, happier, blah, blah, blah than he or she is.” Guess what? They believe in their own minds that they’re the greatest, and then your beliefs or opinions about them don’t matter a rat’s hairy ass. Now, I’m not saying that anyone should walk around putting others down, but I am saying you have to believe that you are the greatest at whatever you want to achieve, and if you do, you don’t care about being better than anyone else or if they feel they are better than you.
If we don’t believe in ourselves, then we become fearful and self-doubting — the opposite of faith. I am the greatest. What an amazing refrain for ourselves, our core Self. We don’t have to blast it out in a public forum like Ali did, especially if other sensitive qualities attend us, but in our heart, we must believe in ourselves to that extent — if we are to realize our vision. NO ALLOWANCE FOR SELF-DOUBT!
Might we get knocked down. Yes, but we are still the greatest. As “the Greatest” would say, “Inside of a ring or out, ain’t nothing wrong with going down. It’s staying down that’s wrong.” The greatest get back up. The greatest move forward. The greatest face the challenges and defeats but keep going.
Ali really would have wanted all of us to be the greatest. He pointed his words at audiences. He said, “To be a great champion, you must believe you are the best. If not, pretend you are.” That’s advice to others — “you are.” He addresses that inner attitude, true faith in self. How crucial that is to life-defining success. Mediocre results don’t require faith in Self; they require dependence on others for provision, and to me, that just f — ing sucks.
In case I left open any ego holes, let me make something perfectly clear. Being my greatest Self does not mean I have to make myself better than anyone else in life — a little paradoxical, I know. If you are a competitive athlete, it’s a different story. But for me to believe that I am the greatest Me, then that means I don’t settle for being better than anyone else. I don’t compare: that usually ends up in self-doubt. I do what I have to do to create my greatest vision of my life — no matter what I must do.
We have to have utter faith in our power to conceive, believe, and create — utter, total faith. “It’s lack of faith that makes people afraid of meeting challenges, and I believed in MYSELF.”
Who believes in you? It really doesn’t matter who else believes in you if you don’t believe in yourself: “I am the greatest!” I am.
Questions to consider:
How many times have you asked yourself or simply thought about the following questions?
Who am I, really?
What is my truth?
How do my actions reveal what I really feel and believe?
What would I do with my life if I could do anything?
What is my passion?
Why am I here?
How can I discover answers to any of these questions?
If you have considered any of these questions, I hope that my experiences and writing will give you some guidance. Please read my blog and comment and share your thoughts. I would love to hear from you!