If I call you a Billy, I mean no offense by it. It’s a nice little moniker I picked up from my Buffalo friends, a term used to describe someone who’s basically the man. We’ve all heard the acronym G.O.A.T. right? You know, when someone is the Greatest Of All Time. Take a trip to the petting zoo and rub up on a Billy Goat, they’re sweethearts honestly. Anyway, if you drain a 3 pointer, bring me a bagel and an ice coffee while I’m hungover, or get an A+ on a Finance final, well then you my friend, are a Billy.
Last night, the world lost one of the most solidified Billy Goats to ever do it. Mohammed Ali, the 3 time world heavy weight boxing champion passed away last night due to respiratory illness. It’s a somber day, not only in the sports, but for the world. He was a man poised and dedicated to his craft, a roll model for the success that persistance and hard work can accumulate into. The man was notorious for his skill and fighting IQ, defeating the likes of Joe Frazier and George Foreman as he ascended to superstardom. While we could go on and on about how great he was in the ring, he was also recognized outside of it. While he normally let his gloves do the talking, Ali was never scared to speak his mind and will always be remembered as one of the greatest trash talkers ever. Bitch.
The lesson I’m going to take away from Ali isn’t how to throw a left or how to connect on an upper cut…that would only resonate with a few people crazy enough to enter into the blood sport known as boxing. No no, there’s something far more universal that can be taken from the man and it stems from his tongue. While many see trash talking as a form of poor sportsmanship, in boxing, it’s a technique the can be employed to dismantle your opponent before they even step foot in the ring. Moreover, Ali and his tongue lashings show that any one can talk the talk, but the champions will always walk the walk.
“I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.”-Ali
Is that not one of the better quotes you’ve ever read? I mean honestly, tat that shit on my neck! That line has been tweaked and twisted countless times, but only Ali himself can say it and pass the polygraph test. It’s a line that speaks volumes for self actualization, confidence, and again, what can be achieved through hard work. At my current juncture in life, I’m surrounded by talk. Slim to none walk, but boatloads of talk. The shit show of the job hunt has begun and people are lying to themselves and to your face when they say they know what they want to do for living. Unless you’re up shits creak in law school or have hoop dreams, it’s more or less a fake it until you make it thing at the moment. Everyone is just talking about the little lives they have constructed for themselves and while it’s great to start moving in the right direction, can you say Ali’s quote and pass the lie detector test like he can?
Everyone wants to be the greatest. The G.O.A.T. in their specific field. If you have a desire to be anything less than the best well then I fear that failure is down the road for you. Set the bar high for yourself, pick the meanest, scariest, most badass motherfucker you can find and go toe to toe in the ring with him for 10 rounds like Ali used to do. Stop talking and start walking, cause talk is cheap and only title fights can pay the bills. People only want to see your actions, because now a days words mean so little. It’s easy to say you’re going to get your real estate license, but are you actually going to do it?
So here’s my take away. Talk yourself up behind closed doors. You’re the greatest! Say it loud and proud baby. Say it over and over and over and over again. But if you want to be memorialized like Ali when you die at the age of 72 due to respiratory illness, you better have proved yourself in the ring, or wherever it is that you take on lifes battles. Ali always wanted to be the greatest and he made it known as he belted lines like the one prior into the airwaves for all to hear. He was the greatest before he ever even knew he was, he said it and made it his reality. So my lovely readers, when your friends mom comes up to you at the gym and asks “what are you doing for the rest of your life,” say whatever you want to her (hopefully she leaves you alone after). But if you’re going to say it, you better go out and do it. Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.
R.I.P. Mohammed Ali
January 17, 1942 – June 3, 2016