Muhammad Ali and Checkers

I have a cousin ( mom’s brother’s son). I recall an incident once as kids when we were playing the game of checkers.  I wasn’t faring so well in the game ( translated, I was loosing badly).  To make matters worse, my cousin was teasing me  and I didn’t like it. I was losing pieces and he was gaining kings.  I was losing more pieces each time he gained a another king.  And the teasing continued. I wasn’t making wise moves and became frustrated, then angry, then mad.  And then I knocked the game over, at which time my cousin and I got in a fight.  I lost the fight as well.  My grand father broke us apart and later told me I lost the game principally because I let my cousin’s teasing get in my head, taking my attention away from the game.

Many years later the world met Cassius Clay, better known as Muhammad Ali — an extremely good and skillful fighter.  I believe his greatest skill in boxing took place before he ever set foot in the ring.  It was in the pre-fight promotions.  From Sonny Liston to Floyd Patterson to George Foreman and all in-between, they lost the fight before they ever entered the ring.  Muhammad Ali got into their heads.  He frustrated them and angered them and made them mad.  They forgot their strategy, their boxing skills and their mental discipline.  By so doing, they defeated themselves before he lifted his gloves at the first round bell.

That is the nature of anger.  If you succumb to it, it takes control  and you can’t think clearly.  Anger strips away logic, self discipline and forces you to give your personal power to another.

When you feel anger begin to rise within you, remind yourself of my game of checkers…and Muhammad Ali.


About nobusysignal

Educated, interested and very much alive!
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4 Responses to Muhammad Ali and Checkers

  1. davehambo says:

    But see how Ali turned out?

  2. tomlstuart says:

    As you share here – anger has the potential to get an obsessive hold upon us. Invariably obsessions reveal insecurities in us and our lack of trust in God. If we can shift our focus of attention to God as our protector and provider, it can hopefully help us break out of that downward anger cycle and block Ali type thoughts from messing with our mind.

  3. I find it so fascinating that I turned to your blog today of all days and saw this post. I was just at a seminar yesterday that gave the same example ie Ali, but to make a different point. The point was how positive thinking can empower you. The point was about Ali, rather than his opponents. However one comment that came across as so important was “Be the gatekeeper of your mind, guard what comes in it”. For it was his opponents that let in Ali’s beliefs that they would be beaten.

    Our thoughts seem to take the path of least resistance by following familiar, well-worn neural pathways. In this way our habits are formed. Some habits are positive; without them life as we know it would not be possible, but some are counter-productive. If we can learn to retrain and form better habits, bit by bit, step by step, then we can achieve anything. Think of the things that you would like to become and make those your habits, rather than focusing on the things that you don’t want.

    If you wanted to drive around in a beautiful Aston Martin – would you say I don’t want a Buick? No of course you wouldn’t, you’d be specific about the car you want. Be that way with the attitudes that you want.

  4. godcrazzzy says:

    smile. so true. u know it is scientifically proven that anger releases so hormone thingy (don’t remember the name) which blocks our ability to think rationally. uh huh… i do like this.

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