N.P.R. used to have a series called This I Believe that they played during broadcasts asking people to declare what it is they did believe. I enjoyed listening to this series, and it always made me think about what I would say. What do I believe? I would think about my convictions and thoughts that I know to be true. I wished that I had been given this as a writing assignment as a high school student. Doesn’t it seem like something someone in high school would have forced you to write?
On Friday night when I was alerted that Muhammad Ali had died, I immediately thought of his This I Believe essay. Ali and his wife, Lonnie, read an essay full of confidence and also what it means to be vulnerable, and fearful. Listen to the full story at N.P.R. here.
I think what I really love about this essay, is that Ali knew what he wanted. He knew and thought, he was the greatest. I think because so often, I am filled with doubt and question so much of what I am doing, which is self defeating, and something I know so much more than confidence. I think after listening to this essay again I am struck by Ali’s conviction of being the greatest.
Here is a song to reflect on after you listen to Muhammad Ali, “The World’s Greatest” by Bonnie Prince Billy. It sounds like a song that was written specifically for Ali, but it’s also sad and contemplative which seems appropriate for the passing of someone so iconic. Maybe you’ll think about what you believe or continue to be great at what you’re doing.