He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life – Muhammad Ali

A Little Bit about Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali (1942- 2016) was an American professional boxer and one of the very few who have managed to reach the peak of their career and ace it. He was nicknamed “The Greatest” [1] and “The People’s Champion” [2]. Muhammad Ali was known worldwide for his outsized character and amazing winning percentage as a boxer. Like many famous celebrities and sports stars, his star was added to the famous walk of fame in Hollywood.  However, unlike other stars, his star was placed on the wall of 6801 Hollywood Blvd. in 2002 out of respect for the name of the prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

He was really fast and agile. His speed and reflexes along with his size made him unbeatable in most matches, the likes of which the world had not seen before. Muhammad Ali won many awards and titles during his career that most other professional players dream of. The Quote, “He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life” essentially sums up his whole career.

Muhammad Ali

The Origin of the Quote

Muhammad Ali is not just known for boxing. People from all over the world looked up to him as a true warrior. They believed that his lifestyle was a true depiction of what a warrior should look like. He used the quote during several interviews in 1977 [3] and earlier, becoming one of his originals.  He also used this quote in press conferences.

The quote also signifies his boxing style. He was never known to be a safe player while he was in the boxing ring and never hesitated to take risks to beat his opponents. That way, he had a better chance at offense, and rather than spending his energies on defense, he was able to surprise the opponent. Most of his matches ended with the opponent being knocked out, which is believed to be the key to his glorious boxing career. He was quick to spot the weak points of his opponents and hit them where it hurt.

Old champions

The Lifestyle

Muhammad Ali’s life was devoted to the game. What he achieved is considered extraordinary, so naturally it doesn’t come without sacrifices being made. He had a regular training routine along with having an appropriate diet and hours of practice every day to keep him in form. His lifestyle also depicts the idea behind this quote, that he had to risk his comfort, and other routine matters to achieve success in doing what he loved the most.

While being a humble person, he had the mindset of a winner and risk taker. He knew that to stay ahead of the competition, he needs to do more and align both his mind and body to make it happen.

Overcoming the Fear of Risk

The fear of taking risks is natural, and most people like to play it safe throughout their entire life. However, that is not the best approach towards life if you want to achieve something. The quote highlights the importance of overcoming your fear, owning your actions and to make people understand that taking risks is part of winning the game. If you are afraid of risking what you have and want to play it safe, you probably also won’t be able to get what you want in life.

Our fear is something that we need to understand and overcome. A good starting point is to start slow and take calculated risks where needed to achieve something. A time will come when the sense of achievement will overcome fears and taking risks won’t feel like such a big deal.

Applying the Quote in Real Life

In addition to being a great boxer, Muhammad Ali was also a visionary and led his life on exemplary terms and ways. That’s why his quote is applicable to a wide spectrum of things in life whether it be a major career move, taking a risk to change your employer or investing in stocks. Taking risks is part of the game even when it comes to our daily lives, so we should not always try to play safe if we really want to reach our goals.


Muhammad Ali was a true legend and an inspiration for generations to come. His quote highlights the importance of taking risks to achieve what we aim for. However, at the same time, it doesn’t push for unnecessary risks. There is a difference between calculated risk-taking and gambling the chances away. It requires some wisdom to differentiate between the two, but at the same time it also requires courage.


FRAUENHEIM, N. (n.d.). MUHAMMAD ALI: PEOPLE’S CHAMP. Retrieved from Ringtv: https://www.ringtv.com/502224-muhammad-ali-peoples-champ/#:~:text=Ali%20did%20what%20nobody%20would,calls%20his%20uniquely%20American%20character.

Hussain, P. (2016, June 28). 51 thoughts on “Top 12 Reasons Why Muhammad Ali Is The Greatest”. Retrieved from Thefightcity: https://www.thefightcity.com/top-12-reasons-muhammad-ali-forever-the-greatest-cassius-clay-joe-frazier-george-foreman-boxing/#:~:text=His%20quickness%20and%20mobility%20was,pioneered%20new%20tactics%20and%20techniques.

Muhammad Ali? Apophrycal? (2019, June 23). Retrieved from quoteinvestigator: https://quoteinvestigator.com/2019/06/23/risks/#:~:text=Continue%20reading-,He%20who%20is%20not%20courageous%20enough%20to,will%20accomplish%20nothing%20in%20life.&text=In%20conclusion%2C%20Muhammad%20Ali%20employed,receive%20credit%20for%20this%20remark.