It’s lack of faith that makes people afraid of meeting challenges, and I believed in myself – by Muhammad Ali


A person who always stays in a state of fear and never takes any risk cannot achieve big things in life. People avoid taking risks fearing potential consequences. For this reason, they are often left behind in their life. Almost all celebrities, sports personalities, and other influencers reached the top because they went out of their comfort zone, took risks and embraced failures before finally achieving their goals.

Having faith and believing in yourself make it easier to take risks. The quote also relates to Ali’s other famous quote “He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life”. Muhammad Ali’s success was a result of his faith in himself and his willingness to take risks.

Muhammad Ali in 1967

A Little Bit About Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali was one of the most significant icons in sports during the 20th century. He was an American Professional Boxer and known to be the “Greatest Heavyweight Boxer” of all time [1]. Ali excelled in boxing and outperformed his competitors in so many matches that he was also named the “Sportsman of the Century” by Sports Illustrated. Additionally, BBC gave Ali the title of “Sports Personality of the Century”. With so many titles to his name, one can have an idea that he reached the top of his trade and an ace in the pack [1] [2].

However, such fame and success didn’t come knocking Ali’s door without having faith and taking risks. Ali had a strong faith in himself and his boxing skills from a very young age. He began training at an age of 12 and won a gold medal in the light heavyweight division at the 1960 Summer Olympics [2] at an age of 18.

Despite all the criticism and opposition of him being young and weak led him to big success when he was only 18. He won the world heavyweight championship when he was just 22 [1]. That was just the beginning as Ali won several historic boxing matches against opponents such as Sonny Liston, Joe Frazier, and George Foreman [1] [2].

Origin of this Quote

Muhammad Ali said the quote near the end of his professional career. The quote was officially documented and published in the book “101 Best Ways to Get Ahead” (on page 59), written by Micheal E. Angier and Sarah Pond in 2004 [4].

Muhammad Aii’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Context and Importance in Ali’s Life

The quote depicts an important aspect of the life of Muhammad Ali i.e. having faith is essential in achieving success and reaching the top. It gives an idea of how he stayed on top of his boxing career for such a long time. This might not have been possible without faith and belief in himself.

Peers and friends of Ali say that the thing they most admired about him was his consistency in taking risks. Ali always had a strong belief that he will become a winner. On many occasions, his peers would try to explain to him how big of a risk he is taking by fighting with a strong opponent.

On March 8, 1971, Ali fought against Joe Frazier who was “The Ring Heavyweight Champion ” of that time. This was a rare moment when two undefeated boxers faced each other. Ali’s peers gave him plenty of advice on reconsidering this fight because it could tarnish his reputation and career as a boxer [3].

However, Ali was a man who always had faith in himself and his abilities. He was never scared of taking on challenges that made him feel like he was going to be conquered by someone else. His no-fear attitude eventually paid off and he turned out to be the winner of this trio fight.

Even after losing the first match and negative comments by his peers and the public, Ali stayed put and remained confident. As a payback, he won the next two fights against Joe Frazier, proving that he had full faith in his abilities as a boxer. He believed in himself when others thought he was committing career suicide [3].

He was not afraid, as his coaches suggest [3], and remained very confident throughout his boxing career. His quote complements his real-life achievements and a boxing career that has no parallels. Ali had a strong faith in himself and his abilities and to him it didn’t really matter what kind of opponent he is fighting against [3].

A road with the word  “Faith” written on it

Relevance to Other Aspects of Life

Although Ali might have said this quote in context of his boxing career, it also applies to all aspects of our lives. The quote revolves around the concept that people should not give up on their goals and dreams and stay put when obstacles come their way.

A lot of people end up giving up on their dreams, especially when starting something new like a business venture. They don’t realize that if they have a strong faith and belief in themselves, they can make things work like the way they want it to be.

We can relate the quote to what Theodore Roosevelt, an American President said. He lived a very difficult life but had faith in himself. He fought for the rights of many and took up challenges after which he became the President. Theodore Roosevelt said, “I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life; I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well”.


Faith is one of the most important things one should have if they truly want to achieve their goals. It is the essence of living a successful life and helps us stay consistent in our efforts and deal with failures that they might come across. The quote by Muhammad Ali not only highlights his struggles in life, but also why faith is so important and how it can help us face challenges.


  1. Encyclopædia Britannica. (2020). Muhammad Ali. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved September 9, 2022, from
  2. (2021, October 22). Muhammad Ali | Life . Retrieved September 9, 2022, from
  3. Mulvaney, K. (2021, March 5). How the Ali-Frazier fight of the century became a proxy battle for a divided nation. Retrieved September 9, 2022, from
  4. Angier, M., & Pond, S. (2004). 101 best ways to Get ahead. Google Books. Retrieved September 9, 2022, from


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