Greatness is in the Comeback

“I must be the greatest.”

That is what 22-year-old Cassius Clay (who would become Muhammad Ali) said after defeating Sonny Liston in 1964 to become the heavyweight champion of the world.

But as Ali would prove to us, greatness is not defined in moments of victory; it is defined in the moments after a defeat. Greatness is in the comeback.

Three years after winning the championship, Ali was stripped of his title, had his license suspended and was not allowed to leave the country because of his refusal to be conscripted into the U.S. military.

Without a license to earn a living for nearly four years, Ali went broke. His rival, Joe Frazier, who succeeded Ali as champion, had to loan Ali money to fight his court case to get his license reinstated.

That set the stage for “The Fight of the Century” on March 8, 1971, at Madison Square Garden (even Frank Sinatra couldn’t get a ringside seat, although he did see the bout while shooting photos for Life magazine).

In the 15th and final round, Frazier floored Ali with a hard left hook. Ali struggled to his

feet, his jaw badly swollen, only to suffer several more stunning blows. The decision was unanimous: Frazier retained the title, dealing Ali his first professional loss.

In 1972 and 1973, Ali lost twice, to Elmo Henderson (who?) and Ken Norton (who broke Ali’s jaw). Where’s the greatness?

Later in 1973, Ali defeated Norton in a rematch, and in 1974 he would beat Frazier in the “Ali-Frazier II” bout. But Frazier had already lost his title to Big George Foreman.

Then came “The Rumble in the Jungle” on Oct. 30, 1974, pitting Ali against Foreman.

Almost no one gave the former champion a chance of winning. At 32, ancient in boxing years, Ali had previously lost to Norton and Frazier, while the fearsome 25-year-old Foreman had knocked

out both men in only the second round.

In one of the biggest upsets in boxing history, Ali knocked out Foreman in the eighth round to regain his title against all odds.

Ali, once again, was the greatest.

And he kept on fighting, losing his title in February 1978 to 24-year-old Leon Spinks and then defeating Spinks eight months later to become the first three-time heavyweight champion of the world.

While overcoming terrifying boxing opponents, Ali’s greatest foes were outside the ring—the boxing commission, the U.S. government, the media. Standing true to his principles, Ali became a catalyst in opposing the Vietnam War, racism and religious bigotry. Today, as he fights his own battle with Parkinson’s disease, he’s a champion for research and awareness.

Muhammad Ali recently celebrated his 70th birthday and, while he’s lost his share of fights, what makes him the greatest is that he kept on fighting. He inspires me to do the same.

Great highlight videos here and here. I recommend this documentary or this one as well.

To keep my erection healthy this are the ticket. ! You should be able to talk with a human being, including a licensed pharmacist, to answer questions about your prescription.

No matter whether you are standing tall in victory or can still taste the blood of defeat in your mouth, I hope this special comeback issue of SUCCESS inspires you to keep fighting, too.

YOU are the greatest.
(tell others they are too – 'Like' and 'Share' this article below)

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  1. Clarence says:

    Hi Darren, thanks for this! I felt like life smacked me down with a 2×4 even though it was me. I don’t recall how I came upon the Compound Effect but it has helped me get back on track. As you quote Confucius in your other program Living Your Best Year Ever, “Our greatest glory is not in never falling down, but in rising every time we fall.”

  2. Manuel Adams says:

    Darren.., Ali was without doubt a great skilled boxer and had incredible carisma and had excellent communication skills.
    But his vile treatment of Joe Frazier was utterly disgraceful & as mentioned in your article Joe actually gave him money when he was down and out.
    Ali tormented and humiliated Frazier calling him a gorilla and uncle Tom.
    The whole world has a love affair with Ali and yes his comback was remarkable but there where many split decisions (against Norton) that went his way
    R.I.P JOE FRAZIER

  3. Alphonso Calloway jr. says:

    I will start receiving Success in may
    can’t wait!!!!

    Darren Hardy Reply:

    Welcome to SUCCESS, Alphonso!!!

  4. Joel says:

    Hi Darren,

    I am reminded of the movie “Soul Surfer”.

    Young Bethany showed tremendous potential as an up and coming dynamo in the world of professional surfing.

    Still a teenager and an amateur, her tendencies toward balance and precision, gave her the grace she needed to ride masterfully atop the tallest of swells.

    One morning while on a practice outing, a fierce underwater battle broke out and a shark tore off one of Bethany’s arms in what could have been a day that ripped her family apart.

    I won’t give away the rest of the story if you haven’t seen it yet but let’s just say that it fits very well with the blog.

    Memorable line from the movie: “I don’t need easy… Just possible.”

  5. Julie Musial says:

    Most people are quitters. Just read Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich”. More people need to stay in the ring and fight for what they believe in. Most people feel a little pain and quit. Perseverance! You can create what ever life you want as long as you are willing to go the distance.

  6. Etieno Etuk says:

    Five words. Keep fighting and never quit. Wow. Awesome post, Darren. Thanks for the inspiration.

  7. Corey Jahnke says:

    So I was listening to this month CD and heard about Apple Square. As of 11am this morning I now take credit cards.. Do you know what a game changer that is?? I already have 3 friends with small businesses hooked up!! What an amazing difference in what we can offer and because of YOU Mr Hardy I have a cash register in my pocket!! How cool is that??

    Darren Hardy Reply:

    AWESOME, Corey!!! Keep us posted!

  8. Hello Darren,
    My whole life I have been advised by my elders to be realistic. Shortly ago I realized that the dreams and desires I have are realistic. Therefore I have been punched and knocked out for over 30 years by choice. The new me got up and goes for what I want because I know and believe with my whole heart I can make a difference. Thank you for your story’s and lessons, keep them coming and I will keep them in action.

    Enjoy your day,

  9. I’m not a boxing fan, but I found this article very interesting. Ali is a true inspiration. I once shared a flight with him sitting across the aisle. It was amazing to me to see the reaction from people as he walked through the airport. You could see everyone mouthing “Ali” as he passed by. He has made his mark on many.

  10. Tracy Pepe says:

    I can not begin to share my gratitude for you and your team on the incredible work you do. As I must agree with your blog and post, we all need to get up, dust the dirt off and go back at it. I remember when I was a young gal, horseback ridding, I was thrown from my horse. I was sore, bruised, crying, I was going to walk away – my coach would not let me. She made me get on that horse, take control of the situation and deal with the horse. I was angry and looking back I know why she made me – a great coach. I continue to ride even in my late 40′s, afraid of falling, being thrown, been there – done that and the fear I sometimes feel, will not take away my experience for pleasure and fun. That is because i got back on the horse and so can you.

    But, know this for your blog readers who do not know Darren’s real success – it is his magazine. One example of his dedication, he and Tory created this amazing contest I am in. I am thrilled with the tools, the growth, my success, I have three weeks to go. Oh yes tell Tory I have photos of my new office, I took her week 7 challenge to the next level, I have my own scented space.” (Sorry many will not understand that, but I will share another time).

    Thank you – for inspiring me, for helping me launch this incredible opportunity, for changing my life. WOW where I was than and where I am now – amazing and your tools are the main tool for my success. Thank you

    Darren Hardy Reply:

    Awesome coach, Tracy!!! Definitely one to keep around for the LONG haul!

  11. Dear Darren,
    Thank you for sharing this with us. My dad shared the link and I decided to read it. One thing about standing up, fighting and going forward (no matter what) is you really have to be determined to do so because you may get to the point where your friends would discourage you.
    It’s a tough call that very few people are willing to make, they do no want to go through the process, everything should be gotten now without issues. I really do hope that people would begin to believe in themselves and be determined to be the greatest.
    Thank you so much again. I’ll share the link as well so others can read.

    Itoro Joy Etentuk

    Darren Hardy Reply:

    Thank your dad for sharing, Itoro! And yes, keep spreading the word! :)

  12. HANIF HASHMI says:

    xcelent article Darren .bcause im also fighting 4 comeback since 4 years

  13. HANIF HASHMI says:

    An excellent motivational article Darren .bcause Iam ging through same patch since four years fighting for come back

  14. Danny Yates says:

    Any one who has been in business has been knocked down. It’s when you are on your knees when you realize that you have to get back up and start over. Sometimes this doesn’t happen immediately. But reading Success and listening and learning from your tapes and books, we can understand that there is still a big world out there and it aint time to quit and give up. As you said in your last issue, these are the best of times…so lets get after it and take action. The pity party is over! Love ya Darren, keep on keepin me inspired!!

    Darren Hardy Reply:

    Thanks Danny! And WILL DO! ;)

  15. Gerry Ward says:

    Thanks Darren, just the smack up the side of the head I needed.
    Cheers, Gerry

    Darren Hardy Reply:

    LOL! Glad to hear it, Gerry!!! ;)

  16. Darren, You and this magazine continue to Inspire me daily and reaffirm just why I do what I do. The Greatnest is indeed in the decisons you make for yourself to “get back up” to keep fighting for everything you deserve to have and believe in. Thank you for all you give, In Gratitude and Inspiration, Dottie

  17. An excellent article Darren thank you for sharing.
    Never give up, fight for something greater, and create awareness and help others along the journey. I believe a ‘champion’ is someone who chooses to have a champion attitude, it’s a mindset as much as a position.
    Keep on, keep on. Success magazine, inspires us all.
    Janet

  18. Darren,

    Excellent post.

    As a boy, I watched all of Muhammad Ali’s fights and am inspired today with his determination and perserverance to be the best that he can be.

    Growing up it was neat to live in Reading, PA as Ali trained in Deer Lake, PA (actually seen him at his camp), Frazier in Philadelphia and Larry Holmes in Easton, PA.

    Have a fantastic week!
    Barry

  19. Musa says:

    Success tends to come to the person that never gives up, no matter the storm.

    Thank you for this reminder of how I still need to pay the price and keep on sowing, only then is success assured.

    ~ Musawenkosi Tshoaele

  20. Stacey says:

    Awesome post, Darren! I just subscribed to Success Magazine. I can’t wait to get it!

    Darren Hardy Reply:

    Nice! Welcome to SUCCESS, Stacey!

  21. Mark N says:

    As Churchill said:

    When you’re going through Hell. Keep going.

    Darren Hardy Reply:

    Good one! Thanks for sharing, Mark.

  22. Wil says:

    Nice. Even though I’m not a boxing fan. I am a character fan. I didn’t know a few of the facts that you pointed out in the article which really helps me to appreciate Ali’s true greatness. That is wanted to be the best despite the past. In fact, he clearly used his past (losing to Norton and Spinks) to overcome any fear of facing defeat in order to be a true champion.

    In business, I know how I can use my past to get to where I want to be. My current circumstances do not dictate my future. However, being committed to my goals and fulfilling them will dictate my future.

  23. Ray Bertrand says:

    Fantastic illustration of what a comeback should look like. It starts in the mind. Someone once said you are never a failure unless you fail to get back up. Ali got back up time and time again. The power of rebounding allows you to soar to new heights. Remember, when the feces hits the oscillating device… you pull the plug, clean yourself off and keep going for the gold.

    Darren Hardy Reply:

    You got that right, Ray… It’s what you do AFTER the knockout that counts! ;)

  24. SHEILA S says:

    Only goes to show us all NEVER GIVE UP AND IF YOU DO YOU GIVE UP THE MOST VALUABLE PERSON YOU. HOW SAD TO GIVE UP ON YOU. I’d never give up on me, I’m too valuABLE to do such a thing to me. NEGU. Never Ever Give UP. The challenge is keep on going so you reach the top of your game. We could all sit back and give up. Why would anyone wANt to do that? Pick yourself up, brush yourself off and start all over again. Failure is part of the journey to Success. JUST KEEP ON GOING. I DO NOT KNOW ANYONE WHO DIDN’T FAIL FIRST THAT BECAME SUCCESSFUL. THE WRITE BROTHERS, THOMAS EDISON COME TO MIND. When you were a baby and tried to walk, how many times did you fall down? Perfect example. JUST KEEP ON GOING AND GOING. YOU’LL GET THERE ONE DAY AT A TIME.

    Darren Hardy Reply:

    Right on, Sheila!!! :)

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