Muhammad Ali was one of the greatest athletes of our time, but his opponents extended far beyond the boxing ring. We too can be the champions of the battles we fight each day if we are adaptable and courageous.
Being a black Muslim in the 1970’s produced its own challenges in the forms of racism and Islamophobia. One of the characteristics that made Ali so remarkable was his ability to stand firm in his beliefs, regardless of who was opposing him. If you look up any video today, you’ll see ferocious confidence in his self-expression.
Being unique today requires tremendous courage to challenge the status quo. Heroes are scarce in our generation because most of us have been taught to limit our critical thinking for a paycheck; by fitting into society like a standardized cog in a machine. Ali found courage within himself and became an individual. You can also cultivate this courage for self-expression.
In nature, a butterfly is able to float because it is light, agile and curious. On the other hand, a bumble bee has similar capabilities but different mindset: workers that’ll defend the queen and hive with their sting. Humans however are not restricted to any particular pattern, because self awareness allow us to change our perspective when presented with new information.
When Muhammad Ali’s saying, “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” was also a comment on how humans can adapt their nature. We can be light on our feet and observe like a butterfly, but change and strike with purpose like a bee. We are not restricted to nature’s patterns, but to recognize and change them requires self-awareness and that courage deep inside you. Adapt, and you will overcome anything.
A few days ago, the Syrian government sanctioned a bombing which destroyed a densely crowded bakery. These people weren’t just waiting to purchase dessert either, they were getting food for their families during a military supply cut-off. I find it interesting that the countries geographically closest to the birthplace of Jesus are suffering the most this Christmas holiday. Heck, even Americans become irate when Starbucks runs out of their favorite coffee, let alone being closed down due to a bomb. Perhaps other Starbucks locations would honor their fallen baristas by giving out free lattes.
I couldn’t help but ponder the very essential question: why would anyone bomb a bakery?! Especially when people are trying to feed their families. Some experts believe the bombers simply missed, and that they should be more accurate in acquiring targets. I have some non-expert advice: why not just keep the bombs back at base, and not destroy anything? I can think of a few other places their government can stick their phallic-shaped explosives.
There are many things going on in Syria far beyond my comprehension. Mostly politics. The only thing more bullshit than political agendas are expert opinions about these events. Experts also say that the war will continue until they find a political solution. Well, there’s an oxymoron: political solution. Does such thing as a political solution exist? Especially when their politics are causing the problems? Solving a problem by ignoring the larger one is like wearing a bulletproof vest to prevent getting shot in the open field. If you don’t want to get shot, don’t run into the field. Another expert specifically condemned bombing of bakeries. Well done, college graduate. Most of us regular people condemn the bombing of anything. It might not make us “experts” but it does make us… “logical.”