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Muhammad Ali and What It Takes to Achieve Greatness The man who revolutionized boxing and became an American icon called himself The Greatest and worked hard to prove it was no idle boast.

By Grant Cardone Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Hulton Archive | Getty Images)

I can't quit thinking about Muhammad Ali and the inspiration he was. He passed away earlier this month, and I want to share with you what he meant to me. He was an inspiration and it wasn't because he was a boxer or fighter, but because he was a promoter. He authorized me to be a bragger as long as I can back it up. He influenced me by giving me permission to be the greatest. If you are the greatest, if you train like you're the greatest, if you pay the price, you can say you're the greatest. You know Ali said he was the greatest before anyone knew his name. He hadn't even proved it yet. To me, that's about over-commit. You have to overcommit and then over-deliver. That's what that cat did. It takes courage to proclaim you are the greatest.

Some say he was cocky. Yeah, he was. Super cocky. And he would knock you out. Self-belief, self-proclaimed champion, but he backed it up with hard work and showing up when it mattered most. He taught me self-confidence, fight, promotion, marketing and to train. You can't just make claims. You must train and prepare to be great.

I want to share with you 3 ways Muhammad Ali was great and how you can be too:

1. Promote yourself.

No matter your position, product, or service the first order of business is to promote. You ARE a business. If I don't know you I will never do business with you or your company. It is impossible that I will ever do anything with you if I have never heard of you. The first action of any person or business is to make yourself known. Once known, your job is to keep reminding the market you are relevant and valuable.

Promote defined is to further the progress of (something, especially a cause, venture, or aim); support or actively encourage. Muhammad Ali was not afraid to self-promote. Never apologize for promoting yourself. If you want great employees, promote so you have a talent pool to choose from. If you want great customers promote your product so you reach a bigger audience. If you want to get a higher paying job and move up in the company you've got to promote yourself.

Society teaches us that promoting ourselves is self-serving and wrong. Look to billionaires for how much they value promotion. Warren Buffett is on TV often. Mark Cuban is everywhere to promote himself and stay relevant in the public's mind. Promote yourself until people know your name and your face. Keep promoting until they know you as a leader in your space. The moment the marketplace is no longer thinking about you and talking about you, it no longer values you. Tell the world you are the greatest.

Related: Muhammad Ali's Greatest Quotes of All Time

2. Over-Commit.

Muhammad Ali promoted himself as the greatest, but he did so before people knew his name. He over-committed. If you over-commit, you must over-deliver. Over-commit! The best way to convince someone to agree with you is to over-commit. Make them think they are getting the world and then some. Then deliver at greater levels than that!

If you propose to your significant other what would you say? "Hey, we could be alright together. I think there's a chance that not too many bad things would happen?" No! You would say "Honey, I think we are PERFECT together and I 100 percent promise you the best life possible!" You would make double sure that they knew they were getting the best. Once the marriage comes, then it's your job to over-deliver. That's what will make a marriage last.

Don't set expectations low. People have high expectations that are to be met, but more importantly, to be surpassed. Impress people by following through, by going above and beyond to make things happen, by going the extra mile, and by showing them how valuable they are! Over-commit.

Related: Muhammad Ali Was a Marketing Genius Who Also Happened to Be a Boxer

3. Train.

The greatest boxer didn't become the greatest by NOT training. The one thing that will guarantee you fail with training is that you don't do it enough. Apply military discipline to develop yourself to greater levels. Often I am asked, "Grant, how did you become a successful sales person?" The single biggest reason I became successful in sales was not because of my personality or the economy but because I had the discipline to prepare and train. Anything you want to be great at requires training and preparation on a daily basis.

Write a list of any of the great investors, athletes, artists and how often they work on their trade. Warren Buffett spends a lot of his day reading reports, LeBron trains in the gym more than others, and Leo trains for the character he is going to play. It wasn't until I prepared with training material on a daily basis that I became a great salesperson. That is why I write books and record training programs today. I know that those who want to be great will find the materials and use them.

Greatness doesn't happen because of luck but because of preparation through training. Most people aren't great, not because they can't be, but because they don't train to be great. You need to train daily and you need to train with a goal. Greatness does not come without training.

Related: The World Reacts on Social Media to Muhammad Ali's Death

Ali said it ain't bragging if it's true. If you train, over-commit, and promote yourself you will be on your way to becoming the greatest in your space. In honor of his life, start proclaiming that you are the greatest today. Go ahead and over-commit, start training and keep proclaiming how you want the world to know you. Get on my newest program Playbook to Millions and start training to get rich.

I am the greatest salesperson. I am the best closer on planet earth. My name is Grant Cardone, and you too need to get great at sales. You can have anything you want in life if you can just learn to persuade others of your ideas and dreams. Don't let the world knock you out.

Grant Cardone

International Sales Expert & $1.78B Real Estate Fund Manager

Grant Cardone is an internationally-renowned speaker on sales, leadership, real-estate investing, entrepreneurship and finance whose five privately held companies have annual revenues exceeding $300 million.

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