What was the best fight Muhammad Ali ever fought in his career?

But to me, personally, the best fight Ali ever fought in terms of winning over incredible odds, was his all time great upset of Big George Foreman in Zaire…


Ali was like a master painter, who painted so many masterpieces it is difficult to pick one as his greatest work.

For sheer dominance, most say his best fight was the Williams fight

Cleveland Williams said:

You can’t hit him, you just cannot hit him!”

According to CompuBox, Williams landed only 10 punches the entire fight. Thomas Hauser believed that was too many and recounted, and only found that Williams landed 6 real punches in 3 rounds.

Williams said:

“I threw hooks, I threw uppercuts, I missed them all! Hell, I couldn’t even land a jab!”

Howard Cosell told boxing writer and historian Thomas Hauster:

“The greatest Ali ever was as a fighter was in Houston against Williams. That night, he was the most devastating fighter who ever lived.”

During an appearance on The Arsenio Hall Show in 1989, Iron Mike Tyson was asked by Arsenio what was his favorite Ali fight.:

“The fight with Cleveland Williams, it’s Ali at his best,”

The Ring: Boxing The in the 20th Century said of that fight:

“Ali’s jab had never been as blinding; his feet had never seemed so light; his combinations had never flowed so effortlessly. At age 24, he was 27-0 (22), and peaking. It was time to freeze the moment for the time capsule.”

Zora Folley, said after the Ali-Williams fight:

I don’t think a heavyweight can fight any better than he [Ali] did tonight.”

Jerry Quarry said after fighting Ali in 1970:

He’s still damn good, but he ain’t what he was. If you wanted to see Ali when he was Ali, watch the Cleveland Williams fight.

If you go strictly by the odds, the first Liston fight was the biggest upset Ali ever staged – but the oddsmakers did not know of Liston’s health problems

As far as the Vegas Odds went, Ali-Liston was a bigger upset that Ali-Foreman. Few folks in the fight game believed the then Cassius Clay could beat Liston, and he was made a seven to one betting underdog. In a poll of sportswriters before the fight, 43 of 46 pick Liston to win.t

But had people known that Sonny was operating both on an injured knee that never fully recovered, and a serious shoulder injury that ended up leaving him without the use of one arm, those odds would have been different.

Ditto for the second Liston fight, where the delay of the fight ruined the best preparation of Sonny’s career, and again left him unable to mount another camp on his gimpy knee.Age, injuries, and plain good luck for Muhammad and bad luck for Sonny, made those far, far, less of an upset than they seemed then.

Not so the Foreman fight!

For sheer courage, and overcoming adversity, the Foreman fight will go down in history as his finest hour, his best fight, more so than any other…

George and his team prayed in their dressing room before the fight that Ali would not be killed by George. It never occurred to any of them that Ali would win…

In Zaire, 10 year later, as noted above, Foreman and his handlers actually prayed in his dressing room before the fight that Foreman would not kill Ali, and the odds ran as high as 4 to 1 against Ali.

As someone who was around for both fights, it seemed to me, that Ali-Foreman was a bigger upset among ordinary people and fans.

To me, and to many, the Rumble in the Jungle was Ali’s best fight and finest hour. He was no longer the lightning bolt who couldn’t be hit, and instead, had to literally let Foreman, one of the strongest athletes of all time, hit him to exhaust himself.

For all of us who watched Foreman destroy an all time undefeated great like Frazier, literally lifting him off his feet and hurling him backwards like a sack of wheat, knocking him down 6 times and stopping him in 5 minutes and 26 seconds, well, we thought Ali was in terrible trouble.

What really happened in Zaire?

George Foreman had overpowered Joe Frazier to become heavyweight champion. George admitted later in his autobiography By George:: The Autobiography of George Foreman that he assumed if Frazier could beat Ali, and knock him down, and he was able to knock Frazier down six times in two rounds, beating him in the worst route of a heavyweight champion in history, that he would be able to easily beat the much older Ali as well.

George Foreman, also wrote in God in My Corner:

I thought I would walk over him. I knew he had slowed down, and I knew how I had beaten Joe and Ken – I thought I would do the same with Ali. I was wrong, and he still had the fastest hands I ever saw.”

George wryly admitted later that he forgot one little thing: Styles make fights, and a swarmer, like Frazier, has to rush forward and engage. Ali, not a swarmer, and a reach equaling Foreman’s was not going to rush into his punches.

Foreman’s powerhouse left jab kept Joe at arms length, where Foreman hit him with both right uppercuts and left hooks. Before Frazier met Foreman in Jamaica, Angelo Dundee openly worried that Frazier was endangering his multi-million dollar rematch with Ali.

Angelo Dundee called it before the fight:

Styles, Joe’s style is all wrong for this guy. I’m rooting for Frazier,” he said, “but I’ve got this feeling Foreman will win. Why? Because he has all the attributes to beat Frazier’s style. He’s got a jab like I’ve never seen on a heavyweight since Sonny Liston. He has a strong left hand. I mean strong. He can stop a man in his tracks.”

And that was what made the difference. Frazier said after the fight that Foreman’s jab stopped him dead in his tracks – the first time that had happened, and even if he pushed forward, Foreman simply pushed him back. He could not match Foreman’s strength.

And Prime Foreman was STRONG, and quick, and could cut off a ring. George Foreman had Power, (with a capital P) and in his prime, was an astonishingly athletic and fast fighter who cut off the ring as well as anyone since Joe Louis. All time greats such as Jack Dempsey and Joe Louis both commented that Foreman was the strongest heavyweight hitter that they had ever seen, and fast.

Jack Dempsey said in wonder after the Frazier fight:

“it outta be criminal to be that damn strong!”

Nor was Frazier vulnerable to bigger men as a rule. Frazier easily knocked out Buster Mathis, a man who undefeated when he met Frazier, (and 30-4 in his career, losing only to Frazier, Ali, Jerry Quarry and Ron Lyle). Mathis, when he met Frazier, had never been off his feet until he fought Frazier – who knocked him into next year with a left hook. Mathis, who had a powerful right that earned him 21 KO’s in his 30 wins, found that right no match for Joe’s hook.

Mathis was 6’3″ and weighed 243 when he fought Frazier, who weighed 204.

Young Foreman was the most feared heavyweight in history other than Sonny Liston. (Prime Mike Tyson deserves a shout as well in the feared group) George had a thunderous, accurate jab, incredible power in both hands, greater strength than practically anyone else who ever set foot in the ring, (with the possible exception of Sonny Liston and Jim Jeffries), he cut the ring off well – had he not fallen to Ali in Zaire, he would have terrorized the heavyweights for a decade.

George lost in Zaire lost for three reasons:

  • First, he was badly cut before the fight – it had to be delayed – and he lost 5 weeks of sparring.”

Bad luck for George and good lucky for Ali was a factor here, but it was not decisive, no, two more factors were even more imporant.

So due to the injury the fight was delayed, although Foreman and Ali spent much of the summer of 1974 training in Zaire and getting their bodies used to the weather in the tropical African country. The fight was originally set to happen on September 24, but the fight was postponed after Foreman was cut during training. It was rescheduled for October 30
That delay was deadly for George. He was not able to spar till right before the new date for the fight, and his timing was completely gone.

George said in By George:: The Autobiography of George Foreman:

I was in the best shape of my life at that point, and had the fight taken place then, I would have won.”

The second reason he lost is:

  • he badly underestimated Ali’s willingness to take a beating and completely misunderstood how Ali would fight him.

George expected Ali to run, and he would catch him. He never thought Ali would go to the ropes, and exchange with him. He would writer later in By George:: The Autobiography of George Foreman:

I never dreamed he would dare to exchange with me. Not in a million years!”

Foreman said about Zaire:

“Well, it was a strange event because I had beaten Joe Frazier who of course had beaten Muhammad Ali. I’d knocked out Ken Norton who had beaten him. So this, for me, I thought, could be the easiest money I’d ever get in boxing….I got into the ring, and I hit him with everything I had. He survived, and after about six rounds, he started whispering, that all you got, George? Show me something, George. And I knew this was a frightful moment. And I kept thinking I’ve gotten myself into more than I realized.”

‘There Will Never Be Another’: George Foreman Remembers Muhammad Ali

In addition to the injury affecting him, Foreman admitted he made a fatal error in not watching film of Ali before the fight:

“Never studied one film, never dissected anything, He was such a good-looking guy, I’m like, ‘I can beat him.’ Never decided what his strength or weakness was.”

Foreman lamented that he “played right into Ali’s hands” by believing the challenger was actually afraid of him as the fight got closer:

“Muhammad was a master. He’d act as frightened as could be. I’d put a hand near his face and he’d act scared, Look, all those amateur boxing matches he had, Sonny Liston … no way he was afraid of me.”

George badly underestimated Ali’s ferocious will to win, and his willingness to suffer to do it. Mike Tyson spoke about Ali’s indomitable will, and willingness to go further and harder than anyone else:

“This is the thing about Ali: When we were watching him get beat up as an old man-even when I was a young kid-he’s not going to quit, you’ve got to kill him. He won’t quit.

Mike Tyson Gets Emotional When Talking About Muhammad Ali

Though the smart money had George easily winning the fight, Joe Frazier, who had no love for Ali, had an interesting take on it.:

“I think he [Ali] might pull it off. He ain’t going to do what Foreman thinks he is. I don’t know what he will do, but I know what he won’t, and that’s what Foreman expects him to do.”

The third reason he lost was:

  • His corner made absolutely no attempt to adjust their strategy when it was clear that Ali was doing the unexpected, and George was exhausting himself on the ropes.

George repeatedly asked:

what’s happening, what should I do?”

Not a word was given except “keep hitting him!”

George repeatedly asked Dick Sadler as his primary cornerman and trainer:

“what’s happening, what should I do?”

Not a word was given except:

“keep hitting him!

Dundee said after the fight if he had been Foreman’s trainer, he would have told him, go to the center of the ring, and tell Ali, you want the title, come get it. He said:

“I would NEVER have let George continue to engage on the ropes.”

Conclusion: Why Zaire is Ali’s finest hour, not the Williams fight

Sugar Ray Robinson once said something that explains why the Williams fight, where Ali was simply unbeatable physically, is not his best fight::

Being the best is winning when you ain’t supposed to

Mike quoted Cus D’Amato about what made Ali special, the ability to reach inside and rise up even when he was older and his physical gifts were diminished:

“He is the greatest heavyweight boxer of all-time, I think. Yeah. No doubt because Ali has qualities you can’t put on a statistic scale like height and weight and reach and all that stuff. He had internal fortitude. He’s just an amazing man and Cus always said you’re never going to see a guy like him again. Cus was the biggest fan of Ali. He [Cus] just thought that he was the greatest fighter that God ever created.”

Mike Tyson First Met Muhammad Ali In Juvie

Greatness is not winning when you are expected to, no matter how good you look doing it. Ali was supposed to slaughter Williams, and he did. But he was not supposed to defeat the undefeated monster George Foreman – and yet he did.

Manny Steward expressed Ali’s warrior heart and matchless ability to win best:

“[Ali] he did what he had to do to find a way to win and that was one of the unique things about Ali.“

Heavyweight History With Emanuel Steward: Part 2 Of 3 • East Side Boxing • News Archives

As Rocky Marciano said:

Greatness is getting up when you go down, and keeping on when you think you can’t. Greatness is winning when nobody thinks you will but you or fighting on when you know you are going to lose, but you can’t give up.”


Boxrec for fight records, statistics, quotes by fighters

Ring for ratings

By George:: The Autobiography of George Foreman by George Foreman

God in My Corner : A Spiritual Memoir” by George Foreman and Ken Abraham

Going the Distance by Ken Norton

🥊 Interview with Ken Norton: Norton Speaks On Fights With Ali | Boxing News, articles, videos, rankings and results

Larry Holmes: Against the Odds by Phil Berger

Mike Tyson Gets Emotional When Talking About Muhammad Ali

Mike Tyson, in a 2012 interview with Thisis50 | If it’s Hot it’s Here

Muhammad Ali, The Greatest

Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times by Thomas Hauser

Norton Speaks On Fights With Ali

Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times by Thomas Hauser

The Greatest: My Own Story by Muhammad Ali

Undefeated: Rocky Marciano – The Fighter Who Refused to Lose By Everett Skehan

Evangelicals Have Abandoned the Character Test. The Competence Test is Next.

Christian political engagement is about more than an issue checklist.

On April 15, the United States hit a horrifying milestone. It not only crossed 30,000 total COVID-19 deaths, but for the fourth consecutive day, the daily death toll was so high that COVID-19 was the single leading cause of death in the United States. This visualization of the rising death toll is simply horrifying:

At the same time, new reports have emerged demonstrating the president’s incredible reluctance to come to terms with the scale of a crisis that wasn’t just foreseeable, it was foreseen by members of his own administration. And while Trump deserves credit for limiting travel from China in late January, he not only squandered any advantage gained by that move, he actively spread misinformation about the virus throughout the month of February and into March.

Then, when he finally began to acknowledge the scale of the emergency, he went on national television and botched his own primetime address, misstating administration policies and triggering a panic from Americans in Europe who believed—based on the president’s own words—that they would be barred from coming home.

Since that time, his daily press conferences have featured a parade of presidential

Something else happened on April 15—Albert Mohler, the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, the presumptive next president of the Southern Baptist Convention, and a man I respect a great deal—spoke from the midst of a ruined economy, soaring death rates, and presidential blundering and said . . . four more years. He declared not only that he’d support Donald Trump in 2020, but that he’ll almost certainly support Republican presidential candidates the rest of his life. Mohler focused on the classic culture war issues—marriage, sexuality, constitutional interpretation, and abortion. He expressed the belief that the “partisan divide had become so great” and Democrats had “swerved so far to the left” on those key issues that he can’t imagine ever voting for a Democratic president. He also claimed that Trump has been “more consistent in pro-life decisions” and consistent in the quality of his judicial nominations than “any president of the United States of any party.”

As he made clear in the video, Mohler has not always supported Trump. In 2016, he was consistent with his denomination’s clear and unequivocal statement about the importance of moral character in public officials. He has now decisively changed course.

In 1998—during Bill Clinton’s second term—the Southern Baptist Convention declared that “tolerance of serious wrong by leaders sears the conscience of the culture, spawns unrestrained immorality and lawlessness in the society, and surely results in God’s judgment” and therefore urged “all Americans to embrace and act on the conviction that character does count in public office, and to elect those officials and candidates who, although imperfect, demonstrate consistent honesty, moral purity and the highest character.”

Mohler so clearly recognized the applicability of those words that he said, “If I were to support, much less endorse Donald Trump for president, I would actually have to go back and apologize to former President Bill Clinton.” I do wonder if Mohler will apologize. He absolutely should.

Look, I know that for now I’ve lost the character argument. It’s well-established that a great number of white Evangelicals didn’t truly believe the words they wrote, endorsed, and argued in 1998 and for 18 years until the 2016 election. Oh sure, they thought they believed those words. If someone challenged their convictions with a lie detector test, they would have passed with flying colors.

(By the way, I use the term “white Evangelicals” because that’s Trump’s core political constituency. That’s the base that gave him 81 percent support in 2016. The rest of the Evangelical community leans Democratic.)

When C.S. Lewis said “courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of very virtue at the testing point, which means at the point of highest reality,” he was speaking an important truth. We may think we possess an array of virtues and beliefs, but we don’t really know who we are or what we believe until those virtues and beliefs are put to the test. There is many a man who goes to war thinking himself brave, until the bullets fly. There is many a man who thinks himself faithful to his wife, until the flirtation starts.

There were many men who thought character counted, until a commitment to character contained a real political cost. But that’s the obvious point. I’ve made it countless times before today. White Evangelicals, however, have shrugged it off. “Binary choice,” they say. “Lesser of two evils,” they say—even though those concepts appeared nowhere in the grand moral announcements of the past.

Many millions of Trump-supporting white Evangelicals no longer care about character (though a surprising number are still remarkably unaware of his flaws). That much is clear. But the story now grows darker still. As they’ve abandoned political character tests, they’re also rejecting any meaningful concern for presidential competence.

Listen to Mohler’s announcement, and you’ll hear a narrow political philosophy—one that’s limited to evaluating a party platform on a few, discrete issues. It’s nothing more than a policy checklist. He speaks of religious freedom, LGBT issues, and abortion. 

Yet as the pandemic vividly illustrates (and as 9/11 also highlighted in recent years past), the job of the president extends well beyond the culture war. Indeed, there are times when a president is so bad at other material aspects of his job that he becomes a malignant force in American life, regardless of his positions on white Evangelicals’ highest political priorities.

The role of the people of God in political life is so much more difficult and challenging than merely listing a discrete subset of issues (even when those issues are important!) and supporting anyone who agrees to your list. The prophet Jeremiah exhorted the people of Israel to “seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare.”

This is a difficult, complicated task. We can’t reduce it to a list. In fact, this complexity is one reason why two key communities of churchgoing Americans are dramatically split in their political preferences. Black Christians go to church every bit as much (if not more) than white Evangelicals, yet they reject Trump every bit as much as white Evangelicals embrace him.

Are they less Christian? Or is their experience of the welfare of the national community shaped by history and experience that’s quite different from that of their white Evangelical brothers and sisters? And while that history is complex, it does clearly teach the deadly consequences of hate and the dangers of white populism.

When a president declares that there were “very fine people in a collection of tiki-torch-toting white supremacists, shouldn’t Christians of all colors be gravely concerned? Shouldn’t they be alarmed when the CEO of the president’s campaign and his chief strategist declared just before his ascension to the president’s team that he wanted his publication (Breitbart) to be the “platform” for the racist alt-right? And when a president issues a stream of misinformation about a mortal threat to public health (with one eye on the stock market), is there not cause for accountability?

I could go on and on, but there are Christians in this country – mostly from communities who’ve suffered in the recent past at the hands of malignant government power—who look at Trump and do not see a man who’s concerned for their welfare. What is the white Evangelical obligation to listen to them? To hear their concerns?

The response can’t be the checklist. And when vulnerable Americans suffer mightily from the health and economic consequences of a global pandemic the president minimized, the response can’t be the checklist. White Evangelical leaders owe us a serious argument as to why that checklist trumps character and competence in the leader of the free world.

No one should minimize the difficulty of the job of president of the United States. It’s a fact that a number of democracies have struggled even worse than America to respond to the coronavirus (some have done much better), and economic damage will be felt worldwide. China bears immense blame for our national plight.

But President Trump was warned and warned and warned. For day after crucial day he chose to mislead Americans about one of the most significant threats to their well-being—to their “welfare”— in the modern history of the United States. He faced a key test, and he did not rise to the moment. And when he failed, he did real damage that even later course corrections could not entirely fix.

And please Christians, do not run back to arguments about “binary choice.” When I walk into the voting booth (or mail in my ballot), I will see more than two names. I’ll also have a choice to write in a name. I will not have to compromise my convictions to cast a vote for president.

If you do, however, want to revert to the language of “binary choice,” we need to examine the larger context. In January the nation faced a different kind of binary choice. It was, quite simply, “Trump or Pence.” When the president was impeached after he clearly attempted to condition vital military aid to an ally on a demand for a politically motivated investigation of a political opponent and on a demand to investigate a bizarre conspiracy theory, white Evangelicals had a decision to make.

They chose Trump.

They chose Trump when they would have certainly sought to impeach and convict a Democrat under similar facts.

In fact, for four long years, when the choice has been between Trump and even the most momentary break with the president for a single news cycle, the overwhelming majority of white Evangelicals—and their political leaders—have spoken loudly and clearly.

It’s Trump. It’s always Trump.

In the fourth year of Donald Trump’s first term, the deal white Evangelicals have struck is now increasingly clear. Their leaders will get unprecedented Oval Office access. They’ll get a few good religious liberty regulations. They’ll get good judges. Those judges will almost certainly issue rulings that protect religious liberty. They might issue rulings that marginally protect life (though the pro-life battle is fought far more in the culture and in the states than in the courts). Those will be important and good things. They are not the only things.

White Evangelicals will have also squandered any argument that character matters in politicians. That means we’ll have more politicians of low character.

White Evangelicals are squandering any argument that they seek to love their enemies. That means we’ll see more hate from America’s bully pulpit.

White Evangelicals are not only squandering any argument that competence matters, they are working hard to try to force more incompetence on their American community. Trump’s impact on the welfare of the American city is increasingly clear. It’s more division. It’s more hate. It’s more incompetence. And now that terrible combination has yielded a series of dreadful errors in the face of a deadly pandemic.

White Evangelicals, one of the most politically powerful religious movements in the entire world, should not use their power to maintain and ultimately renew the authority of one of the most malignant and incompetent politicians ever to hold national office. They shouldn’t, but they will.

One last thing … 

This has been a rather grim newsletter, but authentic religious discourse requires discussing and debating hard questions, and the answers are not always easy or uplifting. I want to end not with a hymn or worship song, but rather something closer to a lament. It’s from one of my favorite artists, Sara Groves, and it speaks to the uncertainty and difficulty of life in a time of vulnerability and loss.

Marc Andreessen on Big Breakthrough Ideas and Courageous Entrepreneurs

Marc Andreessen, Co-Founder & Partner at Andreessen Horowitz, discusses his philosophy on investing in technical founders and the role of technology in today’s startups. Andreessen also addresses the kind of entrepreneurs and ideas his venture capital firm look for: “Big breakthrough ideas often seem nuts the first time you see them.”

Martin Luther’s “I Have a Dream” was a line from Langston Hughes’s poetry

Ms. Tippett:He talked about how the prophets are always poets, and it’s with poetic language that they rise above the merely political and have something other than merely political impact. He says that the line we all remember of Martin Luther King is actually a line of poetry. “I have a dream” is actually a line of poetry.

Mr. Rampersad:Yes, a line of Langston Hughes’s poetry.

Ms. Tippett:Is it really? It’s a line of Langston Hughes’s poetry? I didn’t know that.

Mr. Rampersad:Well, I think Langston Hughes always believed that, because he had consistently invoked the motif of the dream in his poetry, in his civil rights poetry. So he always felt that Martin Luther King owed him one.

Ms. Tippett:I see.

Mr. Rampersad: Yeah. But that’s another story.



.. Ms. Alexander: Yes, I think of the Dr. Du Bois — that was always how he was referred to in my family. And I think that was very important because he was someone to be respected, that even though African Americans had attained higher education by the time I was a child, I know that I knew he was the first African American to get his PhD from Harvard University, that it was an extraordinary thing to have become educated in the way that he did, so that we ought to give him that title. And later on, I learned, there are a number of African-American elders of a generation for whom only the letters of their names are what we know. “W.E.B.” That was strategic, a way that he could not be called William or Bill, that someone would have to call him “boy” or call him Dr. Du Bois. It forced the issue of his stature. I think that that interested me a great deal. I remember learning that when I was probably a young teenager. I didn’t read The Souls of Black Folk until I was in college. I remember very much reading it for the first time, sophomore year with Professor Michael Cooke in a big survey course on African-American literature. It was a graduate course and, at that time, the only place that Du Bois was taught alongside Booker T. Washington and other greats of the tradition. I remember thinking, “Oh, not only is he a great man, he’s a beautiful writer” — and how that felt like such a gift that these important ideas came forward to us in language that was unforgettable.



Ms. Angelou: As one of the great thinkers. For a black man at that time, to teach and to learn and to study under those circumstances when people were being lynched, what Dr. Du Bois showed is that he had enormous courage. I would encourage young men and women, black and white and Asian and Spanish-speaking and all, to look at Dr. Du Bois and realize that courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can’t be consistently fair or kind or generous or forgiving — any of those — without courage.

Brené Brown

The power of vulnerability: TEDx Houston (2011)

(Jan 2011) Brené Brown studies human connection — our ability to empathize, belong, love. In a poignant, funny talk at TEDxHouston, she shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity. A talk to share.


Listening to shame | Brené Brown (2012)

  • Vulnerability is not weakness. It is our most accurate measure of courage.
  • Vulnerability is the birthplace of
    • innovation,
    • creativity, and
    • change.
Shame: has focus on self.  Guilt is focus on behavior.
  1. Shame has two scripts:
    • You are never good enough.
    • Who do you think you are?
  2. Shame is correlated with:
    • addiction,
    • depression,
    • violence,
    • aggression,
    • bullying,
    • suicide,
    • eating disorders.
  3. Shame is organized by gender:
    • For women is not being able to do it all perfectly while never letting them see you sweat.
    • Shame for men is appearing weak.
  4. Shame is fed by
    • secrecy,
    • silence, and
    • judgement.

The antidote to Shame is Empathy.

Brené Brown: Create True Belonging and Heal the World with Lewis Howes (2017)


Whenever there is not love and belonging there is suffering.


  • Belonging is being part of something bigger than yourself, but belonging is also the courage to stand alone.
  • Belonging never asks us to change who we are.
  • Fitting in can mean betraying yourself if it asks us to change who we are to belong.

Teams and Groups can deliver the illusion of belonging.

If you become so adaptable that the goal of adapting is to make you like me, you betray yourself.

There are two kinds of kids:

  1. Kids who ask for help
  2. Kids who don’t

Lewis: my way was of asking was getting angry, mad, and lashing out, turning fear into rage and ploughing over others

  • In 3rd or 4th grade, Lewis was shamed by getting picked last in a dodgeball game
  • He turned his loss into fuel for athletics, eventually playing football in the NFL.
  • He felt like every loss was an attack on his life because he feared he couldn’t be accepted.
  • Involves: uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure
  • You can’t be a courageous leader if you aren’t willing to be uncomfortable

The ability to opt-out of talking about Charlottesville and having it “not affect her” is the definition of privilege.

  • Charlottesville is about powerlessness

I can’t imagine a way though the next decade that doesn’t involve dealing with pain. (34 min)

James Baldwin: people hold on to their hate so stubbornly because once they let it go their is nothing but pain.

After a difficult breakup while at college, Lewis took out his rage on the football field.

Every social crisis, almost without exception, is about our inability to deal with our pain:

  • Opioids: physicians
  • Medicated, addicted, in debt, obese.

Our inability to deal with pain and vulnerability is what leads to many problems.

The football team that acknowledges its vulnerabilities will be more successful.

Charlottesville comes down to identity, belonging, and power.

  • This is the concept of “power-over”‘s last stand
  • last stands are violent, desperate
  • nostalgic: “It was so much better when people knew their place”

We can’t solve the next issues with national solutions


Vulnerability is not weakness.  It is about the willingness to be seen when you can’t control the outcome.

When you experience shame:
  • Talk to yourself like you talk to someone you love.
  • Talk to someone else: shame can not respond to being spoken

You either own your story or it owns you.

What is Greatness?
  • Greatness is owning your story and loving yourself though that.


Brené Brown Shows You How To “Brave the Wilderness” (2017)

(Warning: There is swearing in this video)


Dehumanization is not a social justice tool (15 min)

Police-Protester Dichotomy: shaming us for not hating the right people.

I’m not going to let my imperfection move me away from the conversation because its too important

I contributed more than I criticized.

There is a difference between holding people accountable and shame.

Shame is not a strategy.  It will hurt them and you.  Shame begets shame.

Holding people accountable is not as much fun as raging against them.

There should be more tools in your tool bag than shame and coddling. (25 min)

Brené Brown | Daring Classrooms | SXSWedu 2017

We need to understand how scarcity affects the way we lead and teach, we have to engage with vulnerability and we need to learn how to recognize and combat shame. What would it mean for our schools and classrooms if we showed up for tough, honest conversations about what it takes to bring our best, most authentic selves to work? These conversations may sound risky and vulnerable, but risk and vulnerability are essential to courageous schools. A daring classroom is a place where both teachers and students commit to choosing courage over comfort, choosing what is right over what is fun, fast or easy and practicing values rather than professing them.

Shame can not survive being spoken because it depends upon you thinking you are alone.

The antidote to share is empathy.

Shame is fed by empathy:

  • Secrecy
  • Silence
  • Judgement

Perspective taking: take the perspective of others

Every time someone talks about hate, substitute the word “pain”.

Listening to shame | Brené Brown

Shame is an unspoken epidemic, the secret behind many forms of broken behavior. Brené Brown, whose earlier talk on vulnerability became a viral hit, explores what can happen when people confront their shame head-on. Her own humor, humanity and vulnerability shine through every word.

  • Vulnerability is not weakness.  It is our most accurate measure of courage.
  • Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change.

Shame is correlated with depression, bullying

Shame for women is doing it all but never let you sweat.

Shame for men is not appearing weak.

Shame is fed by Secrecy, Silence, and Judgement

The antidote to Shame is Empathy