Own My Growth

Helping folks with practical tips to manage themselves better

Life Lessons From Coach Wooden

Without really planning for it, in the last couple of days, I have quoted John Wooden in my blogs.Who are you on the inside. focus on the process Coach Wooden, as he was popularly known, has been and continues to be one of my heroes in my journey of personal growth.

Under his stewardship as the coach, the UCLA College Basketball team had a run of 10 NCAA championships in 12 seasons and an 88-game winning streak between the years 1965-1977— 2 records that stand to this day. 

John Wooden is considered one of the GOATS(Greatest of all Time) in the history of American sports. He lived a full life and passed away a few months shy of his 100th birthday in 2010.

John Wooden’s philosophy of coaching was encapsulated in the “Pyramid of success,” a framework he created of 15 character traits for individual and team excellence. What makes Coach Wooden extraordinary is that his philosophy goes beyond the sporting arena in its impact and appeal. His core wisdom was about excelling in life by following the right moral, ethical codes of living a life of integrity, and giving one’s best.

Coach Wooden enjoyed winning, but he did not put winning above everything. He was careful not to overemphasize the virtue of success to his players. His consistent guidance to his team was this- “Don’t get distracted by success. If you maximize your potential and give your best, then you have succeeded”. That was his definition of success. For him winning was just a process- The hour to hour, day to day practice, and itty bitty improvements one makes every day to a point where the compounded impact is “winning.”

As a tribute, I have pulled out 12 of his extraordinary “Woodenisms.” I initially thought of 10, but I could not fit all my favorite ones in a list of 10. So here goes with my list of 12.

  1. Success is a peace of mind, which is a direct result of the self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best you are capable of becoming.
  2. Never mistake activity for achievement.
  3. Adversity is the state in which man mostly easily becomes acquainted with himself, being especially free of admirers then.
  4. Don’t measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability.
  5. You can’t let praise or criticism get to you. It’s a weakness to get caught up in either one.
  6. Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.
  7. Success is never final; failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts.
  8. If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes.
  9. Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.
  10. Ability is a poor man’s wealth.
  11. Talent is God-given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.
  12. Winning takes talent; to repeat takes character.

Source for the 12 quotes: CoachWooden.com

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