In Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court, Coach Wooden shares timeless wisdom about every aspect of life, his personal philosophy on family, achievement, success, and excellence. Coach John Wooden won 10 NCAA champions in his 12 years reign as the UCLA Bruins, including seven national championships in a row: 1967, 1968, 1969,1970, 1971, 1972, 1973. He is considered one of the most successful National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) coaches.
Lesson from Mum
Each day my mother demonstrated great patience and the ability and eagerness to work very hard without complaint.I learned from her what hard work really means and that it’s part of life. Hard work comes with the territory. She always knew what had to be done, and she did it. Mother provided a model for how to do my job regardless of the particular circumstances.
The Gift of a Lifetime
Dad also gave me something that day that would shape my entire life: my work, my marriage, my goals, my entire philosophy. It was a card on which he had written a few guidelines. I still carry it with me. On one side was this verse by the Reverend Henry Van Dyke:
Four things a man must learn to do If he would make his record true:
- To think without confusion clearly;
- To love his fellow men sincerely;
- To act from honest motives purely;
- To trust in God and Heaven securely.
On the other side of the paper, Dad had written out his creed. At the top of the paper, it said “Seven Things to Do.” It read as follows:
i. Be true to yourself.
2. Help others.
3. Make each day your masterpiece.
4. Drink deeply from good books, especially the Bible.
5. Make friendship a fine art.
6. Build a shelter against a rainy day.
7. Pray for guidance and count and give thanks for your blessings every day.
“You can never acquire happiness without giving of yourself to someone else without the expectation of getting something back.”
Make Each Day Your Masterpiece
Too often, we get distracted by what is outside our control. You can’t do anything about yesterday. The door to the past has been shut, and the key thrown away. You can do nothing about tomorrow. It is yet to come. However, tomorrow is in large part determined by what you do today. So make today a masterpiece. You have control over that.
This rule is even more important in life than basketball. You have to apply yourself each day to become a little better. By applying yourself to the task of becoming a little better each and every day over a period of time, you will become a lot better. Only then will you be able to approach being the best you can be. It begins by trying to make each day count and knowing you can never make up for a lost day.
“Never believe you’re better than anybody else, but remember that you’re just as good as everybody else.”
Be more concerned with your character than your reputation. Character is what you really are. Reputation is what people say you are. Reputation is often based on character-but, not always. Character is how you react to things-sensibly, without getting carried away by yourself or your circumstances. A person of character is trustworthy and honest, and for a dollar, he or she will give you a dollar. The other kind of person looks for the easy way out.
Always Be Learning
Always be learning, acquiring knowledge, and seeking wisdom with a sense that you are immortal and that you will need much knowledge and wisdom for that long journey ahead. Know that when you are through learning, you are through.
Six Ways to Bring Out the Best in People
i. Keep courtesy and consideration for others foremost in your mind, at home and away.
2. Try to have fun without trying to be funny.
3. While you can’t control what happens to you, you can control how you react. Make good manners an automatic reaction.
4. Seek individual opportunities to offer a genuine compliment.
5. Remember that sincerity, optimism, and enthusiasm are more welcome than sarcasm, pessimism, and laziness.6. Laugh with others, never at them.
6. Laugh with others, never at them.
The Infection of Success
You become infected with success when you think that your past is going to have an impact on your future. Oh, it might have an effect on the opposition in that your success may affect their thinking. Fine, but do not let it affect what you do. Learn from the past, don’t live in the past. The infection of success can lead you to live in the past, to believe that what happened before is automatically going to happen again. When that occurs you have been infected by success.
The only pressure that amounts to a hill of beans is the pressure you put on yourself. If you’re trying to live up to expectations put on you by the media, parents, fans, your employer, or whatever else there may be, it’s going to affect you adversely because it brings on worry and anxiety. I think that is the tendency of people who choke under pressure. They’re thinking about living up to the expectations of everybody else instead of just doing their job the best they can.
All the best in your quest to get better. Don’t Settle: Live with Passion.