"Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of
self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that
you are capable of becoming."
John Wooden has widely been regarded as the best college basketball
coach in history.
He was the first person ever to be enshrined in The Basketball Hall
of Fame as both a player and a coach and his 10 NCAA championships at
UCLA have never been matched.
The keys to his success
in motivating and inspiring his players
(including Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Bill Walton) are the same
principles that make one's life a success.
His players have said that they don't recall Coach Wooden ever
stressing the importance of winning a game.
For him, it was about sticking to the fundamentals.
On the first day of practice at the beginning of a new season he
would say to his players that he wasn't going to talk to them about
winning or losing because that was a by-product of preparation.
He preferred to focus on the process of having them become the best
team they were capable of becoming.
Even when he taught English in high school he recalled seeing
parents criticize their children for receiving less than an A or
B. He wanted to communicate the message that
success in life isn't just about how much stuff you have or how
powerful you've become; it's about finding peace of mind in knowing
you are the best that you can be.
At the heart of his coaching were the principles of excellent
physical condition, skill and team spirit with preparation being the
To Coach Wooden:
"Failing to prepare
is preparing to fail."
This also holds true for success in living a productive and
meaningful life. You must prepare yourself by acquiring the necessary
life skills and then work to become the best that you can be.
Coach Wooden also emphasized building character rather than
reputation. He felt that you should:
Learn as if you were to live forever; live as if you were to die
Never compare yourself to others.
Success is not trying to be better than someone else
you may never be; instead it's learning from others and striving
to reach your own level of competency.
Only you can determine whether or not you put forth your best
Never permit yourself to become too involved with things you
cannot control since it will adversely affect the things you can
When John Wooden graduated from grade school his father gave him a
piece of paper with a creed written on it which has helped him
throughout the best and most difficult times in his life. He lives by
the seven points of it each and every day - personally,
professionally and spiritually.