John Wooden's principles

Dateline: Fri 04 Jun 2010

The legendary John Wooden is almost better known for his character-building skills than for his expertise on the basketball court as a coach.

Years ago, the Star did a short article about his Pyramid for Success and succintcly mentioned some of his thoughts. Can't find that piece, of course, but here are some thoughts from the always-faithful interwebs:

"First, consistently do your best with the talents given you. Second, concentrate on the basics, because they are appropriate in any situation or season of life. Third, worry more about developing sound character than about building reputation." This is a paraphrase of Wooden's philosophy.

From the man himself:

“Never try to be better than anyone else, but never cease trying to be the best you can be.  You have control over that.  Not the other”


Success is the peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best you are capable of becoming.”


Finally, from his "Twelve Lessons in Leadership" -- these are his "mortar blocks":

  • Ambition
  • Sincerity
  • Adaptability
  • Honesty
  • Resourcefulness
  • Reliability
  • Fight
  • Integrity
  • Patience
  • Faith




hendy [Member] said:

There are two mortar blocks missing (10 in your listing). What are the other two?

2010-06-04 11:43:08

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Perhaps NCAA Championships and Character? Humility? He could opine endlessly on all three.

2010-06-04 15:36:34

ruthholl [Member] said:

I have to go find some mortar blocks.

2010-06-04 19:44:56

ruthholl [Member] said:

Actually, Hendy and TTT --- old friends both --- the website I pulled up listed only those 10 mortar blocks, altho in the book, he talks of 12 lessons. So I would have to buy the book to get at the discrepancy.
You can go on the net and download a very colorful Pyramid of Success graphic, which has a lot of his pithier comments and beliefs..." yourself. Don't be thrown by events whether good or bad"..."Alertness. Constantly be aware and observing."
Then there is a list of the 12 lessons, so I'm gonna lay it on you:
Good values attract good people
Love is the most important four-letter word
Call yourself a teacher
Emotion is your enemy
It takes 10 hands to make a basket
Little things make big things happen
Make each day your masterpiece
The carrot is mightier than the stick
Make greatness attainable by all
Seek significant change
Don't look at the scoreboard
Adversity is your asset.

The guy really is a fountain of practical advice; no wonder so many people look up to him....

2010-06-04 19:58:09

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

We rarely get the honor of knowing someone like Wooden. I worked with him on the Wooden Tradition basketball event. He was as down-to-earth as they come.

Rue McClanahan and John Wooden in the same week. If it comes in threes, I don't count Gary Coleman, because he was, well, a freak.

I can imagine Rue and John playing gin rummy. Blanche knows John did well in life, so she's probably putting the moves on him.

2010-06-05 06:58:28

hendy [Member] said:

This morning, I drove up the Wooden Highway to the airport.

I recalled two things:

1) that he had inspired people that I highly respect and

2) contrasting him with Bobby Knight made my head hurt.

2010-06-05 23:37:58

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