John Wooden on Life and Leadership

I read a truly outstanding and inspiring book this weekend called The Essential Wooden: A Lifetime of Lessons on Leaders and Leadership. As a UCLA grad, this book is near and dear to my heart. John Wooden, named by ESPN as the Greatest Coach of the 20th Century, is arguably one of the most effective leaders of our time. I felt it worth sharing some of his pearls of wisdom (excerpts from the book) with all of you:

  • Success is 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.
  • Failure to act is often the greatest failure of all.
  • It is so easy to quit, to turn back, to give in. Never do so. Try again, and again. Try harder, smarter, but try again.
  • The star of the team is the team, and not one individual
  • If you're not making some mistakes, you're not doing anything - not trying to make things happen
  • Prepare, plan, practice hard, and then execute without thought of failure.
  • Perfection is impossible. Capitalizing on imperfection - mistakes - makes all the difference.
  • Your opinion, if you are respected, will often carry more weight than your advice
  • Saying bad things about others is a bad habit. For all the shortcomings I see in others, I keep in mind that my own failings are many.
  • Listen with your eyes, not just your ears
  • It takes less than one second to say thank you. The rewards last much longer.
  • The more concerned we become over things we can't control, the less we will do to improve those things we can control.
  • The past is for reference, the future for dreamers; The present moment is where you create success.
  • Seek those moments when you can offer a sincere compliment to those who don't get many compliments.

From his father, Joshua Wooden:

  • Be true to yourself.
  • Help others.
  • Make each day your masterpiece.
  • Make friendship a fine art.
  • Never try to be better than somebody else, but never cease trying to be the best you can be. You have control over that. Not the other.

And one final excerpt:

There is a choice you have to make, In everything you do. So keep in mind that in the end, The choice you make, makes you.