Basketball great John Wooden on leadership

Posted by Allan Steinmetz on 24 March 2015

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John Wooden was an American basketball player and coach. Nicknamed the "Wizard of Westwood," as head coach at UCLA he won ten NCAA national championships in a 12-year period, including an unprecedented seven in a row. An old colleague/friend of mine Ralph Cutcher sent me an email reminiscing about the March Madness season. It got him thinking about John Wooden, who was a favorite leader of his when he was one of the most winningest coaches for UCLA. Wooden was famous for his quotes. Ralph’s favorite,  "Things turn out best for those who make the best of how things turn out", says it all. It's a great “attitude adjuster”. Ralph went on to list a series of quotes that are attributed to John wooden which I found to be quite fascinating. I asked if it would be okay for me to share them on our blog for inspiration and contemplation and he agreed. So here they are:

Below are a number of other memorable John Wooden quotes:

"Never mistake activity for achievement."

"When opportunity comes, it is too late to prepare."

"Adversity is the state in which man most easily becomes acquainted with himself, being especially free of admirers then."

"Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are."

"Be prepared and be honest."

"You can't let praise or criticism get to you. It's a weakness to get caught up in either one."

"You can't live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you."

"What you are as a person is far more important that what you are as a basketball player."

"Winning takes talent, to repeat takes character."

"A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment."

"I'd rather have a lot of talent and a little experience than a lot of experience and a little talent."

"If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?"

"If you're not making mistakes, then you're not doing anything. I'm positive that a doer makes mistakes."

"It isn't what you do, but how you do it."

"Ability is a poor man's wealth."

"Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be."

"Consider the rights of others before your own feelings, and the feelings of others before your own rights."

"Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do."

"Don't measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability."

"It's not so important who starts the game but who finishes it."

"It's what you learn after you know it all that counts."

"It's the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen."

"Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful."

"Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming."

"Success is never final, failure is never fatal. It's courage that counts."

Thank you John Wooden for your wisdom, creativity and leadership.