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6 Powerful Quotes From John Wooden That Will Make You Successful

6 Powerful Quotes From John Wooden That Will Make You Successful

6 Powerful Quotes From John Wooden That Will Make You Successful

John Wooden was a college basketball legend, winning the NCAA championship 10 times in 12 years, and 7 times in a row between 1967–73.

He was also a philosopher of life. In his book “Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court”, he distills down what made him so successful, starting with his early years working on an Indiana farm. 

Below you will find 6 of the best quotes from section IV of Wooden, titled: “Success, Achievements, and Competition”.

Apply the wisdom contained in each quote to the championship you are seeking.

#1. What do you believe in?

“Your opinion of yourself begins on the inside with your character. What do you believe in, and are you willing to stand up for it despite what others may think or say?”

Achievement is an inside-out process. John Wooden’s philosophy on living and coaching successfully can be summed up in one word: preparation.

Only you know what your character looks like, and what you’re capable of. Put forth an effort that showcases your character, and stand for what you believe in.


“Without peace of mind, what do you have?”

#2. Fulfill the duties of your role.

“There’s a role that each and every one of us must play. We may aspire to what we consider to be a larger role, or a more important role, but we cannot achieve that until we show we are able to fulfill the role we are assigned.”

One theme John Wooden comes back to frequently is “old-fashioned” thinking. He questions whether it’s real, or if the media has just changed how the majority of people think.

That theme is relevant to this quote because few are willing to delay instant gratification these days. No one wants the lesser role if a better one is in front of them. But that lesser role might be exactly where you need to be for right now.

A title means nothing if you can’t fulfill the duties of the role. What happens once you’re given the big role, and don’t have the skills or experience to deliver?

#3. John Wooden believes the doer makes mistakes.

“The team that makes the most mistakes will probably win.”……. The doer makes mistakes. Coach Lambert taught me that mistakes come from doing, but so does success.”

You are going to mess up along the way. John Wooden was sure of it. But from those mistakes, success can arise.

The person or individual that is most willing to jump in and make mistakes will likely win in the end. Don’t fear failure, fear stagnancy.

John Wooden

“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation. Character is what you really are. Reputation is what people say you are.”

#4. There are no shortcuts.

“If you spend too much time learning the tricks of the trade, you may not learn the trade.”

There is no easy way to achieve any worthwhile goal. When you spend time looking for shortcuts and hacks (a popular practice in the modern world), you risk missing out entirely.

John Wooden would, once again, tell you that it all comes down to preparation. How much have you prepared yourself for the big moment?

#5. No one is an overachiever.

“No one is an overachiever. How can you rise above your level of competency? We’re all underachievers to different degrees.”

John Wooden’s definition of success is this:

“Success is peace of mind that is the direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of.”

There is no comparing to others. There is no scoreboard. Success is a feeling inside of you, and only you know whether you’ve achieved it or not.

No one can overachieve because performing to a certain level meant you were capable all along.

john wooden

#6. What will you do once you get there?

“I believe ability can get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there.”

John Wooden won 7 national championships in a row, a feat that has never been repeated in DI college basketball.

Sitting on the mountaintop sounds ideal. The perks that come with a championship may be nice. But what will you do once you get there? How will you react? Will you let it get the best of you?

“It is best not to drink too deeply from a cup full of fame. It can be very intoxicating, and intoxicated people often do foolish things.”

Keep what’s most important to you at the forefront of your mind. If John Wooden was your coach, he’d tell you the most important thing is your preparation.

What should you be preparing for?