27 Quotes by John Wooden to Motivate You to Be Better

John Wooden was arguably known as much for his wisdom off the court as he was for his ability to win championships on it.

 

The legendary UCLA men’s basketball coach and six-time national coach of the year won 10 NCAA championships in 12 years—including an unprecedented seven in a row. He preached simplicity, patience and character building, and his pyramid of success has been used in board rooms and locker rooms alike. He inspired former players, including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Walton, but his inspirational words reached beyond the stands, too, influencing the lives of many more.

As one of the only people inducted into the Hall of Fame as a player and a coach, Wooden’s motivation and mentorship lives on as a testament to his greatness. Find your inspiration from these 27 “Woodenisms”:

1. “Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.”


2. “If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes.”


3. “It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.”


4. “Whatever you do in life, surround yourself with smart people who’ll argue with you.”


5. “Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you capable of becoming.”


6. “Be true to yourself, help others, make each day your masterpiece, make friendships a fine art, drink deeply from good books—especially the Bible, build a shelter against a rainy day, give thanks for your blessings and pray for guidance every day.”


7. “Success is never final, failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts.”


8. “Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.”


9. “The most important thing in the world is family and love.”


10. “Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”


11. “I worry that business leaders are more interested in material gain than they are in having the patience to build up a strong organization, and a strong organization starts with caring for their people.”


12. “Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.”


13. “The worst thing about new books is that they keep us from reading the old ones.”


14. “Never lie, never cheat, never steal.”


15. “You can’t let praise or criticism get to you. It’s a weakness to get caught up in either one.”


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


17. “Young people need models, not critics.”

 


 

18. “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”


19. “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.”


20. “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.”


21. “I think you have to be what you are. Don’t try to be somebody else. You have to be yourself at all times.”


22. “Today is the only day. Yesterday is gone.”


23. “Never mistake activity for achievement.”


24. “Don’t let making a living prevent you from making a life.”


25. “Don’t measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability.”


26. “If you’re true to yourself, you’re going to be true to everyone else.”


27. “You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.”

 

 

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