Top 50+ John Wooden Quotes

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John Wooden was born on the 14th October 1910 and passed away on the 4th June 2010, just short of his 100th birthday. Wooden was a basketball player and head coach in the United States of America, spending his career at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He earned the title “Wizard of Westwood” due to he phenomenal coaching success, winning a record seven NCAA titles in a row, as well as 10 in a 12 year period. This eclipses any other team to have played in the top tier of college basketball and includes such records as winning 88 games in a row.

As a player, John Wooden was just as successful, winning the All-American award three times and inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1960 for his playing career, followed by 1973 for his coaching success. He was the first person to achieve this feat and only a handful have done so since.

He is revered to this day for his coaching ability, inspiration to others and this interest has spread out into other industries including leadership training, business and mentorship. That is why his quotes are so sought after and continue to inspire others to this day.

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

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

3. Make each day your masterpiece

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

5. Be true to yourself, help others, make each day your masterpiece, make friendship 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.

6. Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.

7. There are many things that are essential to arriving at true peace of mind, and one of the most important is faith, which cannot be acquired without prayer.

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

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

10. Success is never final, failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts.

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

12. In the end, it’s about the teaching, and what I always loved about coaching was the practices. Not the games, not the tournaments, not the alumni stuff. But teaching the players during practice was what coaching was all about to me.

13. Just try to be the best you can be; never cease trying to be the best you can be. That’s in your power.

14. A coach is someone who can give corrections without causing resentment.

15. The best competition I have is against myself to become better

16. The most important thing in the world is family and love.

17. I had three rules for my players: No profanity. Don’t criticize a teammate. Never be late.

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

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

20. Passion is momentary; love is enduring.

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

22. Friendship is two-sided. It isn’t a friend just because someone’s doing something nice for you. That’s a nice person. There’s friendship when you do for each other. It’s like marriage – it’s two-sided.

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

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

25. My eyesight is not nearly as good. My hearing is probably going away. My memory is slipping too. But I’m still around.

26. There’s as much crookedness as you want to find. There was something Abraham Lincoln said – he’d rather trust and be disappointed than distrust and be miserable all the time. Maybe I trusted too much.

27. Young people need models, not critics.

28. You can lose when you outscore somebody in a game. And you can win when you’re outscored.

29. I am just a common man who is true to his beliefs.

30. 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.

31. I think the teaching profession contributes more to the future of our society than any other single profession.

32. Never mistake activity for achievement.

33. What you are as a person is far more important than what you are as a basketball player.

34. It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.

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

36. Be true to yourself. Make each day a masterpiece. Help others. Drink deeply from good books. Make friendship a fine art. Build a shelter against a rainy day.

37. It isn’t what you do, but how you do it.

38. Don’t let making a living prevent you from making a life.

39. All of life is peaks and valleys. Don’t let the peaks get too high and the valleys too low.

40. Today is the only day. Yesterday is gone.

41. Material possessions, winning scores, and great reputations are meaningless in the eyes of the Lord, because He knows what we really are and that is all that matters.

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

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

44. 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.

45. I’d rather have a lot of talent and a little experience than a lot of experience and a little talent.

46. Well, if you’re true to yourself you’re going to be true to everyone else.

47. Winning takes talent, to repeat takes character.

48. Defense is a definite part of the game, and a great part of defense is learning to play it without fouling.

49. Don’t give up on your dreams, or your dreams will give up on you.

50. If I were a young coach today, I would be extremely careful in selecting assistants.

51. Teaching players during practices was what coaching was all about to me.

52. Discipline yourself, and others won’t need to.

53. If a player’s not doing the things he should, put him on the bench. He’ll come around.

54. The main ingredient of stardom is the rest of the team.

55. Well, your greatest joy definitely comes from doing something for another, especially when it was done with no thought of something in return.

56. We can have no progress without change, whether it be basketball or anything else.

57. When you hurry you’re more apt to make mistakes. But you have to be quick. If you’re not quick you can’t get things done.

58. Somebody asked me – you know, how come it took you so long to win a national championship? And I said, ‘I’m a slow learner; but you notice when I learn something, I have it down pretty good.

59. Ability is a poor man’s wealth.

60. I don’t believe in praying to win.

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