Coaching by John Wooden: To Βe or not to Βe


Success is the ultimate goal of most people in life, but for most of us there’s no easy way to measure it and definitely no easy way to reach it. Besides, many of us still make the mistake of confusing winning with succeding. Specially in the sports world.

John Wooden, presumably the greatest coach in sports history, is mostly known not for his brilliant win-loss record but for the guidance he provided to so many athletes and coaches in sports and life.

Wooden’s definition of success – “Peace of mind attained only through self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do the best of which you’re capable” – best illustrates his philosophy of focusing only what you can control: your effort, your attitude and your actions.

“Don’t whine. Don’t complain. Don’t make excuses.”

Those are the 3 simple rules Wooden’s father taught him. They can be used in every event of your life. Learn to follow them and, for sure, you’ll become the better version of yourself.

According to Coach Wooden, to be and to do your best, that is all you must strive for. Everything else, game results included, it’s a by-product that may or may not go your way: “Never mention winning. My idea is that you can lose when you outscore somebody in a game, and you can win when you’re outscored.”

Sometimes you’ll lose and many times you’ll fail or make a mistake. But failure is not fatal. It’s part of the journey because only a doer makes mistakes. That’s how you learn, by doing. Everybody makes mistakes. It’s what you do with them that counts. Failing, owning your mistakes and improving by learning from them is all part of a successful journey.

The final destination should be the by-product of the journey and never the measure of success.

If you want to find your own path to success, start by being true to yourself. Then, just like Wooden did with his father, surround yourself with the best and choose to learn from them. Don’t take my word for it, take it from Wooden himself: “Whatever you do in life, surround yourself with smart people who’ll argue with you”.

Summing it all up, forget the scoreboard. Give it your best and trust yourself. “Make each day your masterpiece”. Help others. Learn from them. Develop great habits and avoid excuses at all costs. It’s actually quite simple, isn’t it?

That begs another question:

to be or not to be (your best)?

Answer it. Each and and every single day. The results will surely follow.