When UCLA basketball coach John Wooden passed away in 2010, I always knew he was an incredible coach, and an even greater human being. But I never knew how great or how wise a man he was until I started reading some of his wise words he would instill on his players, and in his books.
He said things so simply - yet so profoundly. His words should inspire - and aspire - us all - for they truly are reflective of our “Angel Attitude.”
Here are some of them:
“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.”
“Consider the rights of others before your own feelings, and the feelings of others before your own rights.”
“Don't 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."
"Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be."
"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."
"It's not so important who starts the game but who finishes it."
"It's the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen."
"It's what you learn after you know it all that counts."
"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."
“Never mistake activity for achievement.”
“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.”
“Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming.”
“Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.”
“The main ingredient of stardom is the rest of the team.”
“The worst thing about new books is that they keep us from reading the old ones.”
“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.”
“Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.”
“A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment.”
“Ability is a poor man's wealth.”
“Adversity is the state in which man mostly easily becomes acquainted with himself, being especially free of admirers then.”
“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.”
“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.
"For an athlete to function properly, he must be intent. There has to be a definite purpose and goal if you are to progress. If you are not intent about what you are doing, you aren't able to resist the temptation to do something else that might be more fun at the moment."
"I always tried to make clear that basketball is not the ultimate. It is of small importance in comparison to the total life we live. There is only one kind of life that truly wins, and that is the one that places faith in the hands of the Savior. Until that is done, we are on an aimless course that runs in circles and goes nowhere."
"The most important key to achieving great success is to decide upon your goal and launch, get started, take action, move."
"It is most difficult, in my mind, to separate any success, whether it be in your profession, your family, or as in my case, in basketball, from religion."
"Our land is everything to us... I will tell you one of the things we remember on our land. We remember that our grandfathers paid for it - with their lives."
"Although I wanted my players to work to win, I tried to convince them they had always won when they had done their best."
"Young people need models, not critics."
"You cannot attain and maintain physical condition unless you are morally and mentally conditioned. And it is impossible to be in moral condition unless you are spiritually conditioned. I always told my players that our team condition depended on two factors: how hard they worked on the floor during practice and how well they behaved between practices."
"Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there."
"Sports do not build character. They reveal it."
"It is amazing how much can be accomplished if no one cares who gets the credit."
“Discipline yourself and others won't need to.”
“The best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.”
"Players with fight never lose a game, they just run out of time"
"Be quick, but don't hurry."
"Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do."
"Never make excuses. Your friends don't need them and your foes won't believe them."
"The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching."
"Listen if you want to be heard.”
"Tell the truth. That way you don't have to remember a story."
“Happiness begins where selfishness ends."
"Don't let making a living prevent you from making a life."
"Being average means you are as close to the bottom as you are to the top."
"Don't let yesterday take up too much of today."
"There is nothing stronger than gentleness."
“Although there is no progress without change, not all change is progress.
"Failing to plan is planning to fail.”
“If I were ever prosecuted for my religion, I truly hope there would be enough evidence to convict me.”
"If we magnified blessings as much as we magnify disappointments, we would all be much happier."
"We are many, but are we much?"
"Make each day your masterpiece."
"Five years from now, you're the same person except for the people you've met and the books you've read."
"Never try to be better than someone else. Learn from others, and try to be the best you can be. Success is the by-product of that preparation."
"Remember this your lifetime through:
Tomorrow there will be more to do.
And failure waits for all who stay
With some success made yesterday.
Tomorrow you must try once more,
And even harder than before."
Amazing, amazing, amazing.
Thank you, Coach, for the incredible words to live by. God bless you.