Lessons from a Legend

I’m not a big basketball fan, but my dad taught me to study those who are at the top of their field, no matter whether I’m personally interested in what they do or not.

When I heard that Coach John Wooden died recently at 99, I knew he’d left a legacy of wisdom.  Rich Levin, who worked with Wooden, recalls that every fall, Wooden would pass out a sheet of paper titled the Pyramid of Success. Lessons for life. “We’d make paper airplanes out of them,” Levin joked. He absorbed the coach’s wisdom anyway.

I gratefully share some bits of that wisdom that speak to me:

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

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

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

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

“Never mistake activity for achievement.”

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

John Wooden, his obit tells us, always carried with him a piece of paper with a message from his father that read:

“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.”

I can just picture him in heaven shooting the breeze with my dad.  Two lives well lived.

Explore posts in the same categories: Attitude, Coaching, Leadership

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