John Wooden on the Difference Between Winning and Succeeding

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John Wooden (1910 – 2010) is considered to be one of the all-time greatest coaches. Within a 12-year period of time, he own an unmatched 10 men’s college basketball national championships with the UCLA Bruins. During that same time period, he led the Bruins to win 88 straight games.

As an accomplished coach, Wooden’s leadership advice has always been highly regarded:

  • 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 quick, but don’t hurry.
  • Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.
  • Talent is God-given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.
  • Don’t measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability.
  • Success is never final; failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts.

In 2001, Wooden gave at talk on the difference between winning and succeeding. It’s worth a listen because, well, it’s John Wooden.


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