High quality version with transcript HERE
John Wooden redefines success:
“I coined my own definition of success
in nineteen hundred and thirty four…:
peace of mind
attained only through self-satisfaction in
knowing you made the effort
to do the best of which you’re capable”
John Wooden on change we can believe in:
“Our tendency is to hope that things will turn out
the way we want them to…,
but we don’t do the things that are necessary
to make those things become a reality.”
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MM-psvqiG8]John Wooden: Coaching for people, not points
With profound simplicity, Coach John Wooden redefines success and urges us all to pursue the best in ourselves. In this inspiring talk he shares the advice he gave his players at UCLA, quotes poetry and remembers his father’s wisdom.
Two selections from the transcript:
I coined my own definition of success in nineteen hundred and thirty four, when I was teaching at a high school in South Bend, Indiana. Being a little bit disappointed, and delusioned perhaps by the way parents of the youngsters in my English classes expected their youngsters to get an A or a B. They thought a C was all right for the neighbors children, because the neighbors children are all average. But they weren’t satisfied when their own — would make the teacher feel that they had failed, or the youngster had failed. And that’s not right. The good lord in his infinite wisdom didn’t create us all equal as far as intelligence is concerned, any more than we’re equal for size, appearance. Not everybody could earn an A or a B, and I didn’t like that way of judging it.
I did know know how the alumni of various schools back in the ’30s judged coaches and athletic teams. If you won them all, you were considered to be reasonably successful. Not completely. Because I found out — we had a number of years at UCLA where we didn’t lose a game. But it seemed that we didn’t win each individual game by the margin that some of our alumni had predicted. And quite frequently I — (Laughter) — quite frequently I really felt that they had backed up their predictions in a more materialistic manner. But that was true back in the ’30s, so I understood that. But I didn’t like it. And I didn’t agree with it. And I wanted to come up with something that I hoped could make me a better teacher, and give the youngsters under my supervision — whether it be in athletics or in the English classroom — something to which to aspire, other than just a higher mark in the classroom, or more points in some athletic contest.
I thought about that for quite a spell, and I wanted to come up with my own definition. I thought that might help. And I knew how Mr. Webster defined it: as the accumulation of material possessions or the attainment of a position of power or prestige, or something of that sort. Worthy accomplishments perhaps, but in my opinion not necessarily indicative of success. So I wanted to come up with something of my own.
I recalled, I was raised on a small farm in Southern Indiana. And Dad tried to teach me and my brothers that you should never try to be better than someone else. I’m sure at the time he did that, I didn’t — it didn’t — well, somewhere, I guess in the hidden recesses of my mind, it popped out years later. Never try to be better than someone else, always learn from others. Never cease trying to be the best you can be — that’s under your control. If you get too engrossed and involved and concerned in regard to the things over which you have no control, it will adversely affect the things over which you have control. Then I ran across this simple verse that said, “At God’s footstool to confess, a poor soul knelt, and bowed his head. ‘I failed!’ He cried. The Master said, ‘Thou didst thy best, that is success.'”
From those things, and one other perhaps, I coined my own definition of success. Which is: peace of mind attained only through self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do the best of which you’re capable. I believe that’s true. If you make the effort to to the best of which you’re capable, try and improve the situation that exists for you, I think that’s success. And I don’t think others can judge that. I think it’s like character and reputation. Your reputation is what you are perceived to be; your character is what you really are. And I think that character is much more important than what you are perceived to be. You’d hope they’d both be good. But they won’t necessarily be the same. Well, that was my idea that I was going to try to get across to the youngsters.
I say to you, in whatever you’re doing, you must be patient . You have to have patience to — we want things to happen. We talk about our youth being impatient a lot. And they are. They want to change everything. They think all change is progress. And we get a little older — we sort of let things go. And we forget there is no progress without change. So you must have patience. And I believe that we must have faith. I believe that we must believe, truly believe. Not just give it word service; believe that things will work out as they should, providing we do what we should. I think our tendency is to hope that things will turn out the way we want them to , much of the time. But we don’t do the things that are necessary to make those things become reality.