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100 Unforgettable John Wooden Quotes

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John Wooden Quotes

John Wooden was an American basketball player and coach. He was the head coach at UCLA and won 10 NCAA National Championships in a 12 year period, including an unprecedented 7 in a row.

Wooden was named the national coach of the year 6 times. Wooden was also the first person ever enshrined as a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player and as a coach.

John Wooden was regarded as one of the wisest and best college coaches in the history of college basketball.

John has had some memorable motivational quotes over the years.

Here are 100 unforgettable John Wooden quotes:

1. “Whatever you do in life, surround yourself with smart people who’ll argue with you.” – John Wooden

2. “Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.” – John Wooden

3. “Make each day your masterpiece“ – John Wooden

4. “If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes.” – John Wooden

5. “Be true to yourself, help others, make each day your masterpiece, make friendship a fine art, drink deeply from good books – especially the Bible, build a shelter against a rainy day, give thanks for your blessings and pray for guidance every day.” – John Wooden

6. “Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.” – John Wooden

7. “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.” – John Wooden

8. “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?” – John Wooden

9. “Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.” – John Wooden

10. “Success is never final, failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts.” – John Wooden

11. “Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best of which you are capable.” – John Wooden

12. “In the end, it’s about the teaching, and what I always loved about coaching was the practices. Not the games, not the tournaments, not the alumni stuff. But teaching the players during practice was what coaching was all about to me.” – John Wooden

13. “Just try to be the best you can be; never cease trying to be the best you can be. That’s in your power.” – John Wooden

14. “A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment.” – John Wooden

15. “The best competition I have is against myself to become better. – John Wooden

16. “The most important thing in the world is family and love.” – John Wooden

17. “I had three rules for my players: No profanity. Don’t criticize a teammate. Never be late.” – John Wooden

18. “Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.” – John Wooden

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

20th John Wooden Quote – “Passion is momentary; love is enduring.” – John Wooden

21. “You can’t let praise or criticism get to you. It’s a weakness to get caught up in either one.” – John Wooden

22. “Friendship is two-sided. It isn’t a friend just because someone’s doing something nice for you. That’s a nice person. There’s friendship when you do for each other. It’s like marriage – it’s two-sided.” – John Wooden

23. “Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” – John Wooden

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

25. “My eyesight is not nearly as good. My hearing is probably going away. My memory is slipping too. But I’m still around.” – John Wooden

26. “There’s as much crookedness as you want to find. There was something Abraham Lincoln said – he’d rather trust and be disappointed than distrust and be miserable all the time. Maybe I trusted too much.” – John Wooden

27. “Young people need models, not critics.” – John Wooden

28. “You can lose when you outscore somebody in a game. And you can win when you’re outscored.” – John Wooden

29. “I am just a common man who is true to his beliefs.” – John Wooden

30. “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.” – John Wooden

31. “I think the teaching profession contributes more to the future of our society than any other single profession.” – John Wooden

32. “Never mistake activity for achievement.” – John Wooden

33. “What you are as a person is far more important than what you are as a basketball player.” – John Wooden

34. “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.”– John Wooden

35. “I think you have to be what you are. Don’t try to be somebody else. You have to be yourself at all times.” – John Wooden

36. “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.” – John Wooden

37. “It isn’t what you do, but how you do it.” – John Wooden

38. “Don’t let making a living prevent you from making a life.” – John Wooden

39. “All of life is peaks and valleys. Don’t let the peaks get too high and the valleys too low.” – John Wooden

40th John Wooden Quote – “Today is the only day. Yesterday is gone.” – John Wooden

41. “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.” – John Wooden

42. “Consider the rights of others before your own feelings, and the feelings of others before your own rights.” – John Wooden

43. “Don’t measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability.” – John Wooden

 

John Wooden Quotes
 

44. “I worry that business leaders are more interested in material gain than they are in having the patience to build up a strong organization, and a strong organization starts with caring for their people.”  John Wooden

45. “I’d rather have a lot of talent and a little experience than a lot of experience and a little talent.” – John Wooden

46. “Well, if you’re true to yourself you’re going to be true to everyone else.” – John Wooden

47. “Winning takes talent, to repeat takes character.” – John Wooden

48. “Defense is a definite part of the game, and a great part of defense is learning to play it without fouling.” – John Wooden

49. “Don’t give up on your dreams, or your dreams will give up on you.” – John Wooden

50. “If I were a young coach today, I would be extremely careful in selecting assistants.” – John Wooden

 

Checkout this collection of the 50 Worlds Best Inspirational Quotes 

 

50. “Teaching players during practices was what coaching was all about to me.” – John Wooden

52. “Discipline yourself, and others won’t need to.” – John Wooden

53. “If a player’s not doing the things he should, put him on the bench. He’ll come around.” – John Wooden

54. “The main ingredient of stardom is the rest of the team.” – John Wooden

55. “Well, your greatest joy definitely comes from doing something for another, especially when it was done with no thought of something in return.” – John Wooden

56. “We can have no progress without change, whether it be basketball or anything else.” – John Wooden

57. “When you hurry you’re more apt to make mistakes. But you have to be quick. If you’re not quick you can’t get things done.” – John Wooden

58. “Somebody asked me – you know, how come it took you so long to win a national championship? And I said, ‘I’m a slow learner; but you notice when I learn something, I have it down pretty good.’” – John Wooden

59. “Ability is a poor man’s wealth.” – John Wooden

60. “I don’t believe in praying to win.” – John Wooden

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

62. “Just do the best you can. No one can do more than that.” – John Wooden

63. “It’s not so important who starts the game but who finishes it.” – John Wooden

64. “I think that in any group activity – whether it be business, sports, or family – there has to be leadership or it won’t be successful.” – John Wooden

65. “I’m not going to say I was opposed to the Vietnam War. I’m going to say I’m opposed to war. But I’m also opposed to protests that deny other people their rights.” – John Wooden

66. “Be prepared and be honest.” – John Wooden

67. “If I am through learning, I am through.” – John Wooden

68. “Love is the most important thing in the world. Hate, we should remove from the dictionary.” – John Wooden

69. “Earn the right to be proud and confident.” – John Wooden

70. “I think permitting the game to become too physical takes away a little bit of the beauty.” – John Wooden

 

john wooden quotes
 

71. “I don’t think I was a fine game coach. I’m trying to be honest. I think I was a good practice coach.” – John Wooden

72. “I don’t believe in fate.” – John Wooden

73. “You can do more good by being good than any other way.” – John Wooden

74. “If there’s anything you could point out where I was a little different, it was the fact that I never mentioned winning.” – John Wooden

75. “I’m no wizard, and I don’t like being thought of in that light at all. I think of a wizard as being some sort of magician or something, doing something on the sly or something, and I don’t want to be thought of in that way.” – John Wooden

76. “No one can really honestly be the very best, no one.” – John Wooden

77. “Never lie, never cheat, never steal.” – John Wooden

78. “I talked to the players and tried to make them aware of what was good and bad, but I didn’t try to run their lives.” – John Wooden

79. “I like to spend time in the past, with the things that have been important to me.” – John Wooden

80th John Wooden Quote -“I was built up from my dad more than anyone else.” – John Wooden

81. “It takes time to create excellence. If it could be done quickly, more people would do it.” – John Wooden

82. “The best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” ― John Wooden

83. “Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.” ― John Wooden

84. “Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there.” ― John Wooden

85. “Never make excuses. Your friends don’t need them and your foes won’t believe them.” ― John Wooden

86. “Seek opportunities to show you care. The smallest gestures often make the biggest difference.” ― John Wooden

87. “It is amazing how much can be accomplished if no one cares who gets the credit.” ― John Wooden

88. “Don’t let yesterday take up too much of today.” ― John Wooden

89. “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” ― John Wooden

90. “It is the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.” – John Wooden

91. “Happiness begins where selfishness ends.” ― John Wooden

92. “Players with fight never lose a game, they just run out of time” ― John Wooden

93. “Listen if you want to be heard” ― John Wooden

94. “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.” ― John Wooden

95. “Nothing will work unless you do.” – John Wooden

96. “Being a role model is the most powerful form of educating…too often fathers neglect it because they get so caught up in making a living they forget to make a life.” ― John Wooden

97. “Tell the truth. That way you don’t have to remember a story.”  John Wooden

98. “If we magnified blessings as much as we magnify disappointments, we would all be much happier.”  John Wooden

99. “You are not a failure until you start blaming others for your mistakes”  John Wooden

100. “Although there is no progress without change, not all change is progress.” – John Wooden

Which John Wooden quote is your favorite and why? Share in the comment section below!

Yale Middleton is a Revenue Specialist for Hilton Worldwide. He is passionate about personal development, leadership, and entrepreneurship. Yale also works as a team member for the top self development website Addicted2Success. You can also follow him on his Facebook.

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Craig Rice

    Dec 21, 2018 at 2:10 am

    99. “You are not a failure until you start blaming others for your mistakes” This has been a tremendous help for me in my life.

  2. Crizzal Gaid

    May 30, 2018 at 7:05 pm

    Number 89 “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.”
    It is indeed right. Just because you have the skills, it doesn’t mean you can win every game without preparing yourself mentally and physically.

  3. Maureen

    May 29, 2018 at 6:21 pm

    (11) Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best of which you are capable.

    i have witnessed the truth of this quote in my life, mostly in my studies. In university, i read as hard as i could giving my all, but even if i failed sometimes,i didn’t feel as bad because i knew i did my best.

  4. Keith Logan

    Mar 17, 2018 at 8:44 pm

    #71. “I don’t think I was a fine game coach. I’m trying to be honest. I think I was a good practice coach.”

    I was a student at UCLA in the last half of the sixties. I sat in on a Bruin practice one day and it was the most boring thing I had ever seen. The players simply had to repeat what appeared to be very mundane exercises again and again. Nevertheless the results were remarkable. When Sidney Wicks came to the team from Santa Monica City College he was incredibly undisciplined. At the end of his time with Wooden, he was a portrait of discipline. It was a remarkable changeover. That mostly happened on the practice court, which few people ever saw (or would have wished to, for that matter).

    Remarkable indeed

  5. John F Shaughnessy

    Sep 3, 2017 at 6:33 pm

    # 38 – You need to be careful – “I” was almost a statistic! Always live & learn – daily!

  6. Tab

    Mar 12, 2017 at 10:37 pm

    #82: The best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother. As in most every area of life, Coach Wooden was very wise. He understood the needs of children. They need to be nurtured as they grow; the art of nurturing belongs to the mom. Fathers need to model how to live, and provide well for their families, which includes creating a home in which the atmosphere is full of safety, confidence, and love. How does the father do that? Love his wife, freeing her to devote her nurturing skills to their children. It’s time-tested; it works; Coach Wooden understood it all.

  7. Dale Stegeman

    Oct 20, 2016 at 5:08 pm

    #55, because it’s in a letter he wrote me . I wrote him saying how much I admired him and tried to model myself after him while playing. I knew nothingabout the pyramid of success. I got it by watching UCLA games at 10:30 on Saturday nites. I had small college offers but took anacademic ride and then med school . Coach was with me through thick and thin. He was one of a kind.

  8. Paul Marrujo

    Jul 31, 2016 at 8:36 pm

    There are so many, the one I’m currently thinking of is “Fatigue makes cowards of us all”

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The original “Queen of Comedy” Lucille “Lucy” Ball, continues to be an icon of fiery sass and humor for every generation. Her timeless comedic talent still sets the standard for those desiring to follow in her celebrated entertainment footsteps.

Here are six inspiring quotes from her that will motivate you to stand out from the crowd and never give up on your dreams:

1. “One of the things I learned the hard way, was that it doesn’t pay to get discouraged. Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore your faith in yourself.”

In business and our personal lives, we are bombarded daily by outward criticism and inward self-doubt. In order to realise the success we strive for and attain the goals we hope to achieve, it’s important to practice a strong positive outlook.

Although Ball was known for being an inherently shy girl, when she was 15 years old, she convinced her mom to allow her to attend New York Drama School. The administrator of the school, unable to see the talent hidden behind the shyness, wrote to her mother telling her not to “waste her money and the school’s time with this shy, awkward young lady.”

Refusing to be deterred by the shortsighted criticism, Ball dug in her heels, overcame her shyness, and went on to become the talented comedic actress and icon we know and love today. Just imagine how unfortunate it would have been if she had taken the negative criticism to heart and decided to give up her passion.

2. “Luck? I don’t know anything about luck. I’ve never banked on it and I’m afraid of people who do. Luck to me is something else: Hard work—and realising what is opportunity and what isn’t.”

Today, we are very much conditioned to expect instant gratification in all areas of life. It’s important to remember, however, that true personal and professional success is achieved through tenacity and hard work. Very seldom does “luck” play a substantial role in building a solid and promising future.

Few people may realise that beyond the laughter and crazy shenanigans that Ball is so well known for, she was a trailblazing businesswoman who mapped out her professional path and keenly took advantage of opportunities that came her way.

Behind the scenes, she was co-creator, owner, and partner of Desilu Productions with her husband, Desi Arnaz. I Love Lucy was the first real sitcom developed by a husband and wife team, and under Desilu Studios, the show pioneered the multi-camera shot and filmed in front of a live audience—something no one else was doing at the time.

Being a female owner of a film production company in the 1960s was unprecedented. But, Ball didn’t stop there. Instead, she would eventually buy out Desi and become the first female CEO of a major television and movie production company. Her hard work and perseverance created a legacy to last for generations.

3. “I’d rather regret the things I have done than the things that I haven’t.”

Regrets are a fact of life both personally and professionally. However, most of us would probably admit that we learned some valuable things about ourselves from past mistakes and mishaps. Most would agree that our biggest regrets are related to the opportunities and experiences that we didn’t seize when we had the chance.

Ball’s career in the entertainment world was full of various ups and downs that included many B movies and lackluster performances. However, she continued to forge ahead learning from each and every experience. She was forty years old when she finally hit her stride and began her journey with I Love Lucy. Ball didn’t let the fact that Hollywood considered her to be “old” to stop her from fulfilling her dreams.

Instead of letting the long road of disappointments and closed doors discourage her, Ball refused to give up and found a way to create her own destiny and achieve the success that she had worked so hard for.

4. “I dyed my hair this crazy red to bid for attention. It has become a trademark, and I’ve got to keep it this way.”

We live in a culture where most of us just want to fit in. There is a pressure to conform to a set of expectations in both our professional and personal lives. However, it’s often when we take a risk to set ourselves apart, that doors of opportunities and experiences open for us.

For example, Ball’s natural hair colour was a light to medium brown with reddish tones. Early in her career, she bleached it blonde in hopes of being able to compete with the plethora of bombshell blondes of the era. She eventually realised, however, she needed to stand out, not blend in!

In a past interview, Ball is quoted stating, “Not being a beauty, I hated any part in a picture which depended on beauty. I resented work where looks were that important. There are so many glamour girls that I felt it was silly for me to try to compete with them.”

Dyeing her natural brown hair the colour red was one of the greatest risks Ball took early in her career, but it became one of the late comedian’s most beautiful physical features that helped her stand out and succeed in Hollywood. She shared, “I had to learn to concentrate on developing my personality—to have an individual approach. The way you feel about yourself has a lot to do with the impression you make.”

5. “The more things you do, the more you can do.”

We should never stop striving to learn new skills and grow in knowledge. Taking the steps to constantly evolve in our understanding of our professional and personal life—as well as the world around us—helps build a firm foundation for our present and future.

Ball was a true pioneer for the women of her time. She was not afraid to tackle new things or learn more about the production and business side of her career even though she was encroaching on a man’s world at the time. She knew that any knowledge she gained about the entertainment business would help ensure her future success.

For example, behind the scenes, Ball was an integral part of the business operations of Desilu Productions. She was one of the final voices in all decisions made regarding the show and the production company. And it didn’t stop there. In front of the camera, she portrayed a determined woman diligently trying to work outside of the home in various careers while still tackling the responsibilities of being a housewife and a mother. To put it simply, she just wasn’t scared to try something new.

It’s important to not let fear of failure, or the unknown, deter us from taking chances to break the mould and step out of our comfort zone. The possibilities for growth, success, and achievement are endless.

6. “Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.”

It’s quite profound how much we can learn from the fortitude and spunk exuded from Lucille Ball, the “Queen of Comedy.” As we’ve seen through these quotes, Ball refused to let others dictate who she would become or what she would achieve. Instead, she had a firm grasp on her own self-worth and was determined to forge ahead to fulfill her dreams.

She demonstrated that self-confidence and inner strength are vital to professional and personal success—a lesson that we would all be wise to remember.

Which one of the above Lucille Ball quotes was your favorite and why? Share your thoughts with us below!

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