John Wooden Quotes on Life, Leadership and Success

If you’re looking for some inspiration, look no further than John Wooden Quotes. This blog post is packed with wisdom from one of the most successful coaches in history. Whether you’re looking for tips on how to be a better leader or how to be more successful in life, you’ll find what you’re looking for here.

john wooden success quote

John Wooden, one of the greatest basketball coaches of all time, passed away on June 4, 2010, at the age of 99. He was known for his innovative coaching techniques, his passion for the game, and his ability to motivate his players.

He led the UCLA Bruins to ten national championships and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1973.

John Wooden was born in 1910 in Indiana. He grew up in a small town and was a three-sport athlete in high school. After high school, he attended Purdue University where he played basketball. 

Wooden started his coaching career at Indiana State University. In 1962, he was named the head coach of UCLA. At UCLA, Wooden won ten NCAA championships in 12 years. After retiring from coaching, Wooden remained involved in the UCLA athletic program.

Despite his accomplishments as a coach, Wooden is best known for his Pyramid of Success. The Pyramid of Success is a philosophy of coaching that Wooden developed. The pyramid has five levels:

Wooden’s philosophy is based on the idea that success is not a one-time event, but rather a journey that requires hard work and dedication. Wooden’s legacy is based on his success as a coach, but also on his philosophy of coaching.

75 John Wooden Quotes

  1. “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.”

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

3. “Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there.”

4. “Don’t mistake activity with achievement.”

5. “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.”

6. “The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.”

7. “Never make excuses. Your friends don’t need them and your foes won’t believe them.”

8. “Don’t let yesterday take up too much of today.”

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

10. “The best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.”

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

12. “Listen if you want to be heard”

13. “Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do. ”

john wooden quotes

John Wooden Success Quotes

14. “Success is peace of mind in knowing you did your best.”

15. “Remember, results aren’t the criteria for success — it’s the effort made for achievement that is most important.”

16. “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.”

17. “Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”

18. “Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”

19. “Succeeding is performing at your best when your best is required”

20. “The man who is afraid to risk failure seldom has to face success.”

21. “It is amazing how much can be accomplished if no one cares who gets the credit.”

22. “Make each day your masterpiece.”

23. “Five years from now, you’re the same person except for the people you’ve met and the books you’ve read.”

24. “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.”

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

26. “It isn’t about what you do, but how you do it”

Famous John Wooden Quotes

Famous John Wooden Quotes

27. “Things turn out best for those who make best of how things turn out.”

28. “A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment.”

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

30. “The importance of repetition until automaticity cannot be overstated. Repetition is the key to learning.”

31. “When opportunity comes, it’s too late to prepare.”

32. “Although there is no progress without change, not all change is progress.”

33. “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.”

34. “Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.”

35. ‎”Consider the rights of others before your own feelings, and the feelings of others before your own rights.”

36. “Discipline yourself and others won’t need to.”

37. “A good coach can change a game. A great coach can change a life.”

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

coach wooden success quote

John Wooden Motivational Quotes

39. “It’s always about focusing not on the mistakes but on the lessons learned from them.”

40. “Seek opportunities to show you care. The smallest gestures often make the biggest difference.”

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

42. “If I am through learning, I am through.” 

43. “Never mistake activity for achievement.”

44. “Little things make the big things happen”

45. “Ability is a poor man’s wealth.” 

46. “Don’t let making a living prevent you from making a life.”

47. “The problem with new is you don’t have time for the old ones.”

48. “Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.”

49. “Measure yourself by…what you have accomplished with your ability”

50. “It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.”

51. “The goal in life is just the same as in basketball: make the effort to do the best you are capable of doing”

52. “Happiness begins where selfishness ends.”

53. “Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.”

54. “A strong leader accepts blame and gives the credit. A weak leader gives blame and accepts the credit.”

55. “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.”

56. “To win once you must have talent, but to win again you must have character.”

57. “Players with fight never lose a game, they just run out of time”

58. “Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?”

59. “A mentor must always guide, never push. It was my job to listen to them, offer my perspective, and encourage them to pursue the ideals they believed to be true.”

60. “Be true to yourself. Make each day a masterpiece.”

61. “Next to love, balance is the most important thing.”

62. “Be quick, but don’t hurry.”

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

John Wooden Motivational Quotes

64. “It’s not so important who starts the game but who finishes it.

65. “It is important for us to see that our mentors are human and therefore fallible; it makes our own shortcomings more tenable.”

66. “No one can really honestly be the very best, no one.”

67. “Don’t be afraid to fail. The greatest failure of all is not to act when action is needed.”

68.  “Whatever you do in life, surround yourself with smart people who’ll argue with you.” 

69. “Perfection is what you are striving for, but perfection is an impossibility. However, striving for perfection is not an impossibility. Do the best you can under the conditions that exist. That is what counts.”

70. “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.”

71. “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.”

72. “Don’t give up on your dreams, or your dreams will give up on you.”

73. “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.”

74. “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.”

75. “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.”

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