John Wooden: The Difference Between Winning and Succeeding

John Wooden on Leadership

Winning and succeeding are not the same thing. Coach John Wooden talks about his beliefs and the philosophy that shaped his life. He says:

“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 do the best of which you're capable, trying to improve the situation that exists for you, I think that's success, and I don't think others can judge that; it's like character and reputation — Your reputation is what you're 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.”


I believe starting on time, and I believe closing on time. And another one I had was, not one word of profanity. One word of profanity, and you are out of here for the day. If I see it in a game, you're going to come out and sit on the bench. And the third one was, never criticize a teammate. I didn't want that. I used to tell them I was paid to do that. That's my job. I'm paid to do it. Pitifully poor, but I am paid to do it. Not like the coaches today, for gracious sakes, no. It's a little different than it was in my day. Those were three things that I stuck with pretty closely all the time.

Watch the video of his talk below.

 For a deeper dive on how to create a winning organization, I recommend Wooden on Leadership: How to Create a Winning Organization.


[image of Wooden’s 12 Lessons in Leadership and his acclaimed Pyramid of Success]