103 Unforgettable John Wooden Quotes - Addicted 2 Success (2023)

John Wooden was an American basketball player and coach.Wooden was the head coach at UCLA and won 10 NCAA National Championships in a 12 year period, including an unprecedented 7 in a row. During his time at UCLA, hewas named the national coach of the year 6 times. John 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.

Wooden is considered one of the revered coaches in sports history not only because of his basketball coaching greatness, but also because of the inspirational messages he’d share with his players about how to be successful in basketball and in life.

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

Here are 103 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

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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 WoodenQuote“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

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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 WoodenQuote“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

103 Unforgettable John Wooden Quotes - Addicted 2 Success (1)

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

51. “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

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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

103 Unforgettable John Wooden Quotes - Addicted 2 Success (2)

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

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80th John WoodenQuote -“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

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101. “Be quick, but don’t hurry.”John Wooden

102. “I’d be satisfied just coaching in high school. I turned down a number of colleges when I was teaching in South Bend, Indiana, before I went into the service. I honestly believe that if I hadn’t enlisted in the service, I would never have left high school teaching. I’m sure I would have never left.”John Wooden

103. “I’m glad I was a teacher.”John Wooden

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


What did John Wooden say about success? ›

#1: “Success is never final, failure is never fatal, and it's courage that counts.” John Wooden never stopped.

What is famous Coach Wooden quotes? ›

"You can't live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you." "What you are as a person is far more important than what you are as a basketball player." "Winning takes talent; to repeat takes character." "A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment."

What is the difference between winning and succeeding? ›

Winning comes at the expense of another; in order for one to win, another must lose. Succeeding is different... everyone has the potential to succeed. Success comes from defining a goal and achieving it, or determining the strategy and executing it.

What does make each day your masterpiece mean? ›

To Coach, making each day your masterpiece means focusing on what you are doing right now to the best of your ability. It is about recognizing that nothing can be done about what happened yesterday, and that you can only affect what will happen tomorrow by what you do today.

How does John Wooden's Pyramid of Success work? ›

The pyramid puts emphasis on important traits such as Industriousness and Enthusiasm, which all build to the goal of Competitive Greatness. The idea behind the pyramid is that a truly great athlete, or person, must first foster these building blocks of determination in order to fully achieve success.

Where did John Wooden develop his definition of success? ›

After completing the pyramid in 1948 while coaching at Indiana State University, Wooden coined his definition of success as, "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." Wooden says that even though he had new ideas about the ...

What are 5 famous quotes? ›

Quotes by Famous People
  • The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. - ...
  • The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing. - ...
  • Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. ...
  • If life were predictable it would cease to be life, and be without flavor. -
Jan 2, 2023

What are Wooden quotes? ›

Success is never final, failure is never fatal. It's courage that counts. Whatever you do in life, surround yourself with smart people who'll argue with you. Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.

Is success a choice or a destiny? ›

Life is a choice; this may be a common understanding, but not everyone follows through this aspect of thinking. Often, people depend on destiny and blame fate when they begin failing in their life decisions.

What is the rule of success? ›

Do your best to choose positive energy such as gratitude, humility, patience, courage, happiness, hard work, charity, and kindness. It doesn't mean that we must all live in the light every moment of every day with positive energy; no, it would be impossible because we are all human after all.

Does success always mean money? ›

In essence, success needn't be purely financial: success should also take into account the wellbeing of employees, who represent the life force of the company. Oh and from a personal perspective success is definitely about more than money – it is about health, relationships, happiness, contentment etc.

How do I make my life a masterpiece? ›

How to make a masterpiece of your life
  1. Choose one major goal/focus. Like most people I spent a large part of my life caught up in the paralysis of indecision as to which path to pursue. ...
  2. Be intentional. ...
  3. Define and divide everyone and everything. ...
  4. Set time aside to be creative.
Jun 3, 2018

Who said make every second your masterpiece? ›

This is a great quote by John Wooden, one of the most loved and respected coaches of all time. Let's think about it.

What is the greatest masterpiece of all time? ›

Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci

It's the masterpiece of all masterpieces, the most famous, most discussed and most enigmatic of all paintings.

What are quotes from the Pyramid of Success? ›

Remember, results aren't the criteria for success — it's the effort made for achievement that is most important.” “Sincerity may not help us make friends, but it will help us keep them.” “Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty (Proverbs 21:5).”

Why was John Wooden so successful? ›

Coach Wooden's ability to motivate, build character and elicit extraordinary performance is legend. His humble, inspirational leadership style contained three core elements: “Teamwork, Tone, Tenacity.” Team Vs. Individual: Coach Wooden incentivized performance of the team, not the individual.

What does the pyramid of success represent? ›

The Pyramid of Success is a framework of successful behaviors. It was developed by Coach Wooden, who used the Pyramid to train and develop the UCLA men's basketball teams that won 10 NCAA Championships in 12 years (1964-1975).

What can we learn from John Wooden? ›

10 Life Lessons from John Wooden
  • Be True To Yourself. ...
  • Always Keep Moving. ...
  • Make Each Day Your Masterpiece. ...
  • Help Others. ...
  • Earned, not Entitled. ...
  • Drink Deeply From Good Books, Especially the Bible. ...
  • Make Friendship a Fine Art. ...
  • Build a Shelter against a Rainy Day.

What is success Wooden? ›

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

What is personal success? ›

My definition of success is achieving personal goals, whatever they may be. Some goals are considered small by some people and enormous by others. What matters is that they are personal; each individual has his/her own formula for personal success. (

What is a very powerful quote? ›

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” — Reinhold Niebuhr.

What are some 3 word quotes? ›

110 Memorable Three-Word Quotes That Are Short And Sweet
  • “I'll be there.”
  • “I love you.”
  • “Maybe you're right.”
  • “I trust you.”
  • “Go for it.”
  • “Got your back.”
  • “How are you?”
  • “I want you.”
Mar 21, 2022

What is the best quotes for success? ›

15 Powerful Quotes On Success
  • 1) Success is No Accident. ...
  • 2) Success is Not Final, Failure is Not Fatal: it is the Courage to Continue that Counts. ...
  • 3) Don't Count the Days, Make the Days Count. ...
  • 4) He Who is Not Courageous Enough to Take Risks Will Accomplish Nothing in Life. ...
  • 5) Don't Wait for Opportunity, Create it.
Feb 20, 2019

What is the best motto for life? ›

Mottos to Live By
  • When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
  • Life every day like it's your last.
  • Be yourself. ...
  • Be the change you wish to see in the world.
  • Let go of who you think you're supposed to be and embrace who you are.
  • If you are not obsessed with your life, change it.
  • Set some goals, then demolish them.
Jul 13, 2022

What are three inspirational quotes? ›

Short motivational quotes
  • “Just one small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day.” — ...
  • “Opportunities don't happen, you create them.” — ...
  • “Love your family, work super hard, live your passion.” — ...
  • “It is never too late to be what you might have been.” —
Dec 1, 2022

Why is wood important to life? ›

Wood as a natural and renewable resource

Wood is a natural and renewable raw material and plays a very important role as a building material. Using of wood reduces the release of CO2 back to the atmosphere, as it remains stored in the lumber (trees bind CO2 in their wood as they grow).

What is wood simple words? ›

wood noun (MATERIAL)

a hard substance that forms the branches and trunks of trees and can be used as a building material, for making things, or as a fuel: He gathered some wood to build a fire. She attached a couple of planks of wood to the wall for shelves. Mahogany is a hard wood and pine is a soft wood.

What is special about wood? ›

The benefits of wood. Wood is a fantastic material. It is strong, versatile, light and the only construction material that is 100% renewable.

What truly is success? ›

Success (the opposite of failure) is the status of having achieved and accomplished an aim or objective. Being successful means the achievement of desired visions and planned goals.

Is success a skill or luck? ›

Absolute success is luck. Relative success is choices and habits. There is an important insight that follows naturally from this definition: As outcomes become more extreme, the role of luck increases.

Does success start in the mind? ›

Success Begins in Our Thoughts

The process is that thoughts become actions and actions produce results. So the equation starts with the thoughts. So the key to success is to start with and control the thoughts that we have. Good thoughts become good actions become good results.

What are the 3 keys to success? ›

Irrespective of what “Success” means to each, what has been clearly understood that there are three key elements of success. They are - Clarity of Purpose, Growth Mindset, and Courage. Without purpose, it is hard to have a clear direction. It is important to know what you want and what you are striving for.

What are the 7 keys to success? ›

These are 7 qualities that we must have to achieve our goals. Commitment An open mind Persistence Flexibility Faith Thankfulness Passion Author has described these 7 qualities with examples of people around him who have applied these to their lives. It makes these principles more practical and acceptable.

What is the most important element of success? ›

Having an absolute belief that you can accomplish your goal is the corner stone of success. When you believe that you can do it everything changes.

What's another word for success? ›

achievement. nounsomething completed successfully; goal reached. accomplishment. acquirement. acquisition.

Is success so important in life? ›

Success provides confidence, security, a sense of well-being, the ability to contribute at a greater level, hope and leadership. Without success, you, the group, your company, your goals, dreams and even entire civilizations cease to survive.

What is the definition of success coined by Mr Wooden? ›

When Coach Wooden coined his definition of success in 1934 (“Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do the best of which you are capable”), his philosophy was clear. He had defined the goal for which he wanted his students to strive.

What were John Wooden's three rules? ›

Coach Wooden had three rules for his teams that contributed to an environment where respect and loyalty were given and received:
  • Be on time. Coach believed being punctual demonstrated respect for the value of his players' time. ...
  • Never criticize a teammate. ...
  • Not one word of profanity.
Jun 27, 2018

How do men define success? ›

Men are more likely to define success according to income and personal achievements, whereas women focus on family and relationships.

What was John Wooden's philosophy? ›


In a career so focused on competition (winning and losing), he never coached his teams to try to be better than their opponent. He simply taught his teams to try to prepare themselves to the best of their ability to be the best they could be - and the result would take care of itself.

What is John Wooden's Seven Point Creed? ›

A core piece of Coach Wooden's philosophy is based on a card that his father gave him and his brothers when they graduated from elementary school.

How many leadership lessons are in the essential wooden? ›

The Essential Wooden is the ultimate collection of Wooden's opinions and observations on achieving exceptional leadership in any organization, with 200 invaluable lessons for inspiring championship performance.

What is skill in the pyramid of success? ›

Skill is defined on Coach Wooden's Pyramid of Success as “A knowledge of and the ability to properly and quickly execute the fundamentals. Be prepared and cover every little detail.” The result of knowledge and preparation, skill is an essential part of achieving goals.

What does it mean if a character is Wooden? ›

awkward or clumsy. 3. bereft of spirit or animation. a wooden expression.

What is the legacy of John Wooden? ›

Coach John Wooden famously urged everyone to “make every day a masterpiece.” Perhaps his most enduring legacy will be his example, his own life as a 'masterpiece of service.


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