John Wooden on the Difference Between Winning and Succeeding

Timeless Success Advice

Legendary basketball coach John Wooden shared some timeless advice for his players that not only applied to his team, but to all of us.

Though this legend has passed on, his many lessons and many quotes remain as timeless reminders of what success looks like. Some of his timeless advice:

  • Always be on time.
  • Be neat and clean.
  • Don’t use profanity.
  • Never criticize a teammate.
  • Have patience.
  • Have faith that things will work out if we do what we are suppose to do.
  • Don’t whine, complain or make excuses.
  • Do your best.

John Wooden didn’t cut corners, and he didn’t let his values slide in order to win. His consistency was legendary. I often read his inspiring quotes. He is known for winning ten NCAA national championships in twelve years. With his attitude and wisdom, I am certain he would have been successful at nearly any endeavor.

His many quotes continue to inspire. Here are a few of my favorite John Wooden quotes:


John Wooden Quotes


“If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything.” -John Wooden


“Never mistake activity for achievement. -John Wooden

“Reputation is what you are perceived to be and character is what you really are.” –John Wooden


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


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


“It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen. –John Wooden


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


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


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


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


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


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


“Be true to yourself. Make each day a masterpiece.”  -John Wooden


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


“Drink deeply from good books.”  -John Wooden


“Focus on effort, not winning. Winning is a byproduct of effort.” -John Wooden






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