INSPIRATION: John Wooden: The difference between winning and succeeding

Never try to be better than someone else, always learn from others, and never cease trying to be the best you can be – John Wooden.

Listen to the following TED lecture of a truly remarkable teacher who knew back in the 1930’s what success was before we started talking about mindset and grit.

John Wooden’s definition of success = Peace of mind attended only through self satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do the best of which your capable.

The collection of poems in his talk:

“At God’s footstool to confess a poor soul knelt and bowed his head,

I failed he cried, the master said thou did thy best, that is success.”

“No written word, no spoken plea can teach our youth what they should be

Nor all the books on all the shelves, its what the teachers are themselves.”

“They ask me why I teach and I reply, ‘Where could I find such splendid company?’ There sits a statesman, strong, unbiased, wise; another Daniel Webster, silver-tongued. A doctor sits beside him,whose quick steady hand may mend a bone, or stem the life-blood’s flow. And there a builder. Upward rise the arch of a church he builds, wherein that minister may speak the word of God and lead a stumbling soul to touch the Christ. And all about a gathering of teachers, farmers, merchants, laborers:those who work and vote and build and plan and pray into a great tomorrow. And I may say, I may not see the church, or hear the word or eat the food their hands may grow. But yet again I may. And later I may say, I knew him once, and he was weak, or strong, or bold or proud or gay. I knew him once, but then he was a boy. They ask me why I teach and I reply, ‘Where could I find such splendid company?”

“Sometimes I think the Fates must grin as we denounce them and insist the only reason we can’t win, is the Fates themselves that miss. Yet there lives on the ancient claim: we win or lose within ourselves. The shining trophies on our shelves can never win tomorrow’s game. You and I know deeper down, there’s always a chance to win the crown. But when we fail to give our best, we simply haven’t met the test, of giving all and saving none until the game is really won; of showing what is meant by grit; of playing through when others quit; of playing through, not letting up. It’s bearing down that wins the cup. Of dreaming there’s a goal ahead; of hoping when our dreams are dead; of praying when our hopes have fled. Yet losing, not afraid to fall, if bravely we have given all. For who can ask more of a man than giving all within his span. Giving all, it seems to me, is not so far from victory. And so the fates are seldom wrong, no matter how they twist and wind. It’s you and I who make our fates — we open up or close the gates on the road ahead or the road behind.”


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