47 Best John Wooden Quotes about Leadership, Teamwork and Success

John Wooden was without a doubt one of the greatest coaches of all time, having ten national titles, seven in a row from 1966 to 1973, and a 205-5 mark over that span. In addition, he had three consecutive undefeated seasons, four perfect seasons, and a six-time national coach.

However, he wasn’t just any coach but was also known for his motivational words and wisdom that inspired millions.

A decade later, after his passing, these life lessons, aka “Woodenisms”, are still as inspirational and motivational as it was back then, and some may even say its legendary.

John Wooden’s Most Famous Motivational Quotes of all Times

1. “I’d rather have a lot of talent and a little experience than a lot of experience and a little talent.” – John Wooden

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

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

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

5. “Don’t measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability.” – John Wooden

6. “What you are as a person is far more important than what you are as a basketball player.” – John Wooden

7. “Talent is God-given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.” – 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. “You can’t let praise or criticism get to you. It’s a weakness to get caught up in either one.” – John Wooden

10. “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.” – John Wooden

11. “Winning takes talent; to repeat takes character.” – John Wooden

12. “Ability is a poor man’s wealth.” – John Wooden

13. “The main ingredient of stardom is the rest of the team.” – John Wooden

14. “You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.” – John Wooden

15. “Be prepared and be honest.” – John Wooden

16. “Consider the rights of others before your own feelings and the feelings of others before your own rights.” – John Wooden

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

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

19. “Success is never final; failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts.” – John Wooden

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

21. “A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment.” – John Wooden

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

23. “Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” – John Wooden

24. “Ability may get you to the top, but character keeps you there: mental, moral and physical.” – John Wooden

25. “Have utmost concern for what’s right rather than who’s right.” – John Wooden

26. “Perform at your best when your best is required. Your best is required each day.” – John Wooden

27. “Make a decision! Failure to act is often the biggest failure of all.” – John Wooden

28. “Success is a 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

29. “The star of the team is the team. ‘We’ supersedes ‘me.'” – John Wooden

30. “Constantly be aware and observing. Always seek to improve yourself and the team.” – John Wooden

31. “Whatever you do in life, surround yourself with smart people who’ll argue with you.” – John Wooden

32.” Stay the course. When thwarted try again: harder, smarter. Persevere relentlessly.” – John Wooden

33. “Be true to yourself, help others, make each day your masterpiece, make friendships 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

34. “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

35. “The most important thing in the world is family and love.” – John Wooden

36. “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

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

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

39. “Never lie, never cheat, never steal.” – John Wooden

40. “Adversity is the state in which man most easily becomes acquainted with himself, being especially free of admirers then.” – John Wooden

41. “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

42. “Don’t let making a living prevent you from making a life.” – John Wooden

43. “Today is the only day. Yesterday is gone.” – John Wooden

44. “If you’re true to yourself, you’re going to be true to everyone else.” – John Wooden

45. “Young people need models, not critics.” – John Wooden

46. “Never mistake activity for achievement.” – John Wooden

47. “Adversity is the state in which man mostly easily becomes acquainted with himself, being especially free of admirers then.” – John Wooden

This collection of Woodenism will inspire, motivate, and prepare you for any challenges you face.

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