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Inspirational John Wooden Quotes on Life and Leadership

Our latest collection of John Wooden quotes on Everyday Power.

John Robert Wooden, nicknamed the “Wizard of Westwood,” was an American basketball player and head coach at the University of California at Los Angeles.

Wooden had a massively successful playing and coaching career, winning a total of 11 national titles as head coach, including a record seven in a row, and being named national coach of the year six times. Besides, he was the first player to be named basketball All-American three times and was the first person to be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player and a coach.

One of the most respected coaches in sports history, Wooden is also remembered for his short, simple inspirational messages to his players, which were directed at how to be successful in life as well as in basketball.

Whether in sports, business, personal success, or organizational leadership, we can all benefit from Wooden’s words of wisdom. As one of the most revered coaches in the history of sports, Wooden clearly tapped into his Everyday Power.

In that respect, here are some inspirational John Wooden quotes. Enjoy!

Born: October 14, 1910, in Indiana.

Died: June 4, 2010, Los Angeles

Inspirational John Wooden quotes on life and leadership

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

2. “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?” – John Wooden

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

4. We can have no progress without change, whether it be basketball or anything else.” – John Wooden

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

6. You can do more good by being good than any other way. – John Wooden

7. All of life is peaks and valleys. Don’t let the peaks get too high and the valleys too low. – John Wooden

8. “Winning takes talent, to repeat takes character.” – John Wooden

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

10. “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

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John Wooden quotes to inspire success

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

12. “Make each day your masterpiece“ – John Wooden

13. Succeeding is performing at your best when your best is required. – John Wooden

14. Mistakes come from doing, but so does success. – John Wooden

15. Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming. – John Wooden

16. Success is never final, failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts. – John Wooden

17. “Nothing will work unless you do.” – John Wooden

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

19. “Earn the right to be proud and confident.”  – John Wooden

20. “It’s important to keep trying to do what you think is right no matter how hard it is or how often you fail. You never stop trying. I’m still trying.” – John Wooden

John Wooden quotes to motivate you to fight for your dreams

21. “It is the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.” – John Wooden

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

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

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

25. 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

26. If you stay intent and your ability warrants it, you will eventually reach the top of the mountain.― John Wooden

27. Today is the only day. Yesterday is gone.― John Wooden

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28. “The best competition I have is against myself to become better.” ― John Wooden

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

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

More John Wooden quotes on life and leadership

31. The most important thing in the world is family and love. ― John Wooden

32. “The best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” ― John Wooden

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

34. “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

35. “No one can really honestly be the very best, no one.” – John Wooden

36. “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

37. “Don’t mistake activity with achievement.” ― John Wooden

38. “Tell the truth. That way you don’t have to remember a story.” – John Wooden

39. “It is amazing how much can be accomplished if no one cares who gets the credit.” ― John Wooden

40. “Don’t let yesterday take up too much of today.” ― John Wooden

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Inspirational John Wooden quotes

41. “Listen if you want to be heard” ― John Wooden

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

43. “If we magnified blessings as much as we magnify disappointments, we would all be much happier.” ― John Wooden

44. “The key ingredient to stardom is the team.” ― John Wooden

45. “Next to love, balance is the most important thing.” ― John Wooden

46. “Measure yourself by…what you have accomplished with your ability” ― John Wooden

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47. “Coach Wooden didn’t treat everybody the same; he treated people the way they deserved to be treated.” ― John Wooden

48. “A strong leader accepts blame and gives the credit. A weak leader gives blame and accepts the credit.” ― John Wooden

49. “When opportunity knocks, it’s too late to prepare.” ― John Wooden

50. “Always try to be the very best that you can be. Learn from others, yes. But don’t just try to be better than they are.” ― John Wooden

More John Wooden quotes

51. “Never make excuses. Your friends don’t need them and your foes won’t believe them.” – John Wooden

52. “Discipline yourself and others won’t need to.” – John Wooden

53. “Happiness begins where selfishness ends.” – John Wooden

54. “Being average means you are as close to the bottom as you are to the top.” – John Wooden

55. “There is nothing stronger than gentleness.” – John Wooden

56. “The man who is afraid to risk failure seldom has to face success.” – John Wooden

57. “The goal in life is just the same as in basketball: make the effort to do the best you are capable of doing.” – John Wooden

58. “You’re just as good as anyone, but you’re no better than anybody.” – John Wooden

59. “If you prepare properly, you may be outscored but you will never lose.” – John Wooden

60. “Do not become too concerned about what others may think of you. Be very concerned about what you think of yourself.” – John Wooden

Which are your favorite John Wooden quotes?

John Wooden left a powerful legacy in not only in sports but in business, leadership and personal success. He influenced the lives of many people and will always be remembered for his wisdom both on and off the court.

Although he passed away in 2010, Wooden’s motivation and mentorship lives on. Hopefully, these quotes have inspired you to shoot for success in your life.

Did you enjoy these John Wooden quotes? Which of the quotes was your favorite? Tell us in the comment section below. We would love to hear all about.

Norbert Juma, Lead Editor
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  1. Roza

    September 3, 2020 at 7:39 PM

    The best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.

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