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50 Inspirational John Wooden Quotes on Life and Leadership

john wooden quotes

Our latest collection of John Wooden quotes on Everyday Power Blog.

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

john wooden quotes

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


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


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


Other 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


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


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.


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