Coach John Wooden: On Strategy

“Never try to be better than someone else, always learn from others. Never cease trying to be the best you can be — that’s under your control. If you get too engrossed and involved and concerned in regard to the things over which you have no control, it will adversely affect the things over which you have control.” —Coach John Wooden

Relatedly via Bezos:

I love his four rules:

  1. Never be late.
  2. Be neat and clean.
  3. No profanity.
  4. Never criticize a teammate.

And his other set of three:

  1. Don’t whine.
  2. Don’t complain.
  3. Don’t make excuses.

“Just get out there, and whatever you’re doing — do it to the best of your ability. And no one can do more than that.

I tried to get across, too, that — my opponents will tell you — you never heard me mention winning. Never mention winning.

My idea is that you can lose when you outscore somebody in a game, and you can win when you’re outscored. I’ve felt that way on certain occasions, at various times. And I just wanted them to be able to hold their head up after a game.

I used to say that when a game is over, and you see somebody that didn’t know the outcome, I hope they couldn’t tell by your actions whether you outscored an opponent or the opponent outscored you.

And he told a story of a school teacher,

“They ask me why I teach, and I reply, ‘Where could I find such splendid company?’

Lastly this passage is beautiful,

“And I say to you, in whatever you’re doing, you must be patient. You have to have patience to — we want things to happen. We talk about our youth being impatient a lot, and they are. They want to change everything. They think all change is progress.

And we get a little older — we sort of let things go. And we forget there is no progress without change. So you must have patience, and I believe that we must have faith. I believe that we must believe, truly believe. Not just give it word service, believe that things will work out as they should, providing we do what we should.

I think our tendency is to hope things will turn out the way we want them to much of the time, but we don’t do the things that are necessary to make those things become reality.

Wow. It’s also been fascinating to learn about how he led through such complex times in the United States with regards to race relations. What an amazing person! —JM

PS David Bowie is another figure that’s important to read about with respect to how he approached MTV’s philosophy to business back in the 80s.

1 Comment

Thanks for sharing that video, I really enjoyed it. He moved so fluidly when he was quoting poetry I couldn’t tell if it was from memory or being read.