John Wooden – 7 Ways To Build A Championship Caliber Life
I recently listened to a podcast by Tony Robbins in which he takes the listeners back to when he was 29 years old. During this time, Tony was on his meteoric rise to becoming the most renowned life coach in history and as a by-product of this, he had the opportunity to interview some of the greatest minds on our planet.
In this particular interview, he sat down with one of the best coaches in the history of sports, John Wooden. Admittedly, I didn’t know too much about John Wooden. What I did know, however, is that a Tony Robbins interview takes the listener on an emotional ride that encompasses all aspects of life. With this knowledge in hand, I prepared myself for the next 2 hours.
As the interview began I wondered if it would be worthy of my time. I hoped that it would touch on all the things that I deem important: life, love, and happiness. Above that, I remained optimistic that the interview would answer some of my most burning questions.
- What makes a champion?
- What unit of measure determines a champion?
- Is it how many games they win?
- The legacy they leave behind?
- Is a champion even measurable or is it an abstract idea?
I listened intently to the entire interview clinging on to every word as if it was the last words I would ever hear. The two of them discussed success, happiness, love, purpose, and so much more. The way they interacted with one another was similar to the way that a father and son would interact. It was apparent that Tony had a deep seeded respect for John Wooden and as he talked, the two of us received an education not found in books.
At the conclusion of the interview, a flurry of feelings took over my mind and body. I became happy, sad, excited, surprised and humbled by what I had learned.
By the end, it was apparent that the reason the coach was so successful in life and his career wasn’t because he was better at the sports he taught or that he had the best players in the world coming to play for him. The coach was so successful because his players respected him on a very deep level. They valued his wisdom, beliefs and most importantly, the way in which he treated them.
If I were, to be honest, at first I had a hard time understanding all that I had learned. How could a team become a champion based on wisdom, beliefs, and how they are treated? I was always taught that a team wins because of the physical and mental gifts they are given.
It took me the better part of a week to come to an understanding of how this was so. As I learned, it first begins with how you define your version of winning. For most people, not all but most, it begins and ends with the aforementioned “gifts” and then naturally progresses into the things that they can purchase as a result of the gifts.
The coach believed this to be untrue. I agree.
The success of a person is not calculated by the possessions they own. The success of a person is calculated by a number of people they help and the legacy that they leave.
The John Wooden formula
Listening to the coach made it very obvious that what a person is capable of or what they do with their lives is a direct result of what they are taught. It is these teachings that create the formula for a championship caliber life.
Don’t be mistaken this formula is not enough by itself. In order for a life to be of championship caliber, the offered teachings must be accepted and implemented by the student. The coach knew and understood this. He affirms this by telling Tony that his own personal success is not measured by the multiple championships he has won but rather by the players who grew up to become difference makers in the world. When asked if someone would go on to be successful after they left his program, he would always respond the same way, “I won’t know for at least 20 years”.
Throughout his life, John Wooden carried around seven ideologies that his father passed down to him. These seven things became the foundation that he built his life around.
- Be true to yourself
- Make each day your masterpiece
- Help others
- Drink deeply from good books
- Make friendship a fine art
- Build a shelter against rainy days
- Pray for guidance, and give thanks for your blessings every day.
I hope after reading each of these seven things you have come to the understanding that each one is no more or less difficult to comprehend, accept, and implement in your life than any of the others. In truth, none of them is an unreasonable standard to live your life by.
Imagine for a moment your life one, two, or three years into the future. If you implemented just one, what would your life look like? Would it be the exact same as it is now or dramatically different? While I am not a soothsayer, I can venture a guess that it would differ from the way it looks right now.
Now imagine how the lives around you would look? I ask you to do this because it is in this realm of imagination that your life truly has a chance to change. To create profound, lasting change means to affect those around you more than you affect yourself. If it sounds selfless, it’s because it is. Understand that by no means does affect change in others prevent change in your own life. It is actually the opposite. As you will invariably find out, your personal change will be organically affected as a by-product of the change you affect in others.
It is my hope that in 20 years from now, you are able to look back on the things you are doing right now in your life and attribute your championship to them.
“Not what we give, but what we share, for the gift without the giver is bare.”
James Russell Lowell
Cheers to your success,