“Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.” ― John Wooden
John Wooden was one of the greatest college basketball coaches of all time. Nicknamed the “Wizard of Westwood,” as head coach at UCLA he won ten NCAA national championships in a 12-year period, including an unprecedented seven in a row. Wooden was a master motivator as well as a masterful coach.
There are those who spend a good part of their life lamenting how things have turned out, as if they are somehow the target of some huge plot or the unfortunate recipient of inordinate amounts of bad luck. Others accept the cards that they are dealt and see if they can still make a winning hand out of them. The former embrace failure by finding a way to blame it all on someone or something else; the latter use failures as teachable moments in their lives from which they can learn and get better.
How do you approach life? Do you let temporary setbacks get you down or do they serve to motivate you to try harder the next time? Do you wallow in self-pity or marvel at how far you got or what you achieved before you were set back? Do you learn from those mistakes or failures or just cry about them? Are you about to give up on your dreams and goals? Wooden had a thought about that, too. Don’t give up on your dreams, or your dreams will give up on you.
As one might expect, great athletic coaches often excel because they teach their players great advice for life; and that advice also helps their teams achieve great things. Often the best advice is really almost intuitive, but we need someone to pull it out of the clutter of day-to-day living and hold it up in front of us over and over again. That’s what coach Wooden did for his teams. He was a simple, straightforward man who demanded the same things from his athletes. While others called him a wizard; he often took pains to deny that label and instead kept pointing back to the things that he believed in and taught his players. He lived by one of his own quotes – “if you’re true to yourself you’re going to be true to everyone else.” John Wooden was true to himself and to his players. He asked them to just give him their best and they did.
So, as we start a new week; is it time for you to reassess how things are working out for you and whether you are doing the best that you can with how things are working out? Are you giving it your best? Have you given up on your dreams or are they still out there behind that cloud that has temporarily darkened your sky? Are you being true to yourself or are you giving up on yourself? It’s never too late to step back, reassess the situation and become even more resolute that you will achieve your dream. It’s time to summon up that little extra bit of courage, that spark of hope that keeps you going and fan it back into a flame. A final John Wooden quote might help get you going – Success is never final, failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts.
Have courage…persevere and make the best of things. It will all work out.