120 John Wooden Quotes To Motivate You To Succeed

Looking for motivational quotes by John Wooden? We have rounded up the best collection of John Wooden quotes, sayings, captions, (with images, pictures, poster and wallpapers), to inspire you to achieve success in life through hard work, wisdom, humility and powerful leadership.

John Robert Wooden (October 14, 1910 – June 4, 2010) was an American basketball player and coach. He was nicknamed the “Wizard of Westwood,” as he won ten National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) national championships in a 12-year period as head coach for the UCLA Bruins, including a record seven in a row.

Coach Wooden’s famous inspirational quotes were often called “Woodenisms” for their simple and life changing messages which encourages everyone to be positive.

May these memorable and wise John Wooden quotes on discipline, hard work, leadership, inspire you to take action so that you may live your dreams and be successful.

Famous John Wooden Quotes

  1. “I don’t believe in fate.” – John Wooden                                                                                                                         
    Coach Wooden Quotes
    Coach Wooden Quotes

  2. “Be quick, but don’t hurry.” – John Wooden                                                                                                            
    John Wooden Inspirational Quotes
    John Wooden Inspirational Quotes

  3. “Be prepared and be honest.” – John Wooden

  4. “Ability is a poor man’s wealth.” – John Wooden                                                                         
    Best John Wooden Quotes
    Best John Wooden Quotes

  5. “Listen if you want to be heard.” – John Wooden

  6. “I don’t believe in praying to win.” – John Wooden

  7. “Make each day your masterpiece.” – John Wooden                                                                               
    Famous John Wooden Quotes
    Famous John Wooden Quotes

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

  9. “Never lie, never cheat, never steal.” – John Wooden

  10. “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” – John Wooden                                                   
    John Wooden Quotes
    John Wooden Quotes

  11. “It isn’t what you do, but how you do it.” – John Wooden

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

  13. “If I am through learning, I am through.” – John Wooden

  14. “Passion is momentary; love is enduring.” – John Wooden

  15. “Today is the only day. Yesterday is gone.” – John Wooden

  16. “Joy makes the longest journey too short.”- John Wooden

  17. “Don’t mistake activity with achievement.”  John Wooden                                                   
    Coach John Wooden Quotes
    Coach John Wooden Quotes

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

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

  20. “The key ingredient to stardom is the team.” – John Wooden                                               
    John Wooden Quotes On Teamwork
    John Wooden Quotes On Teamwork

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

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

  23. “Don’t let yesterday take up too much of today.” – John Wooden                                           
    John Wooden Quotes Wallpapers
    John Wooden Quotes Wallpapers

  24. “Winning takes talent, to repeat takes character.” – John Wooden                                     
    John Wooden Quotes About Character
    John Wooden Quotes About Character

  25. “Mistakes come from doing, but so does success.” – John Wooden

  26. “Don’t wine. Don’t complain. Don’t make excuses.” – John Wooden                                   
    John Wooden Quotes Images
    John Wooden Quotes Images

  27. “Next to love, balance is the most important thing.” – John Wooden

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

  29. “Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.” – John Wooden                                             
    Quotes By John Wooden
    Quotes By John Wooden

  30. “I am just a common man who is true to his beliefs.” – John Wooden

  31. “I was built up from my dad more than anyone else.” – John Wooden

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

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

  34. “Strive to build a team with camaraderie and respect.” – John Wooden

  35. “Just do the best you can. No one can do more than that.” – John Wooden

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

  37. “The most important thing in the world is family and love.” – John Wooden                               
    John Wooden Family Quotes
    John Wooden Family Quotes

  38. “You can do more good by being good than any other way.” – John Wooden

  39. “Being a role model is the most powerful form of educating.” – John Wooden

  40. “You really have to love your people to get the most of them.” – John Wooden

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

  42. “Champions never complain, they are too busy getting better.” – John Wooden                                                                                                                                                     
    John Wooden Quotes On Leadership
    John Wooden Quotes On Leadership

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

  44. “Loyalty is a cohesive force that forges individuals into a team.”

  45. “Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”

  46. “Players with fight never lose a game, they just run out of time.”                                               
    John Wooden Basketball Quotes
    John Wooden Basketball Quotes

  47. “The best competition I have is against myself to become better.”

  48. “The man who is afraid to risk failure seldom has to face success.”

  49. “If you’re true to yourself, you’re going to be true to everyone else.”

  50. “You’re just as good as anyone, but you’re no better than anybody.”

  51. “Succeeding is performing at your best when your best is required.”                 
    John Wooden Quotes On Success
    John Wooden Quotes On Success

  52. “Don’t give up on your dreams, or your dreams will give up on you.”

  53. ”We must be challenged to improve, and adversity is the challenger.”

  54. “Success is never final, failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts.”

  55. “Enthusiasm brushes off upon those with whom you come in contact.”

  56. “You are not a failure until you start blaming others for your mistakes”

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

  58. “If you prepare properly, you may be outscored but you will never lose.”

  59. “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, you need a team.”

  60. “Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there.”

  61. “It is the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.”                   
    John Wooden Quotes Pictures
    John Wooden Quotes Pictures

  62. “Although there is no progress without change, not all change is progress.”

  63. “Being average means you are as close to the bottom as you are to the top.”

  64. “A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment.”

  65. “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”

  66. “Things work out best for those who make the best of how things work out.”                                                                                                                                                                   
    John Wooden Quote About Coaching
    John Wooden Quote About Coaching

  67. “The most powerful leadership tool you have is your own personal example.”

  68. “The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.”

  69. “You must be interested in finding the best way, not in having your own way.”

  70. “If you are afraid to fail, you will never do the things you are capable of doing.”                                                                                                                                                     
    John Wooden Sayings
    John Wooden Sayings

  71. “I like to spend time in the past, with the things that have been important to me.”

  72. “The worst thing about new books is that they keep us from reading the old ones.”

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

  74. “Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.”

  75. “If I were a young coach today, I would be extremely careful in selecting assistants.”

  76. “We can have no progress without change, whether it be basketball or anything else.”

  77. “Whatever you do in life, surround yourself with smart people who’ll argue with you.”

  78. “Most people think of poise as calm, self-assured dignity; but I call it “just being you”.”

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

  80. “It’s always about focusing not on the mistakes but on the lessons learned from them.”

  81. “All of life is peaks and valleys. Don’t let the peaks get too high and the valleys too low.”

  82. “If a player’s not doing the things he should, put him on the bench. He’ll come around.”

  83. “It takes time to create excellence. If it could be done quickly, more people would do it.”

  84. “I think permitting the game to become too physical takes away a little bit of the beauty.”

  85. “Learn as if you were going to live forever, and live as if you were going to die tomorrow.”

  86. “I had three rules for my players: No profanity. Don’t criticize a teammate. Never be late.”

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

  88. “What you are as a person is far more important than what you are as a basketball player.”

  89. “Love is the most important thing in the world. Hate, we should remove from the dictionary.”

  90. “I’d rather have a lot of talent and a little experience than a lot of experience and a little talent.”

  91. “Seek opportunities to show you care. The smallest gestures often make the biggest difference.”

  92. “You can lose when you outscore somebody in a game. And you can win when you’re outscored.”

  93. “You will find that success and attention to details, the smallest details, usually go hand in hand.”

  94. “If you stay intent and your ability warrants it, you will eventually reach the top of the mountain.”

  95. “Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.”

  96. “I don’t think I was a fine game coach. I’m trying to be honest. I think I was a good practice coach.”

  97. “If we magnified blessings as much as we magnify disappointments, we would all be much happier.”                                                                                                               
    John Wooden Quotes About Life
    John Wooden Quotes About Life

  98. “Just try to be the best you can be; never cease trying to be the best you can be. That’s in your power.”

  99. “A strong leader accepts blame and gives the credit. A weak leader gives blame and accepts the credit.”

  100. “Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you capable of becoming.”

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

  102. “Defense is a definite part of the game, and a great part of defense is learning to play it without fouling.”

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

  104. “I think you have to be what you are. Don’t try to be somebody else. You have to be yourself at all times.”                                                                                                 
    Wooden Quotes Be Yourself
    Wooden Quotes Be Yourself

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

  106. “If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes.”

  107. “Consider the rights of others before your own feelings, and the feelings of others before your own rights.”

  108. “The more you talk about negative things in your life, the more you call them in. Speak victory not defeat.”

  109. “People want to believe you are sincerely interested in them as persons, not just for what they can do for you.”

  110. “I think the teaching profession contributes more to the future of our society than any other single profession.”

  111. “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.”

  112. “I talked to the players and tried to make them aware of what was good and bad, but I didn’t try to run their lives.”

  113. “Don’t measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability.”

  114. ”The more concerned we become over the things we can’t control, the less we will do with the things we can control.”

  115. “My eyesight is not nearly as good. My hearing is probably going away. My memory is slipping too. But I’m still around.”

  116. “If there’s anything you could point out where I was a little different, it was the fact that I never mentioned winning.”

  117. “Do not become too concerned about what others may think of you. Be very concerned about what you think of yourself.”

  118. “When you hurry you’re more apt to make mistakes. But you have to be quick. If you’re not quick you can’t get things done.”

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

  120. “I think that in any group activity – whether it be business, sports, or family – there has to be leadership or it won’t be successful.”

  121. “It is normal to enjoy praise and dislike criticism. True character is when you prevent either from affecting you in a negative matter.”

  122. . “Never try to be better than someone else. Learn from others, and try to be the best you can be. Success is the by-product of that preparation.”

  123. “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.”

  124. “Well, your greatest joy definitely comes from doing something for another, especially when it was done with no thought of something in return.”

  125. “A player who makes a team great is more valuable than a great player. Losing yourself in the group, for the good of the group, that’s teamwork.”

  126. “No written word, no spoken plea, can teach our youth what they should be, nor all the books on the shelves, it is what the teachers are themselves.”

  127. “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.”

  128. “I’m not a believer in meetings or so-called chalk talks or blackboard drills. I believe in learning by repetition to the point that everything becomes automatic.”

  129. “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.”

  130. “I’m not going to say I was opposed to the Vietnam War. I’m going to say I’m opposed to war. But I’m also opposed to protests that deny other people their rights.”

  131. “Material possessions, winning scores, and great reputations are meaningless in the eyes of the Lord, because He knows what we really are and that is all that matters.”

  132. “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.”

  133. “Leadership is the ability to get individuals to work together for the common good and the best possible results while at the same time letting them know they did it themselves.”

  134. “Fairness is giving all people the treatment they earn and deserve. It doesn’t mean treating everyone alike. That’s unfair, because everyone doesn’t earn the same treatment.”

  135. “You can do nothing about tomorrow. It is yet to come. However, tomorrow is in large part determined by what you do today. So make today a masterpiece. You have control over that.”

  136. “Losing is only temporary and not encompassing. You must simply study it, learn from it, and try hard not to lose the same way again. Then you must have the self-control to forget about it.”

  137. “Confidence – Poise and confidence are not possible unless you have prepared correctly. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Poise and confidence are a natural result of proper preparation.”

  138. “You can never make up for a lost day… Don’t think you can make up for it by working twice as hard tomorrow. If you have it within your power to work twice as hard, why aren’t you doing it now?”

  139. “I worry that business leaders are more interested in material gain than they are in having the patience to build up a strong organization, and a strong organization starts with caring for their people.”

  140. “Somebody asked me – you know, how come it took you so long to win a national championship? And I said, ‘I’m a slow learner; but you notice when I learn something, I have it down pretty good.’”

  141. “Give me 100 percent. You can’t make up for a poor effort today by giving 110 percent tomorrow. You don’t have 110 percent. You only have 100 percent, and that’s what I want from you right now.”

  142. “Friendship is two-sided. It isn’t a friend just because someone’s doing something nice for you. That’s a nice person. There’s friendship when you do for each other. It’s like marriage – it’s two-sided.”

  143. “Loyalty is very important when things get a little tough, as they often do when the challenge is great. Loyalty is a powerful force in producing one’s individual best and more so in producing a team’s best.”

  144. “The work that you do each and every day is the only true way to improve and prepare yourself for what is to come. You cannot change the past and you can influence the future only by what you do today.”

  145. “There’s as much crookedness as you want to find. There was something Abraham Lincoln said – he’d rather trust and be disappointed than distrust and be miserable all the time. Maybe I trusted too much.”

  146. “We should never let ambition cause us to sacrifice our integrity or diminish our efforts in other areas. However, we need to remember that we never reach a serious goal unless we have the intention of doing so.”

  147. “I’m no wizard, and I don’t like being thought of in that light at all. I think of a wizard as being some sort of magician or something, doing something on the sly or something, and I don’t want to be thought of in that way.”

  148. “In the end, it’s about the teaching, and what I always loved about coaching was the practices. Not the games, not the tournaments, not the alumni stuff. But teaching the players during practice was what coaching was all about to me.”

  149. “There is no substitute for hard work. If you’re looking for the easy way, if you’re looking for the trick, you might get by for a while, but you will not be developing the talents that lie within you. There is simply no substitute for work.”

  150. “Being true to ourselves doesn’t make us people of integrity. Charles Manson was true to himself, and as a result, he rightly is spending the rest of his life in prison. Ultimately, being true to our Creator gives us the purest form of integrity.”

  151. “Be true to yourself, help others, make each day your masterpiece, make friendships a fine art, drink deeply from good books—especially the Bible, build a shelter against a rainy day, give thanks for your blessings and pray for guidance every day.”

  152. “Promise yourself you will talk health, happiness, and prosperity as often as possible. Promise to think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best in yourself and others. Promise to forget the mistakes of the past and press on to greater achievements in the future.”

  153. “No building is better than it’s structural foundation, and no man (woman) is better than his (her) mental foundation. When I prepared my original Success Pyramid years ago, I put industriousness and enthusiasm as the two cornerstones with loyalty right in the middle of the pyramid – Loyalty to yourself and to all those dependent upon you.”

  154. “The four laws of learning are explanation, demonstration, imitation and repetition. The goal is to create a correct habit that can be produced instinctively under great pressure. To make sure this goal was achieved, I created eight laws of learning – namely explanation, demonstration, imitation, repetition, repetition, repetition, repetition, and repetition.”

  155. “When you improve a little each day, eventually big things occur. When you improve conditioning a little each day, eventually you have a big improvement in conditioning. Not tomorrow, not the next day, but eventually a big gain is made. Don’t look for the big, quick improvement. Seek the small improvement one day at a time. That’s the only way it happens – and when it happens, it lasts.”


Besides being named as the national coach of the year six times, Wooden was the first person ever to be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame both as a player (1960) and as a coach (1973).

In the history of college basketball, Wooden was regarded as one of the most respected and wisest college coaches. He preached patience, character building and simplicity. His motivational words has inspired not only his former players, including Bill Walton and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar but has influenced the lives of many more.

Wooden’s Pyramid of Success has been used to benefit in personal success, business, sports and organizational leadership.



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