The Pyramid of Success

In the last few months I have spent a lot of time reading John Wooden, the inspirational American basketball coach.

His advice, gleaned from a solid upbringing is simple but not simplistic. Anyone who has read any of John Wooden will recognise his philosophy in the utterances of the likes of Mickey Harte ‘Be the best you can be’; Roy Keane: ‘Fail to prepare, prepare to fail’. And so on.

You should never live your life with regrets, but I do wish I had come across some of these insights earlier in my working career and certainly in my time working with sports teams. Wooden tells us that ‘Emotion is your enemy.’ How true.

John Wooden based his work on his own personal values, his pyramid of success for leadership in any team:

  • industriousness; friendship; loyalty; cooperation; enthusiasm.
  • Self control; alertness; initiative; intentness.
  • Condition, skill, team spirit.
  • Poise; confidence.
  • And competitive greatness.

The latter means the love of the hard battle. Or substitute a love of life. Wooden teaches that we should make each day our masterpiece – to try and achieve something every day.

It is a difficult path to follow but a good one. In life, like sport, there are many challenges to overcome, some we can never overcome but the way in which we try says a lot about us.

The journey is the reward, as the Chinese saying goes.

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