Wisdom From John Wooden

On the court, the late John Wooden secured 10 NCAA championships in just 12 years with the UCLA men’s basketball team. Off the court, he inspired those he met with simple but profound leadership advice, his Pyramid of Success and character-building principles. In this clip from the archives, Wooden remembers the life lessons he learned from his father at a young age, such as “make each day your masterpiece.” SUCCESS Ambassador John C. Maxwell also reflects on an inspirational first meeting with Wooden and how his timeless lessons still impact Maxwell today.

This interview appears on the SUCCESS Talks Collection December 2016.


  • The three things that are most important in life: family, faith and friends
  • Wooden’s dad’s advice: Don’t whine, don’t complain, don’t make excuses. Just get out there and do the best you can.
  • Wooden’s definition of success: peace of mind attained through your self-satisfaction in knowing that you made the effort to the best of which you’re capable
  • How Wooden came up with the idea for his Pyramid of Success



Favorite quote from this episode:

“Make each day your masterpiece. Just do the best you can every day—nobody can do more.”

—John Wooden


SUCCESS Talks, the popular audio program included in every issue of SUCCESS magazine, is now available as a podcast. SUCCESS Talks features fascinating interviews with prominent business, creative and thought leaders such as Tony Robbins, Anne Sweeney, Richard Branson, Tim Ferriss and Barbara Corcoran. SUCCESS Talks focuses on helping the listener nurture and develop their mind, body and spirit. Each month is thematically different and includes key takeaways designed to help you achieve your biggest goals and live your true passion.

Catch up on all episodes at SUCCESS.com/SUCCESSTalks.

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