John Wooden died Friday, yet there is no doubt that the principles which guided him as a coach, father, and person will remain an inspiration for years to come.

A long time ago, I purchased the book entitled Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court. It was written by Coach Wooden, and it is filled with short, meaningful insights. Yesterday, we highlighted Wooden’s seven point creed; this is just one example of his fundamental insights and simple principles.

You will read many stories about John Wooden’s life, his “philosopher-coach” approach, and the history of his success at UCLA. For us, as we continue to make decisions in our life and try to make a positive mark, remembering John Wooden with a few of his Observations and Reflections seems very fitting.

Failures and Mistakes

“I had mistakes, plenty, but I had no failures. We may not have won a championship every year. We may have lost games. But we had no failures. You never fail if you know in your heart that you did the best of which you are capable. I did my best. That is all I could do.

Are you going to make mistakes? Of course. But it is not failure if you make the full effort…

I also know that only one person on earth knows if you made your best effort; not your coach, not your employer, not your husband or wife, boyfriend or girlfriend, brother or sister. The only person who knows is you. You can fool everyone else.”

Blaming Others

“You can make mistakes, but you aren’t a failure until you start blaming others for those mistakes. When you blame others you are trying to excuse yourself. When you make excuses you can’t properly evaluate yourself. Without proper self-evaluation, failure is inevitable.”

The Greatest Joy

“Happiness is in many things. It’s in love. It’s in sharing. But most of all, it’s in being at peace with yourself knowing that you are making the effort, the full effort, to do what is right.

True happiness comes from the things that cannot be taken away from you. Making the full effort to do the right thing can never be taken away from you.

I believe the greatest joy one can have is doing something for someone else without any thought of getting something in return.”