John Wooden: Be True to Your Life-Guiding Principles

“Should you sacrifice precept attempting to please everybody, you find yourself pleasing nobody,” stated Coach John Picket. This maxim is a good reminder of a key precept Picket discovered from his father: “Be true to your self.”

Within the e-book Coach Picket by Pat Williams, two of Picket’s former gamers shared their perspective on the need of staying true to your self:

  1. Dave Meyers (UCLA: 1971-75), former NBA star and trainer, summarized his classes this manner: “If you’re not sustaining self-control, then you aren’t being true to your self. You’re letting your circumstances or your feelings or the actions of different individuals management you. To be true to your self, you need to be answerable for your self. After I performed for Picket, he used to inform the crew, ‘Should you can’t management your self, others will do it for you. And in the event you’re not controlling your self, you’re not serving to the crew.’”
  2. Andy Hill (UCLA: 1969-72), who turned an completed tv producer and co-author of the e-book Be Fast—However Don’t Hurry, shared this insightful perspective: “These gamers who fought with John Picket the toughest in the end turned his most outspoken advocates. That’s as a result of he allow them to struggle. He wasn’t intimidated by a participant who had his personal opinions. Coach was completely safe in who he was.”

Relatively than “going alongside to get alongside,” we should always have a worth system that can information us to make the suitable resolution. Doing the suitable factor is extra essential than assembly the expectations of our friends.

The next two tales powerfully illustrate Picket’s consistency in being true to life-guiding ideas:

  1. Picket, in his first yr as a university coach, refused an invite to the 1948 NAIA Nationwide Championship event as a result of Clarence Walker, an African-American participant, would have been prohibited from collaborating solely due to his race.
  2. In his e-book Coach Picket, Williams recounts a gathering Picket participated in previous to his final season as a university coach:

“In 1974, Coach Picket and his assistant coaches had been known as to the workplace of UCLA athletic director J. D. Morgan. ‘We simply acquired a suggestion from one of many tv networks,’ Morgan stated. ‘The community has supplied UCLA some huge cash if we are going to play North Carolina State because the opening sport of the upcoming season.’ Just some weeks earlier, the NC State Wolfpack had shocked the closely favored UCLA Bruins within the opening spherical of the Closing 4. The community thought that opening the season with a rematch between the 2 groups can be a rankings sensation. However as Morgan laid out the phrases of the provide, there was one large hitch: The sport can be scheduled on a Sunday, the day Coach Picket put aside as a day of relaxation. Coach and his spouse, Nell, by no means missed a Sunday attending church in Santa Monica. After church, their kids and grandchildren normally came to visit for Sunday dinner. Would Coach be prepared to forego his weekly ritual for this chance? Morgan requested the 2 assistant coaches, Gary Cunningham and Frank Arnold, what they considered the provide. Each assistants stated they would like to not play on Sunday however would do what they needed to do. However they each knew it wasn’t their opinion that actually counted. Morgan turned to Coach Picket for his response. ‘Nicely, Coach? What do you consider the provide?’”

‘J. D.,’ Coach stated gently, ‘if you wish to schedule that sport on Sunday afternoon, go proper forward. However I gained’t be there.’ With that, the dialogue was over. There can be no Sunday sport.”

Within the time between his first season and final season, nothing had modified. Picket remembered: Should you sacrifice precept attempting to please everybody, you find yourself pleasing nobody.

This text was revealed in April 2018 and has been up to date. Photograph by Jacob Lund/Shutterstock

Craig Impelman

As Coach Picket’s grandson-in-law, Craig Impelman had the chance to study Coach’s teachings firsthand and wrote about these classes for his web site, He’s a motivational speaker and the writer of Picket’s Knowledge, a weekly “e-coaching module” that’s distributed to corporations nationally.

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