The Wooden's Wisdom Logo

Motivate Your Team! Cheer Up A Friend! Inspire Yourself!

Issue 544 - My Favorite Dynamic Duo: Booker T. Washington and John Wooden: "Have Poise Don’t Pose" (Booker T. Washington Part Twenty Five)

Woodens Wisdom
Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 11 Issue 544
Craig Impelman Speaking |  Championship Coaches |  Champion's Leadership Library Login



Booker T. Washington was an American educator, author, orator, and adviser to several presidents of the United States. Between 1890 and 1915, he was the dominant leader of American educational innovation and reform.
The two finest teachers of life skills I have encountered are Booker T. Washington and John Wooden.
John Wooden defined Poise as "Just being yourself" and added "When you maintain your poise, you’re being yourself. You're not acting. You're not trying to be something you're not. You are yourself, therefore you're going to be able to function closer to your own particular abilities."
Today some people wear designer jeans (leaving the price tag on) and $200 sneakers to pose and impress others. In 1900 at the Tuskegee Institute, some folks would pay to have their shirt collars laundered to pose and impress others. In his 1902 book, Character Building, Mr. Washington describes how he addressed the situation:
"We want, also, to be sure that we remain simple in our dress and in all our outward appearance. I do not  like to see a young man who is poor, and whose tuition is being paid by someone, and who has no books, sometimes has no socks, sometimes has no decent shoes, wearing a white, stiff, shining collar which he has sent away to be laundered.
It is much better for a young man to learn to launder his collars himself than to pretend to the world that he is what he is not. When you send a collar to the city laundry, it indicates that you have a bank account; it indicates that you have money ahead and can afford that luxury. That kind of pretense and that kind of acting do not pay. Get right down to business and, as I have said, if we cannot do up your collars well enough here to suit you, why, get some soap and water, and starch, and an iron, and learn to launder your own collars, and keep on laundering them until you can do them better than anybody else.
I am not trying to discourage you about wearing nice collars. I like to see every collar shine. I like to see every collar as bright as possible. I like to see you wear good, attractive collars. I do not, however, want you to get the idea that collars make the person. You quite often see fine cuffs and collars when there is no real person there. You want to be sure to get the person first. Be sure that the person is there, and if he/she is, the collars and the cuffs will come in due time. If there is no person there, we may put on all the collars and cuffs we can get, and we shall find that they will not make the person."
Are you a "poiser" or a "poser"?

Yours in Coaching,
Craig Impelman




Watch Video

Application Exercise



The Homely Man

Looks as though a cyclone hit him—
Can't buy clothes that seem to fit him;
An' his cheeks are rough like leather,
Made for standin' any weather.
Outwards he was fashioned plainly,
Loose o' joint an' blamed ungainly,
But I'd give a lot if I'd
Been built half as fine inside.

Best thing I can tell you of him
Is the way the children love him.
Now an' then I get to thinkin'
He's much like old Abe Lincoln;
Homely like a gargoyle graven—
Worse'n that when he's unshaven;
But I'd take his ugly phiz
Jes' to have a heart like his.

I ain't over-sentimental,
But old Blake is so blamed gentle
An' so thoughtfull-like of others
He reminds us of our mothers.
Rough roads he is always smoothing
An' his way is, Oh, so soothin',
That he takes away the sting
When your heart is sorrowing.

Children gather round about him
Like they can't get on without him.
An' the old depend upon him,
Pilin' all their burdens on him,
Like as though the thing that grieves 'em
Has been lifted when he leaves 'em.
Homely? That can't be denied,
But he's glorious inside.

Edgar Albert Guest (1881-1959)






For more information visit

Enter a list of email addresses, separated by spaces, to send this issue to.

Email a Friend

Return to Issue List

Our Services
Why Wooden's Wisdom
Presentation Team
Wooden's Wisdom Leaders
Leadership Resource Center
Member Login

© Copyright 2024 | # of Times Wooden's Wisdom Issues Opened: 6,882,976

Hosting & Design