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Issue 34 - Honesty

Woodens Wisdom
Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 1 Issue 34
Craig Impelman Speaking |  Championship Coaches |  Champion's Leadership Library Login


On the right side of the Pyramid of Success, below patience, there are four additional pieces of mortar: sincerity, honesty, reliability and integrity. These are qualities that encompass the genuineness, strength, and impact of human character. This week we will discuss honesty.


In his book Coach Wooden's Pyramid of Success, with Jay Carty, Coach Wooden defined honesty and its importance in the following manner:


Honesty is doing the things that we know are right and not giving in to the temptation to do the things that we know are wrong. Honesty must occur at all times, in both thought and action. Honest people stay on the narrow way, regardless of the consequences. If we are honest, our integrity will not allow us to compromise – ever.


A dishonest act is an attempt to deceive someone. It is possible to be so deceptive that we even deceive ourselves. We do this when we want to justify a lie because of circumstances or as payback when someone has been dishonest with us. Dishonesty – no matter the reason – destroys our credibility, ruins our reputation and costs us our self respect.


Under each piece of mortar on the Pyramid, in parentheses, there is some brief application advice for that mortar. In the original Pyramid under honesty, the application advice was: “in all ways.” Later Coach changed the application advice for honesty to: “in thought and action.” Coach had an important motivation for the change. He wanted to make certain that we understand that honesty starts with not giving in to the temptation of dishonest thoughts, which can ultimately lead to dishonest actions.


Coach’s Father, Joshua, had taught him: "Never lie. Never cheat. Never steal." He also taught him: "Be true to yourself." Coach believed that honesty encompassed not only telling the truth but also always acting in accordance with your core values.


Coach described one of his core values this way: "Revenge is the weak pleasure of a little and narrow mind” or “Time spent getting even would be better spent trying to get ahead."


In his book Coach Wooden’s Pyramid of Success, Coach gave an example of when he felt he was dishonest: “When I was a high school coach, four of my five starters came down with measles and had to miss a game. The opposing coach ran up the score that night. I was not happy and got revenge. In striking back, I wasn't true to my values, and I later apologized for my actions.”


Coach felt that by not "being true to himself" he was not being honest.


Coach characterized the challenge of being truly honest all the time this way: "The greatest conquest of man is the conquering of himself."


He also reminded us that honesty has a great reward: “There is no pillow as soft as a clear conscience.”


Yours in coaching,


Craig Impelman


Twitter: @woodenswisdom




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Application Exercise

Favorite Poetry

I have to live with myself and so
I want to be fit for myself to know,
I want to be able as days go by,
To look at myself straight in the eye.
I don't want to stand with the setting sun and hate myself for the things I've done.
I don't want to hide on a closet shelf
A lot of secrets about myself,
And fool myself as I come and go
Into thinking that nobody else will know
What kind of man I really am;
I don't want to dress myself in sham.
I want to go with my head erect,
I want to deserve all men's respect
And in this struggle for fame and wealth
I want to be able to like myself.
I don't want to look at myself and know
That I am a bluster and empty show.
I cannot hide myself from me;
I can see what others can never see;
I know what others can never know,
I cannot fool myself, and so
 Whatever happens, I want to be
Self-respecting and conscience free.

Edgar A. Guest

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