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Issue 5 - Make Each Day Your Masterpiece

Woodens Wisdom
Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 1 Issue 5
Craig Impelman Speaking |  Championship Coaches |  Champion's Leadership Library Login



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 One of Coach Wooden’s most well-known quotes is “Make Each Day Your Masterpiece,” which is actually the third item in the list of “seven things to do” given to Coach by his father upon graduation from grammar school. This list later became known as Coach Wooden’s “Seven Point Creed.”


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To Coach, making each day your masterpiece means focusing on what you are doing right now to the best of your ability. It is about recognizing that nothing can be done about what happened yesterday, and that you can only affect what will happen tomorrow by what you do today.


A useful application of this wisdom is to apply it to where you are at each moment. For example, rather than dwelling on that horrible officiating call by a ref or obsessing over what went wrong in the last game, try to keep your mind right where you are now and focus on the positive things that surround you. Let go of the past, be it a week ago or an hour ago; don’t fret about the future, be it next week or next year. Apply this wisdom in small doses throughout your day, and by the end of it you will have your masterpiece.


Coach Wooden also frequently made the point of not being fooled into thinking that you could make up for today’s lack of effort by working twice as hard tomorrow. By tomorrow, today’s masterpiece opportunity is gone. Moreover, if you could work twice as hard tomorrow, why wouldn’t you work twice as hard today?


A key element in Coach executing his “masterpiece strategy” was preparation and discipline. Coach planned and executed a consistent, disciplined daily schedule for himself; his team’s practices were organized in the same manner. Every warm-up, drill, and conditioning exercise had a precise timeslot so that every necessary element was covered and every minute of practice was used efficiently. A clearly defined set of goals makes distraction a less formidable opponent. A masterpiece day is part of a well executed game plan.


As Coach was fond of saying:


·    “Don’t let yesterday take up too much of today”


·    “Don’t worry about things you can’t control because they may adversely affect the things you can control.”


·    “Don’t let what you can’t do interfere with what you can do.”


And, of course, Coach included a character trait on his Pyramid of Success to help execute the strategy: Self Control. (“Practice self-discipline and keep emotions under control. Good judgment and common sense are essential.”)


Part of that good judgment and common sense essential for a masterpiece day includes thinking about the immediate needs of other people, too. I think Coach would agree that one of his favorite quotes definitely applies here: “You cannot live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.” As we all know, Coach always said the most important word in our language is “Love.”


So discipline yourself. Focus on the here and now without allowing yourself to become distracted by days gone by. Love and help your fellow man to succeed without any expectation of remuneration. Plan every day as if it matters, because each day does. Give every single day your best effort, and you will make each day your masterpiece.


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Yours in coaching,


Craig Impelman


Twitter: @woodenswisdom

Application Exercise

Favorite POETRY

I have shut the door on yesterday,
Its sorrows and mistakes.

I have locked within its gloomy walls

Past failures and mistakes

And now I throw the key away,
And seek another room.

And furnish it with hope and smiles,
And every spring-time bloom.

No thought shall enter this abode
That has a taint of pain.

And envy, malice, and distrust
Shall never entrance gain.

I have shut the door on yesterday
And thrown the key away.

Tomorrow holds no fear for me,
Since I have found today.

~ Vivian Yeiser Laramore
Coach, you're a hunter and a seeker,
Not for silver or for gold.
Not for treasure or for pleasure,
Or for anything that's sold.
You're a connoisseur of living,
As you move along life's way.
With no worries of tomorrow,
For you have found today.
~ Swen Nater

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