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Issue 155 - Appreciate the Things You Have

Woodens Wisdom
Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 3 Issue 155
Craig Impelman Speaking |  Championship Coaches |  Champion's Leadership Library Login



In his book with Steve Jamison, Wooden on Leadership, Coach wrote about his perspective:
Americans, perhaps by nature, are most competitive. In sports, business and almost all areas of life, they not only ask Who's number one?, they want to be number one and constantly compare themselves against that standard: Am I the biggest? The best? The fastest?
However, for most of my life I have believed these are the wrong questions to ask oneself. This comes mostly from what I was taught by my Dad back on the farm in Centerton, Indiana, population 49.
Although Dad suffered terrible setbacks and sorrows - deaths of two daughters’, loss of his beloved farm, financial hardships during the Great Depression - he never complained, criticized or compared himself to others who were better off. Through it all he made the best of what he had and was thankful for it.
Joshua Wooden cautioned his three sons that: Time spent comparing yourself to others was time wasted.
It is very easy to fall into the comparison trap: Comparing the current times to the old times; comparing somebody else's lucky breaks to your lucky breaks or comparing how much you’re being paid for a job compared to somebody else.
In his book Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections on and Off the Court, with Steve Jamison, Coach cautions against that type of thinking:
Don't compare yourself to somebody else, especially materially. If I'm worrying about the other guy and what he's doing, about what he's making, about all the attention he's getting, I'm not going to be able to do what I'm capable of doing.
It's a guaranteed way to make yourself miserable. Envy, jealousy, and criticism can become cancerous. They hurt the person who feels them rather than the person they're directed toward.
Coach expanded on this idea in discussing athletic salaries:
Coaches are paid millions of dollars today and players make tens of millions of dollars. It started happening soon after I left UCLA, so I'm often asked if I'm envious. Folks say, "Coach Wooden, imagine what you could make today!" It doesn't concern me in the least. What concerns me is that over which I have some measure of control, and I can't control what others make or employers pay them.
In responding to a question regarding a large salary an NBA player was making compared to what he earned, Coach put it in perspective:
He may know what it's like to earn a million dollars, but I know what it was like to be able to get a good meal for twenty-five cents. Neither of us should envy the other in this regard.

Yours in Coaching,
Craig Impelman
Twitter: @woodenswisdom




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Application Exercise

Favorite Poetry


Ode on a Grecian Urn
(Part Two)


Who are these coming to the sacrifice?
To what green altar, O mysterious priest,
Lead'st thou that heifer lowing at the skies,
And all her silken flanks with garlands drest?
What little town by river or sea shore,
Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel,
Is emptied of this folk, this pious morn?
And, little town, thy streets for evermore
Will silent be; and not a soul to tell
Why thou art desolate, can e'er return.

O Attic shape! Fair attitude! with brede
Of marble men and maidens overwrought,
With forest branches and the trodden weed;
Thou, silent form, dost tease us out of thought
As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral!
When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st,
"Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

John Keats  






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