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Issue 82 - Responding to Criticism and Praise

Woodens Wisdom
Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 2 Issue 82
Craig Impelman Speaking |  Championship Coaches |  Champion's Leadership Library Login



This quote of Coach Wooden's has a clear message. The following is the same idea as expressed by three other great philosophers:
Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. - Winston Churchill
Criticism is something you can easily avoid by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing. -  Aristotle
Coach taught his players how to deal with criticism by breaking it down into two types: criticism they would receive from him and the coaching staff and criticism they would receive from sources outside of the team (media, fans, alumni etc.).
I think this is an excellent model because in our professional and personal lives we receive direct criticism from coaches and supervisors and criticism from outside sources.
This issue will discuss dealing with criticism from outside sources (not a coach or supervisor).
Two key ideas of Coach Wooden are excellent anchors for a sound philosophy to deal with criticism from external sources:
Be true to yourself.
Be more concerned with your character than with your reputation, as your character is what you really are while your reputation is merely what others think you are.
In his book Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court with Steve Jamison, Coach recounted how he counseled his players on dealing with “outside” criticism:
Fellows, you're going to receive criticism. Some of it will be deserved and some of it will be undeserved. Either way, deserved or undeserved, you're not going to like it. You're also going to receive praise on occasion. Some of it will be deserved and some of it will be undeserved. Either way, deserved or undeserved, you're going to like it. However, your strength as an individual depends on how you respond to both criticism and praise. If you let either one have any special effect on you, it's going to hurt us.
It goes back to what my dad used to say. "If you get caught up in things over which you have no control, it will adversely affect those things over which you have control." You have little control over what criticism or praise outsiders send your way. Take it all with a grain of salt.
I think this is an important message to share with our young people because they are often confronted with external praise and criticism as a result of social media (Facebook, Twitter etc.).
Let's help our young people grow into philosophers who Coach Wooden describes as:
A person who meets all events, whether favorable or unfavorable, with calmness and composure.


Yours in Coaching,
Craig Impelman
Twitter: @woodenswisdom




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Application Exercise

Favorite Poetry


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;


If you can dream---and not make dreams your master;
If you can think---and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build them up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings---nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And---which is more---you'll be a Man, my son!

Rudyard Kipling





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