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Issue 182 - A Person Who Has a Why to Live Can Bear Almost Any How

Woodens Wisdom
Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 4 Issue 182
Craig Impelman Speaking |  Championship Coaches |  Champion's Leadership Library Login



This quote from the 19th century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche was a favorite of Coach Wooden’s. The quote is usually referred to in the context of directing your life in pursuit of a noble cause.
A different perspective would be to apply this idea in the framework of discipline. Any great company, family or team must have discipline. Discipline can only be effective when it is delivered with self-control. This allows the person receiving the discipline to focus on why they are being disciplined.
When people understand the why of discipline they will be able to bear the how.
In his book with Jay Carty, Coach Wooden's Pyramid of Success, Coach expanded on this idea:
When disciplining someone we supervise, if our emotions take over, chances are we’re going to antagonize that person. It’s difficult to get productive, positive results under these circumstances. We must remember why we discipline. We do it to help, to prevent, to correct and to improve, but not to punish. It takes self-control to accomplish this goal.
Coach Wooden provided discipline but was flexible and innovative in his approach. He made sure his players understood the why so they would be able to bear the how.
In Coach Wooden's book with Steve Jamison, Coach Wooden's Leadership Game Plan for Success, a former player, Bill Hicks (1960-62), gave an example:
One of our top players—maybe our best—got upset about something during practice one day and stormed off the court. This put Coach Wooden in an awkward position because he didn’t want to lose the guy. We didn’t exactly have a lot of talent to spare.
Coach solved the problem by telling the player who had blown up and walked off the court that he was suspended. However, he then informed the suspended player that our whole team would be allowed to vote on whether or not to let him return. This allowed everybody to save face. It also empowered the team, because it felt like we got in on the decision. Of course, we voted to let him back. Coach had solved his problem, disciplined the player, and strengthened our team all at the same time.
Coach made sure everybody understood the why and the how worked out great!

Yours in Coaching,
Craig Impelman
Twitter: @woodenswisdom




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Application Exercise

Favorite Poetry


The Rhodora


On being asked, whence is the flower.
In May, when sea-winds pierced our solitudes,
I found the fresh Rhodora in the woods,
Spreading its leafless blooms in a damp nook,
To please the desert and the sluggish brook.
The purple petals fallen in the pool
Made the black water with their beauty gay;
Here might the red-bird come his plumes to cool,
And court the flower that cheapens his array.
Rhodora! if the sages ask thee why
This charm is wasted on the earth and sky,
Tell them, dear, that, if eyes were made for seeing,
Then beauty is its own excuse for Being;
Why thou wert there, O rival of the rose!
I never thought to ask; I never knew;
But in my simple ignorance suppose
The self-same power that brought me there, brought you.

Ralph Waldo Emerson 






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