The Wooden's Wisdom Logo

Motivate Your Team! Cheer Up A Friend! Inspire Yourself!

Issue 90 - Talent Is God Given, Be Humble, Fame Is Man Given, Be Thankful, Conceit Is Self-Given, Be Careful

Woodens Wisdom
Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 2 Issue 90
Craig Impelman Speaking |  Championship Coaches |  Champion's Leadership Library Login



This famous quote of John Wooden reflected his attitude on how to approach life and leadership.
The first part of this quoteTalent is God given, be humble emphasized a character trait that Coach Wooden thought was critical: humility.
Coach often said that false modesty is as bad as false pride. It is important that we don't confuse humility with being self demeaning.
The key behaviors of a person with true humility are that they are unpretentious, unassuming and down-to-earth. A person with humility does not ask for special favors.
In the Pat Williams book How to Be Like Coach Wooden, former Montclair State University Coach Ollie Johnston recalled attending a coaching clinic with Coach Wooden:
At the coaching clinic I was standing in line with Coach to register - a process that could take as long as two hours. Joe Vancisin, who was running the organization, saw Coach and gestured for him to come around the line. He waved Joe off and said to me, “I'm no better than anyone else.”
Coach Wooden's track record of being unpretentious is well documented and reflected in how generous he always was with his time.
In the same Pat Williams book, Rick Adelman, then coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves, recalled his experience:
I was coaching at Chemeketa Junior college in Salem, Oregon. I heard that John Wooden was coming to town, so I called to ask if he'd come to our campus and talk to my players. We had 200 people show up and Coach spoke to them for over an hour, and then he answered questions. He was such a gentleman, and treated all of us with such respect.
A leader who has humility is appreciative of praise but keeps it in proper perspective and is always eager to share the credit for a job well done.
A leader who has humility is open and eager to listen to criticism and improve.
Mahatma Gandhi put it this way:
In the dictionary, pride and humility are listed as antonyms. Coach Wooden felt both were necessary.
He often said pride is a better motivator than fear.
He wanted his players to have pride (self-satisfaction) in a job well done.
He also wanted them to have the humility to recognize this did not make them better than someone else and that there was still much to learn and always plenty of room to improve.
Yours in Coaching,
Craig Impelman
Twitter: @woodenswisdom




Watch Video

Application Exercise

Favorite Poetry


 He Has Got Humility


 To talk of his achievements he's reluctant it would seem
And those who think that they know better say he's low in self esteem
But they seem to overlook one thing or either are too blind to see
That the man is not conceited he has got humility.


And those who know him better say          he's good at what he do
And that 'empty vessels make the most noise' still
so happens to be true,

He lets others do the talking, he takes success in his stride
And he doesn't have an inflated ego that comes from too much
self pride.

Those into self promotion say in self esteem he's low
But the meaning of humility such people would hardly know,
To them boasting is a natural thing to talk of self they are not shy
And three words that they use often are me, myself and I.

He doesn't boast of his achievements he has got humility
Though those into self promotion with that hardly would agree
To them to brag is natural at least that's how 'twould seem
And they see every quiet achiever as one with low self esteem

Francis Duggan





For more information visit

Enter a list of email addresses, separated by spaces, to send this issue to.

Email a Friend

Return to Issue List

Our Services
Why Wooden's Wisdom
Presentation Team
Wooden's Wisdom Leaders
Leadership Resource Center
Member Login

© Copyright 2024 | # of Times Wooden's Wisdom Issues Opened: 6,892,980

Hosting & Design