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December 6, 2017

How do you define success?

How do you define success?

How do you define success for today’s youth?

Do we find it in their game stats?

Does it show up on their report cards?

Or do we need to dig a little deeper?

In 1934 as a young English teacher, John Wooden coined his now famous definition of success:

“Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”

Building Success

Wooden soon realized, however, that it wasn’t just enough to declare this definition for his students. He needed a way to teach them how to actually attain their goals. Over the next 14 years he identified the behaviors and characteristics that we need to achieve his definition, and in doing so gave his students and players steps for how to build their own paths – the pyramid of success. 

As one of the most successful sports coaches, Wooden used this pyramid to help lead his players to identify goals and then implement all of the blocks. Whether the goal is success on the court or success in the classroom, we can implement these time-tested steps and help kids do the same.

Let’s start by taking a look at the foundation of the pyramid.

  • Industriousness
  • Friendship
  • Loyalty
  • Cooperation
  • Enthusiasm

SUCCESSLet’s apply this to the players on the courts. Who are the most successful? Sure – amazing players need to bring strong skills to the games. But even those with top-level skills will only get so far if they do not possess the characteristics at the base of the pyramid. 

As parents and coaches let’s recognize those kids who bring cooperation and enthusiasm to every practice. Let’s foster positive relationships built on loyalty and friendship. And let us make sure that we help youth get a taste of industriousness. Let’s give them opportunities to work hard, experience failures, and seek resolutions to challenges. Those are the real foundation stones for success as an athlete, student, and member of the community.