Don’t give up on your dreams

In the US, we are currently in the midst of what is called March Madness, a three week basketball tournament that will ultimately crown our national collegiate champion.  To recognize this event, QQQ today looks once again at some of the important quotes of John Wooden, recognized by many as one of the all-time great basketball coaches.  Wooden’s Pyramid-of-Success is still considered applicable for student, individuals, and business today as a roadmap to personal and professional success.

To me, however, Wooden might be one of the greatest examples I have ever seen of integrity.  He lived his life with purpose and was truly dedicated to enhancing the lives of others, not his own personal success.  And, his dedication to his wife was an inspiration to me.  He was married for 53 years before his Nellie died.  Those close to him, said his life was a love letter to her.  Anyway, he remained dedicated to her until his death at age 99.

Let’s look at a few quotes to get his perspective:

  1. “Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out” – We may not be able to control what happens or the events around us, but we can control our attitude.  Wooden says that it is also important that we make the best of what does happen.  This is Wooden’s version of “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”
  2. “Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do” – Do what you can do; control what you can; and keep moving forward.  Simple, eh?  Why, then, is this so hard sometimes?
  3. “I worry that business leaders are more interested in material gain than they are in having the patience to build up a strong organization, and a strong organization starts with caring for their people” – Caring for people is such an important concept – not just for business, but in every aspect of life.  I can tell you definitively, that as you get older, you understand this better.  What you do for others lasts; what you do just for yourself is temporary.
  4. “You can’t let praise or criticism get to you. It’s a weakness to get caught up in either one – Keeping perspective in both good times and bad is one way to avoid those peaks and valleys that emotionally drain us.  I think Wooden is right that if you allow either praise or criticism to affect you and the person you are, then it has too much power over you.
  5. “All of life is peaks and valleys. Don’t let the peaks get too high and the valleys too low” – See #4 above.
  6. “Don’t let making a living prevent you from making a life” – This is a powerful statement!  Don’t get so caught up in your work that you fail to enjoy those good things in life.  Don’t be so blinded by your work that you fail to nurture friendships; spend time with your family; or do the things that you enjoy.  An individual can give 110% of their being for this or any company for 20 or 30 years and their efforts can be forgotten in one month.  However, good, deep friendships can last a lifetime – even beyond a lifetime – and make your life more complete and enjoyable.  Don’t neglect the important things of life!
  7. “Don’t give up on your dreams, or your dreams will give up on you” – What keeps you motivated?  Are you driven by a goal or dream or are you just getting through the day?  I think Wooden is saying that we all need to have a dream and that we should be striving, every day, to achieve that dream.  Once we give up on our dreams, we’re just merely trying to get through the day.  Time is too short for that!

So think about what these say to you today.  Are you letting circumstances dictate your life?  Or, are you using circumstances to motivate you?  Do you have a dream that you are striving to achieve? Or, is your life a series of “one more day doing the same old thing?”  Let’s make today special!  Have a great day!