Finding fulfillment through helping others

Part 2 of Tony’s interview with college basketball legend John Wooden

Being a good coach, whether in the world of sports or in life or business coaching, requires the right mindset. In part one of Tony’s podcast with legendary college basketball coach John Wooden, they discussed how John adopted the wisdom of his father and used it to transform himself into a legendary figure in American sports. His father taught him to not worry about what he couldn’t control, and that adversity leads to success a belief Tony also holds when he talks about viewing situations as either obstacles or opportunities

After you listen to part one of this incredible and timeless interview, dive into part two. Tony and John talk about the reality of giving 100%, finding peace of mind and always placing your focus on improvement.

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In this interview, Coach Wooden talks about making each day a masterpiece. He stresses that creating a masterpiece does not equate to giving 100% every day – because that means being perfect. If you have the dangerous expectation of being perfect – or expecting anyone else to be perfect – you will always be disappointed. Instead, making each day a masterpiece means doing your personal best every day. When you focus on being better than the person you were yesterday, instead of competing with everyone around you, you will experience success and fulfillment on a whole other level.

Finding peace of mind

As a highly successful coach and inspiration to millions, John Wooden knows that achievement is not the way to find peace of mind. Instead, he embraces the same belief that Tony does: that the secret to living is giving. He stresses that we are not individuals – we are many, we are much and we can do great things when we each do our part.

This mindset is how John Wooden was able to lead his team to 10 NCAA championships in 12 years. His ability to make things happen and inspire his players is what made him such a great coach. Through his own example, he taught his players to work together as a team to achieve big goals. In giving to their teammates, they achieved unmatched results and a wall of championship trophies.

Focus on the good

Many of John Wooden’s inspirational stories come from his days on the court. He remembers spending time with Kareem Abdul-Jabar and that people would often judge him and call him names. He stressed to Kareem that most people are good and that you cannot judge all by the actions of some. This empowering belief helped Kareem and hundreds of others who John coached, and enabled Kareem to sustain a mindset of abundance and gratitude. Today, Kareem is still regarded as one of the most well-known American basketball players in the world. Because he was able to overcome the adversity thrown his way, he achieved greatness.

Creating exceptional relationships

Part of what made John Wooden great on and off the court was his ability to form genuine and fulfilling relationships. In this episode, you’ll hear him discuss how he learned to cope with the loss of one of the greatest relationships in life – his wife. 

John credits a lot of his success and happiness to his relationship with his wife – and losing her took a big toll on him. It was through her strong communication skills and genuine love that John credits his ability to become the legend that is his legacy. She taught him how to find fulfillment in freedom, peace and love by doing something for someone else every single day. She put value in his presence and taught him to do the same for others.

We can all learn something from the way John and his wife lived their lives. When we stop competing with others and start helping those around us, we will achieve a greater feeling of peace and fulfillment than ever before. Embracing the community around us will help us to build the extraordinary life of our dreams.

John Wooden Interview Show Notes


[1:15] Mary Buckheit introduces part 2
[2:55] You can’t antagonize and get positive results
[3:40] Agility and attitude – two things to look for in a player
[5:15] John’s creed for his players
[6:45] How John created an incredible level of consistency
[8:15] Drawing inspiration from his own college coach
[8:55] Making each day a masterpiece
[9:15] Giving 100% all the time is not a reality
[10:15] Failure is not doing the things you know you should have done
[10:45] What success really is and why you are the only one who will know if you succeed
[12:00] Successful by cultural standards doesn’t guarantee happiness
[12:15] John’s advice to finding peace of mind
[1:15] We are not individuals – we are many and we are much
[14:15] What is a coach?
[15:45] How to know if you’ve done your job as a coach: who they become, how they play
[16:25] The score does not determine if you won or lost
[16:55] What a coach should be
[17:25] Dealing with disappointment: 16 years without victory
[18:15] How his desire to win ultimately stood in his way
[19:15] John’s advice to dealing with criticism
[20:05] Your strength as an individual is how you cope with criticism or praise
[20:35] How John dealt with disappointment himself
[21:45] Placing your focus on improvement
[22:45] Where his disappointments came from – failing a player or his family
[24:35] John’s Pyramid of Success
[26:35] The foundation: industriousness and enthusiasm – work hard and like what you do
[27:15] The other blocks to success
[28:45] Poise is when you are just being yourself
[29:10] Good things take time and faith that things will work out as they should
[29:40] How faith shaped John’s life
[30:35] What Kareem Abdul-Jabbar taught him
[31:45] Most people are good
[32:45] The trials Kareem underwent yet still faced criticism
[33:40] The power of tolerance
[34:00] The most difficult challenge – the loss of his wife
[34:45] Coping with the loss of his wife
[35:25] He no longer fears death
[36:15] His wife helped him overcome being shy
[36:45] Originally wanting to become a civil engineer, and overcoming the challenge of that not happening
[37:45] What made his wife special to him
[39:15] She provided a profound amount of certainty for him
[39:45] The power of listening and communication in a relationship
[40:05] John’s most treasured memories
[40:25] What he values most in his life now
[40:45] The most important lessons John has learned in his life
[41:15] Freedom, peace and love – you can’t have what you desire unless you give them to others
[42:10] You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for another without any thought of something in return
[42:35] Real success comes from the things that can’t be taken away from you

Team Tony

Team Tony cultivates, curates and shares Tony Robbins’ stories and core principles, to help others achieve an extraordinary life.

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