Monday, November 1

John Wooden

Promise Yourself...

"Remember that there is no substitute for hard work and careful planning. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail." - John Wooden

Just read a good article by Mitch Horowitz about the "winningest" college basketball coach in American sports history, John Wooden. The article is titled, From the Socks Up, and shows a picture of 94-year old Wooden with an NCAA basketball in his hands and a happy smile on his face. It's his eyes that fascinate me, though.

His eyes show a free and young spirit. The brief article describes how he lives his life today with simplicity and a focus on what is really important. I've seen this look in my parents eyes. It is a look filled with so much good that there is no room for regrets. Pretty amazing. I like his famous "preparation" quote, but the quote that probably says more about living a good life minus regrets is this one:

"Promise to think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best in yourself and others."

Where's the catch in this? Seems too simplistic and almost silly. The catch is in the limitations I put on myself by expecting the worst, I've learned recently. The catch or barrier is in complicating life with crap outside myself designed to make me a good consumer, a good patriot, a good worker, a good driver, ad naseum. The catch or barrier is really my own thinking, my own mind-over-matter or lack of it.

I remember rolling my eyes when my Mom would respond to my drama by stating that, "Everything works out for the best."

She and John Wooden share the same philosophy about life. She never gave up listening to my sob stories and when I became a mother, we became friends and shared triumphs, defeats, joys and burdens. She'd focus on the big picture and I'd focus on the often irrelevant details. She'd show the importance of not judging people no matter how wacky or out of control they appeared to be, and I'd learn that if I didn't have something nice to say about someone, I'd keep my mouth shut around her. She focused on solutions and taught me to stop taking every slight, every hurt, every set back as a personal attack. She taught me to keep communicating and to never give up on a friend or family member.

She taught me that everything works out for the best whether you realize it or not. Even though she's passed away, I continue to learn more and more about living a good and happy life by realizing the truth behind her simplicity and by valuing the truth behind the simple words and deeds of those around me.