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John Wooden: The Creed I Live by

John Wooden, longtime head basketball coach at UCLA, offers seven guides for young people that were given to him by his father.

Hall of Fame college basketball coach John Wooden

Inside my wallet is a piece of paper which I have handled so many times it is worn and ragged. It was given me by my father when I graduated from the eighth grade of an old country school in Centerton, Indiana.

My father in his simple way was a most remarkable man. Although we had few material possessions on our farm, Dad was a man who believed that one needed a philosophy of life if he were to amount to anything. On the paper he gave me for graduation, Dad had listed the following creed, which he had entitled Seven Things To Do:

1. To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.

2. Make each day your masterpiece.

3. Live each day as it should be lived. Never leave until tomorrow what can be done today.

4. Help others. A perfect life can be lived in helping others.

5. Drink deeply from good books. One book alone would suffice—the Bible.

6. Don’t take friendship for granted. Study friendship and make it a fine art.

7. Most important of all, pray for guidance each day and Divine guidance will come in some way.

I’ve found these guides to be meaningful in every phase of my life. During the 18 years I have coached basketball at UCLA, they have helped me develop a balanced attitude toward victory and defeat. We play to win, of course, but more important to me is what the boys learn about life. That is why I stress the same principles Dad did.

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