The Leg­endary John Wooden Series: Intentness

by Aileen

Man playing basketball“We’re never going to develop the strength that lie within unless we accept and work hard to make the things we’d like to come about really become reality.” – John Wooden

This is the first post in the “Kaizen Wisdom from the Legendary John Wooden” series.

This series will honor how he lived his life and the wisdom he shared, which in many ways is aligned with kaizen principles. Small continuous improvements for the betterment of the whole, in his case it was more than just for the team, it was for the betterment of one’s life and one’s community.

For anyone one who doesn’t know who this amazing man was, here’s a brief overview.

John Wooden (October 14, 1910 – June 4, 2010)

Coach Wooden was a successful high school and university basketball player prior to becoming one of the greatest coaches that ever lived.

When he graduated from Purdue he was offered “a lot of money” to play basketball, this was before the NBA existed and at that time playing basketball as a profession wasn’t held in high regard. He talked with his coach about the opportunity and what decision he should make. His coach told him, “You can’t play in the dirt and not get dirty. What did you come to Purdue for?” Wooden had gone to Purdue to become an English teacher and that’s what he went on to do, well, that and becoming a phenomenal basketball coach.

Because there is so much information available about his successes in basketball, this series will mainly focus on his life lessons. For your enjoyment, below are some great resources for additional information:

Resources

http://www.coachwooden.com

http://www.uclabruins.com/wooden

John Wooden

Intentness

having the mind, attention, or will concentrated on something   – merriam-webster

“…the ability to resist temptation and stay the course, to concentrate on your objective with determination and resolve.”

“Impatience is wanting too much too soon. Intentness doesn’t involve wanting something.”

“Being intent on reaching realistic goals… Don’t make your goals so difficult that their going to be unattainable. On the other hand don’t make the goals that you wish to attain easily attained because they don’t mean much. Make them difficult but within the realm of possibility.”

- John Wooden

Intentness is one of John Wooden’s building blocks his Pyramid of Success

In living with a kaizen vision, we embrace small continuous improvements. We adjust our goals and processes as we discover ways to improve, become more effective, more efficient and grow into the best we can be.

In this process we remain open to analysis and revisions. At first the goal may appear doable but after we begin, we discover that we need to break it down a bit more. It is okay to travel at the tortoise speed as long as each step we take is in the direction of our dreams.

What dream or goals do you hold in your heart? How do you want your life to look and feel? Will you choose to deepen your level of intentness, stay the course, and all the while maintaining an open mind as you listen to life when she tells you to keep going, let go, or re-route? Will you embrace a sense of patience and joy as you take small steps toward living the life you imagine?

We can do this. Let’s focus our intent today.

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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

The Exception August 11, 2010

I believe this will be a great series as he was such an inspirational man and coach.
“Intent” is one of those words that gives me pause. In my experience, “intent” is a nice idea that doesn’t happen. I have been on the receiving end of “I intended to…” more times than I can count to the point that I am not sure what to do with the word – is it wonderful thoughts that lack actions? Is it a conditional word that carries weight only if given priority? Is it a word that is used to leave people feeling good about the idea and not bad about the outcome if there isn’t follow through?
Me and this word – I supposed we have a bit of a history. It is a word I don’t use, probably because of the experiences I have had with it.
The Exception´s last [type] ..Redefining Travel- Celebrating My 30s

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Aileen August 12, 2010

Oh I completely feel what you are saying about the ‘I intended to’ experience and being on the receiving end of that. There are certain words I don’t use because of how they make me feel and the emotions that resonate with them. Thank you for adding you thoughts and experience.

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Jane Rochelle August 11, 2010

“Will you choose to deepen your level of intent­ness, stay the course, and all the while main­tain­ing an open mind as you lis­ten to life when she tells you to keep going, let go, or re-route?”

This is the most difficult thing…discernment when the path is unclear. My mind is generally very open, but people and events beyond my control do effect my decisions. I am, again, in the midst of wandering through ‘stay the course’ or ‘re-route’. Time, patience, careful listening.

Thank you Aileen for this beautiful post, and for teaching me about Coach Wooden.

Take special good care today! ~
Jane

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Aileen August 12, 2010

Jane, I’m thrilled to introduce you to Coach Wooden!! I too am in the midst of wandering through the ‘stay the course or re-route’ patience helps, careful listening helps and a promise to self that we won’t beat ourselves up over the decisions we make – uuue, that’s hard. At this moment my prayer is for clarity

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Katie August 11, 2010

Aileen, lovely to see you are still finding inspiration for your writing, even without my presence (hehe). Intentness is a funny thing. I find when I am intent upon a goal, I can be very focused but as you so astutely point out, one has to be open to listening to life and perhaps even re-routing if the call comes. I find my intensity sometimes clouds my openness. Good lessons and very interesting post. Thank you.
Katie´s last [type] ..How to Colour Your Life with Shades of Joy

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Aileen August 12, 2010

Katie, you’re back! I trust your travels were wonderful!! Intensity can cloud openness, oh I do know that one all too well. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it :)

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Jean Sarauer August 11, 2010

What a legacy this man left for all of us. I’m glad you’re bringing his wisdom to folks via this series.
Jean Sarauer´s last [type] ..14 Tips to Turn Bloggers Into Friends

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Aileen August 12, 2010

He truly was an amazing person and left of with volumes of wisdom. I’m thrilled to shine on a light on him and his phenomenal personal character – sometimes I think our modern world doesn’t pay attention to ‘character’, what a person is made of – and the artful way of living that comes from such strong character… – so I’m happy celebrate Coach Wooden through this series

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Tess The Bold Life August 12, 2010

Patience and joy require present moment living. When we want to succeed with an online business it’s easy to get caught up in competition and comparison and fear. All ego based. I love John Wooden, read a book years back about him and think he’s a great role model for all. No matter what one wants to accomplish when we get there the ego moves the line. It’s too easy to get caught up in what a good life isn’t.

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Aileen August 12, 2010

Hi Tess, Thank you for stopping by and thank you for your thoughtful comment. It is all too easy to get caught up in the net of competition, comparison & fear – you are sooo right on that. Success feels best when the ego is out of it and the journey is more exciting when the ego is not involved – - sometimes I’m just flabbergasted when I observe myself getting caught in the net of ego based fear and doubt and junk…. all the while knowing it’s not helping the road to success at all, like all egoic behavior it just get’s int he way and slows it down with detours.

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Farnoosh August 12, 2010

In every yoga class, we set an intention before the practice and we renew it either during or at the end before leaving our mats. Setting intentions AND living with intent and purpose – “staying the course” as you say -is no easy task. A beautiful topic to which you have dedicated a series. Thank you Aileen, I really need the reminders for me! :)
Farnoosh´s last [type] ..10 Smart Questions to Ask before Choosing your Next Language

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Aileen August 16, 2010

Farnoosh, I like how you bridge yoga and intent/ purpose – thank you for that

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Angela Artemis August 12, 2010

Hi Aileen,
I’ve heard of John Wooden, but never knew anything about him.
What a fountain of wisdom he is. Thanks so much for introducing him to us.
I think it’s hard sometimes, to stay on course even if we make small adjustments. We need to keep our spirits up and find ways to enjoy what we’re doing in the present moment. If we decide down the road to trash everything we’ve done and start over – that’s okay too. As long as we really examine why we’re doing what we’re doing.
Thanks so much for this lovely post Aileen.
Angela Artemis´s last [type] ..Hey! There’s a Face in That Orb!

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Aileen August 16, 2010

Angela you hit me with this “We need to keep our spir­its up and find ways to enjoy what we’re doing in the present moment” – it is very, very true even with small steps we need to manage our energy and inspiration to keep taking the steps as long as we are still in purpose – and yes, being okay to start over if need be later on down the road. It’s almost like a child playing with play-dough and crafts – carefully building it and being totally okay smashing it up into something new.

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Preeti @ Heart and Mind August 12, 2010

Aileen,

I like this, being intent with anything we do in our life is an essential. I have to check out more about John Wooden now! Thanks for the introduction.
Preeti @ Heart and Mind´s last [type] ..101 changes- Change 6 – Read a book Benefits of reading

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Aileen August 16, 2010

I’m thrilled to introduce you to Coach Wooden :)

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Adena Atkins August 13, 2010

Hi Aileen

What really helps me in this post is the word “intentness”. I’ve been looking for an improvement on the word “focus” for some time now–something that was non-exclusionary yet could serve the same purpose. Maybe “intentness” is my word…
Adena Atkins´s last [type] ..10 Strategies To Support Meditation &amp 10 Questions To Ask First

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Aileen August 16, 2010

Isn’t it funny how sometimes we need new words. It can make a huge difference and revitalize us.

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Clearly Composed August 14, 2010

I love this post because I do embrace and live by the idea of baby steps will get me there. Giving up perfectionism and the “rush” of it all in exchange for heartfelt forward progress no matter what the speed or how many detours I encounter has been a shift to truly joyful and productive living. Intentness…great flippin’ word. :)
Clearly Composed´s last [type] .. Summer Fun Series- The Spontaneous Adventure

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Aileen August 16, 2010

Thank you for sharing your wisdom Emma! “in exchange for heart­felt for­ward progress no mat­ter what the speed or how many detours I encounter has been a shift to truly joy­ful and pro­duc­tive liv­ing”

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Manal August 14, 2010

Aileen,
What a wonderful start! Here is to focused intentions–the beginning of all creation. He was a very wise man and left a a tremendous legacy. Focusing on what we truly desire, keeping an open mind and going for it will lead to success, there is no failure with this formula. Thanks so much for the inspiration.
Manal´s last [type] ..Radical Responsibility- The First Step in Changing Your World

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Aileen August 16, 2010

“Here is to focused intentions–the begin­ning of all cre­ation” :) Thank you Manal!

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Mark August 16, 2010

John Wooten is an incredible spirit! Love him! The power of our intentions is what drives the reality we create. Thanks for this wonderful post.
Mark´s last [type] ..Being Mindful of Your Mind

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ashok August 20, 2010

Love this quote/question of yours: “Will you embrace a sense of patience and joy as you take small steps toward liv­ing the life you imagine?”

So many people just aren’t happy while trying to improve. I don’t get that, I really don’t. It’s like they always want stress or pressure, and 9 times out of 10 they’re looking for someone else to blame, someone else they say is pressuring them.

I think one just has to get the attitude of: “I’m loving learning.” With that, continuous improvement becomes a habit, I imagine.
ashok´s last [type] ..Socrates in Hades- On Plato’s Protagoras- Part III

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Aileen August 23, 2010

Thank you for your comment Ashok. I see it too – that bizarre thing people do… willingly stress themselves out and put added pressure on and look to blame others. Funny part of it is that they are simply wanting to improve, so I would think there would be a thrill about the adventure of it. Isn’t phenomenal how we can allow our minds to go perceive in ways that are helpful or hurtful. it’s a choice although it doesn’t always feel like a choice.

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John Sherry August 24, 2010

Aileen, I love this word, ‘Intentness’. It captures a process, a method, a practice that focuses the mind and sparks the spirit. It reminds me to keep hold of mine as it’s all too easy to let it slip and slide. On a personal note I love the mention of Purdue which I spent time at 25 years ago after summer camp so it has a special place in my heart. Your simple messages are always strong and dynamic and that’s why I keep coming back.
John Sherry´s last [type] ..Why Home Is Where The Heart Is

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Edythe October 1, 2014

Very descriptive post, I loved that bit.
Will there be a part 2?
Edythe´s last [type] ..Edythe

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Willa November 12, 2014

Thanks for sharing your thouughts abot Internal communifations audit.
Regards
Willa´s last [type] ..Willa

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