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:
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.