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A good memory is one that can remember the day’s blessings and forget the day’s troubles.

This Irish blessing was a favorite of John Wooden’s. It supports and is a good reminder of the seventh item in his father Joshua Wooden’s Seven-Point Creed:

Give thanks for your blessings and pray for guidance every day.”

In his book The Wisdom of Wooden, Coach Wooden expanded on this idea:

You’ll be much happier if you spend as much time thinking about your blessings as you do about your troubles. In this regard, it is helpful to forget favors given and remember those received.

In his book Wooden, he summed it up this way:

So often we fail to acknowledge what we have because we’re so concerned about what we want. We fail to give real thanks for the many blessings for which we did nothing: our life itself, the flowers, the trees, our family and friends.

In his book Coach Wooden’s Pyramid of Success, Coach put the idea of blessings in perspective:

I can recount so many blessings in my life and I am thankful for them, but blessings don’t constitute success. If none of the good things had ever occurred, I would not be any less successful. The real determining factor is this: Did I make the effort to do my best? That is the only criteria, and I am the only one who knows (well, me and God). Am I a success? I have peace of mind.

With this perspective, Coach was able to appreciate the blessings he received, not expect them or depend on them. The day’s troubles were never anything for him to focus on. Neither had anything to do with success for himself, as he defined it. The focus was on his best effort, not external forces he could not control.

Photo by stockfour/

Craig Impelman
As Coach Wooden’s grandson-in-law, Craig Impelman had the opportunity to learn Coach’s teachings firsthand and wrote about those lessons for his site, He is a motivational speaker and the author of Wooden’s Wisdom, a weekly “e-coaching module” that is distributed to companies nationally.