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When Coach Wooden was asked if he thought he had lived up to the “Seven-Point Creed” his father had given him, he would often reply that he is more like the person who said: I am not what I ought to be, not what I want to be, not what I am going to be, but I am thankful that I am better than I used to be.

He said, I’ve tried and I think that’s all Dad would have expected, and that’s all I expect from young people under my supervision, my children, my grandchildren and all my 13 great-grandchildren. All I ask is try.

This levelheaded approach to self-evaluation has three parts to it:

  1. Humility (I am not what I ought to be, not what I want to be)
  2. Commitment to improvement (not what I am going to be)
  3. Attitude of gratitude (I am thankful that I am better than I used to be)

This is the same levelheaded approach Coach Wooden used to help his teams avoid peaks and valleys. He summed it up this way:

I believe that for every artificial peak you create, you also create valleys. When you get too high for anything, emotion takes over and consistency of performance is lost, and you will be unduly affected when adversity comes.

I emphasized constant improvement and steady performance.

I have often said, the mark of a true champion is to always perform near your own level of competency. We were able to do that by never being satisfied with the past and always planning for what was to come.

I believe that failure to prepare is preparing to fail. The constant focus on the future is one reason we continued staying near the top once we got there.

When this simple approach is applied to everyday life as an individual or as a team, you can count on one thing: The best is yet to come!

Related: How You Can Influence the Future

Photo by Giorgio Trovato/

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.