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helping others

“Nothing can give you greater joy than doing something for another.”
–Coach Wooden

Coach Wooden believed there was no greater joy in life than finding out that something you did or said was helpful to someone else in some small way.

Related: John Wooden’s 7-Point Creed: ‘Help Others’

After Coach retired, he kept his phone number listed and continued to make time for anybody to visit him and discuss anything if they called and asked. He never refused to sign an autograph and responded personally to all his correspondence.

Sometimes when people help others, it is viewed as the giver making a sacrifice, and enjoyment is often thought of as a result of acquiring something or having time for one’s self. Some folks felt that Coach was being taken advantage of because he was so generous.

The truth was that he recognized that the most enjoyment he had in life was helping others. He was not interested in acquiring material things for himself except to the extent that he could use them to help his family.

When Coach helped others, he did not feel that he was making a sacrifice, but rather that he was doing something he really enjoyed. Coach viewed making time for someone else in the same context that others view playing a round of golf—really fun.

When Tony Robbins asked Coach Wooden what advice he would give to wealthy, successful people who were unhappy, Coach replied, “They should go find some people to help.”

And when asked how he would like to remembered, Coach replied, “I’d like to be remembered as a normal person who was considerate of others.”

Coach Wooden had a simple formula: If your spirits are down a little, go help somebody. You’ll feel better right away.

Related: How Consideration for Others Influences Your Happiness

Photo by Jacob Lund/

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.