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Coach John Wooden Pyramid of Success
Why You Should Give Gratitude Freely Without Expecting it in Return

Gratitude is a duty which ought to be paid, but which none have a right to expect.

In his book, There’s a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem, Wayne Dyer wrote:

“Stop looking for the approval and gratitude of others as your reason to do good. Even if no one ever says thank you, do for others as your heart dictates from spirit, which is rooted in the faster energy of love, kindness, and connectedness to all.”

We should not expect gratitude for kindness. When we expect gratitude, we destroy the kindness and actually prevent the person we are helping from enjoying the feeling of gratitude.

Gratitude is the recognition that you have been the beneficiary of someone else’s kindness. Indebtedness is the recognition that because of that kindness, you now owe something to that person, and ought to pay it back.

Coach Wooden helped me countless times over the years and never made me feel like I owed him one.

In his book, The Wisdom of Wooden: My Century On and Off the Court, Coach summed it up this way:

“In life there are few goals more worthwhile and satisfying than helping others. Teachers, coaches, mentors, and leaders have that wonderful opportunity. It is an opportunity exceeded only by that of being a parent.”

All are based on giving—not the material things, but rather love, support, knowledge, guidance, kindness, discipline and even wisdom, such as my father and mother offered my brothers and me.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said it well: “Material things are not gifts but apologies for gifts. The only true gift is a portion of thyself.” What he didn’t say is that it’s also the most joyous and rewarding gift to give.

Photo by @ch_ch/Twenty20

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.