August 25th 2013 Witnesses-John Wooden-What is Success?

What is SUCCESS???  We all strive for it and stress about it, but how do we grab hold of it?  As we close our “Witnesses” series, we look at the life and legacy of John Wooden and how he learned from Jesus the secret to true success.

Witnesses: John Wooden-Success

August 25th, 2013  by Kasey Crawford

Today’s Passages:  Matthew 25:14-30


What is success?

Where did this definition of success come from?

In general…

“I have always tried to make it clear that basketball is not the ultimate. It is of small importance in comparison to the total life we live. There is only one kind of life that truly wins, and that is the one that places ____________ in the hands of the _____________.  Until that is done, we are on an aimless course that runs in circles and goes nowhere.” –JW



One time he was asked what he would like God to say to him when he dies and goes to heaven, Wooden replied, “_________ __________” (which is from Matthew 25:14–30, the parable of the talents)

There are two parts of Jesus’ story that make up Wooden’s very biblical definition of success that he rooted his life in.


The 1st lesson from Jesus is: “Be a ________ _________ with what God has given you.”

Or as Coach Wooden said in his maxims:

“Perform at your best when your best is required. Your best is required ________ day.”

“Make everyday a masterpiece.”

“Don’t let what you can’t do interfere with what you _______ do.”

“Don’t measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability.”

“It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.”


The 2nd lesson from Jesus’ teaching is: “success has nothing to do with ______________ yourself to _____________ else.”

Or as Coach Wooden said in his maxims:

“Success is a peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing ________ did __________ best to become the best that YOU are capable of becoming.”

“Failure is not making the effort to execute near YOUR own particular level of competition, Now, in some cases, the other fellow is just better than you are, and that’s no failure.”


If you put these two aspects of Jesus’ teaching together, there is a biblical definition of success that John Wooden really lived by:

Success is being a _________ __________ for an audience of ______.


Our society lives in a vicious trap of envy, jealousy and comparison, where nobody ever feels good enough because everybody is supposed to be the best at everything.  Though it’s impossible, we try and we restlessly and frantically run about life trying to please the expectations of other people and their definitions of success while our savior is extending a life-giving invitation to find peace in simply being a faithful steward for an audience of one.


How can you live out this truth with a practical change in your actions?

Kasey Crawford