The Encourager

How do you define "success"?

John Wooden, one of the best coaches of all time, defines success a little differently than most of us. Hint: It isn't about the awards or victories.

As you may have realized by now, I am a big fan of the famous, and probably the best, basketball coach ever, John Wooden.  Nicknamed the Wizard of Westwood, he won ten National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) national championships in a 12-year period as head coach for the UCLA Bruins, including a record seven in a row.

No other team has won more than four in a row in Division I college men's or women's basketball. Within this period, his teams won an NCAA men's basketball record 88 consecutive games. Needless to say, he was a highly-successful coach. 

When John Wooden was young, he read a poem that stayed with him over the years.

At God's footstool to confess,

A poor soul knelt and bowed his head.

"I failed."  he cried.  The master said,

"Thou didst thy best, that is success."

With that in mind he coined his own definition of success way back in 1934.

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

Think about that for a  moment. Based on this definition, only one person can ultimately judge the level of your success--- YOU.   

Anything stemming from that success is simply a by-product, whether it be the score, the trophy, fame, or fortune. They are all by-products of success rather than success itself, indicators that you perhaps succeeded in the more important contest.

That real contest, of course, is striving to reach your personal best, and that is totally under your control.  When you achieve that, you have achieved success. Period!  You are a winner and only you fully know if you won.

Remember God created you for success....not for failure. You are a winner.

Have a blessed day,


Dwaine Lee
Global Action


This post is from The Encourager, a series of over 100 emails from Global Action's founder, Dwaine Lee, originally sent between 2005-2010. Pastor Lee passed away in 2001, but we believe the words of encouragement are still relevant today. The email above was first sent in October 2005. 


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