Summary of The Difference Between Winning and Succeeding

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Many people define winning as earning the highest grade, scoring the most points in a game or becoming rich. In this classic 2001 TED Talk, the late John Wooden, legendary UCLA basketball coach, contests such popular perceptions of success. With wisdom and sincerity, Wooden offers an alternate definition while bestowing poetry, lessons from his father and his own erudite advice. Wooden’s oration provides a colorful picture of the man who won abundant accolades during his career but, more important, achieved great personal success. getAbstract appreciates Wooden’s lyrical reminder of a higher standard; success comes from character, not accomplishments.

About the Speaker

John Wooden (1910–2010) taught English and coached basketball at UCLA for 40 years. ESPN considers him the greatest sports coach of all time.



When legendary basketball coach John Wooden worked as a teacher in the 1930s, he was disillusioned to learn how many parents defined success for their children by urging them to win in the classroom or on the sports field. This thinking ran counter to Wooden’s philosophy. He recognized that all children were not equally gifted. Drawing on his father’s sage teachings, Wooden coined his own definition of success to which his students and players could aspire: “peace of mind attained only through self-satisfaction in knowing you made...

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