#1707 Competitive Greatness

The Summit of Wooden’s Pyramid of Success

We’ve mentioned John Wooden a couple times over the last handful of +1s (here and here).

Let’s spend some more time with the Wizard of Westwood.

As I’ve shared (many times) before, Coach Wooden is one of my all-time favorite Heroes. I often have a Heroic portrait of a fierce-looking younger Wooden on my office wall barking at me to remember to dominate the fundamentals and do my best.

As you know if you’re a sports fan, he’s considered THE greatest coach of the twentieth century. His UCLA Bruins won a staggering 10 NCAA National Championships in 12 years. They also had an 88-game winning streak and won 38 straight NCAA tournament games.

Wooden only had ONE losing season in his entire 41-year coaching career. And, that losing season came in his FIRST season coaching high school basketball.


We had featured wisdom from the Wizard of Westwood in our Notes on Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court and Be Quick But Don’t Hurry by Andrew Hill.


I somehow managed to go all this time without reading his book Wooden on Leadership and my goodness am I glad my dear friend (and big Heroic Investor and Heroic Coach!) Jeff Everage reminded me that I hadn’t included it in my collection yet.

I read that book on my flights to and from Norfolk, Virginia (Feb 2024) where I was honored to spend time with Captain Dave Pollard and his leadership team on the USS GEORGE HW BUSH.

To put it in perspective, CAPT Pollard and his crew helped defend Ukraine and our allies.

I had the privilege of leading a 3-hour workshop to help them roll out Heroic across the 20 departments of their carrier to serve the 5,000 sailors who are serving my family (and your family!) so profoundly.



I repeat: Without the men and women (and their families!) dedicating their lives to protecting the freedoms we can so easily take for granted, there’s NO WAY we will have a shot at fulfilling our Mission of helping create a world in which 51% of humanity is flourishing by 2051.

Which is why it is such a SACRED HONOR to serve the Force and their Families who have sacrificed so much to preserve the freedoms on which our flourishing are so dependent.

We’ll talk about Coach Wooden’s fifteen virtue-blocks in his Pyramid of Success in our next +1.

For now, I want to shine a quick spotlight on the TOP of his Pyramid.

You know what he says is THE ultimate expression of all the other virtues he worked so hard to help his players embody?

Competitive Greatness.

Which he defines as “being your best when your best is needed.”

You know how you tap into that?


Which is why Wooden defined success as “peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best of which you are capable.”

There’s a single word for how to go about achieving that ultimate success (and winning the ultimate game of life)…

That word is…


Here’s to closing the gap and giving the world all we’ve got as we activate our Heroic potential and cultivate the ability to be our best when our best is needed.

All day. Every day.



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