What's the difference between winning and succeeding?

Episode 4 of Part 1 of our Introduction series: Setting the stage for success.

Habits:  Know thyself  |  Be curious

Skills:  Responsibility |  Action

Description:  This episode introduces the problem of thinking of success or failure in terms of winning. It outlines the definition of success as presented by UCLA and NCAA coach John Wooden, and explains the importance (and difficulty) of "making the effort to do the best of which you are capable."

 


How this lesson might be applied in the classroom

This episode expands on our previous episode on the definition of success, by encouraging students to consider John Wooden's definition that success is defined by 'doing the best of which you are capable'.

This raises a number of possible questions for further discussion:

  • Is doing your best really good enough to be considered success?
  • Is there a better measure?
  • Why don't the results matter as much as the effort made?
  • If we measure success by effort put in rather than winning, how will we recognise the most successful people?
  • Do you believe that if you do the best of which you are capable that the 'results will take care of themselves'?
  • How easy is it for someone to meet the bar of 'doing the best of which you are capable'?
  • In what areas of life do you do the best of which you are capable?
  • Where might you have better results by raising your effort to your very best?
  • What stops people from doing the best of which they are capable?

Some specific discussion points

Once again, the discussion of any literary works, historical figures, or current events featuring prominent individuals offers an opportunity to discuss where people may or may not have given the best of which they are capable. 

When thinking about successful people in general, do we believe that there is a pattern behind those who rise to the top that shows they typically do the best of which they are capable? Questions may include:

  • When thinking about a very successful individual, can you think of areas where they didn't do the best of which they were capable?
  • In your own life, have you ever worked to the best of which you were capable and not been successful?
  • Have you ever worked to a standard well below your best and been successful? If so, how likely are you to be able to do that again?
  • Do you know what the best of which you are capable is?
  • How would you find out?
  • If you did the best of which you were capable and didn't win, how do you think you would feel about it?
  • If you did far less than you were capable of and didn't win, how do you think you would feel about it?

Discussing the quote from this episode:

"Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don't wish it were easier, wish you were better." — Jim Rohn

Possible areas of discussion may include:

  • Do you believe that successful people do more than unsuccessful people? Why/Why not?
  • Can you think of an example where a successful person has done more than someone less successful?
  • Would you prefer something to be easier, or that you were better able to handle it? Why?

Further information on this topic

If you'd like to dive a bit deeper on this topic, you might be interested in watching:

 

John Wooden – The Difference Between Winning and Succeeding.

 

Or you might like to read:

Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court.
by John Wooden and Steve Jamison, 1997.

They Call Me Coach.
by John Wooden, 2003.

My Personal Best : Life Lessons From an All-American Journey.
by John Wooden and Steve Jamison, 2004.

Wooden on Leadership: How to Create a Winning Organization. 
by John Wooden and Steve Jamison, 2005.


Please let us know how we could improve this episode?

We're always keen to hear how our work can be improved. If you can think of anything we can do to improve either the delivery of our content, the content itself, the exercises, or our guides to how the lesson can be applied in the classroom, please let us know.