I have had the honor of speaking with Coach Wooden many years ago and discussing his Pyramid of Success. I have found it useful in everyday life, especially when I coach young people. Being able to pass on these principles is a passion of mine. I hope you find these a help on your life journey.
The Pyramid of Success is a roadmap to successful behaviors. Coach Wooden worked on the Pyramid for 15 years, defining the 14 blocks of the Pyramid below the 15th — which was defined as Competitive Greatness.
Later, Coach Wooden added “The Mortar,” which are 10 blocks along the sides that hold the Pyramid together.
The Building Blocks:
There are 15 Inner-blocks in the Pyramid of Success. We call these the building blocks. Starting from the bottom, here are the names of each block with a short definition.
There is no substitute for work. Worthwhile results come from hard work and careful planning.
Comes from mutual esteem, respect and devotion. Like Marriage, it must not be taken for granted but requires a joint effort.
To yourself and to all those depending upon you. Keep your self-respect.
With all levels of your coworkers. Listen if you want to be heard. Be interested in finding the best way, not having your own way.
Brushes off upon those with whom you come in contact. You must truly enjoy what you are doing.
The Second Tier
Practice self-discipline and keep emotions under control. Good judgment and common sense are essential.
Be observing constantly. Stay open-minded. Be eager to learn and improve.
Cultivate the ability to make decisions and think alone. Do not be afraid of failure but learn from it.
Set a realistic goal. Concentrate on its achievement by resisting all temptations and being determined and persistent.
The Heart of the Pyramid
Mental-moral-physical. Rest, exercise, and diet must be considered. Moderation must be practiced. Dissipation must be eliminated.
A knowledge of and the ability to properly and quickly execute the fundamentals. Be prepared and cover every little detail.
A genuine consideration to others. An eagerness to sacrifice personal interests of glory for the welfare of others.
Nearing the Peak
Just being yourself. Being at ease in any situation. Never fighting yourself.
Respect without fear. May come from being prepared and keeping all things in proper perspective.
Be at your best when your best is needed. Enjoyment of a difficult challenge.
To the left and right of the Pyramid of Success, there are 10 more blocks that Coach Wooden called “The Mortar” – the left is referred to as “The Force of the Human Spirit” and the right is referred to as “The Strength of Human Character.”
Surrounding the top inner-block (Competitive Greatness) is part of The Pinnacle (Faith and Patience).
Good things take time.
The Force of the Human Spirit
For noble goals.
To any situation.
The Strength of Human Character
In thoughts and action.
Purity of intention.
In total, with the inner-blocks and the mortar, there are 25 words that make up the Pyramid of Success.
We call these 25 Proven Behaviors That Produce True Success.
Seven Point Creed
A timeless gift that his father gave him as a teenager was entitled “Seven Things to Do” – which Coach later coined as his famous “Seven Point Creed.”
- Be true to yourself.
- Help others.
- Make each day your masterpiece.
- Drink deeply from good books, especially the Bible.
- Make friendship a fine art.
- Build a shelter against a rainy day.
- Pray for guidance and count and give thanks for your blessings every day.