LEARNING FROM THE WISDOM OF OTHERS

We in the 21st century have no corner on wisdom, despite all our amazing progress in the scientific field. I have been collecting quotations for over a year to use on my Happiness Cards, and I use only words from those no longer living to avoid infringing on copyright protection. Choosing what to include and what to leave out has been an interesting process, and I imagine one could glean a fairly accurate psychological picture of me from the choices I have made.

I am particularly drawn to quotes by people who have had some relevance in my life. John Wooden, UCLA basketball coach and wise man, was coaching when I was a grad student there. He led the team to 10 national championships in 12 years, a record that still stands.  He became world-renown without losing his humility. Many of his instructions to his players have become words that guide lives far removed from the basketball court, and have become known as “Woodenisms

He was born and raised in Indiana, and his quotes are down-to-earth, practical and very Mid-western. “Things turn out best for the people that make the best of the way things turn out,” is a quote that displays his gift with words as well as his practical philosophy. “Never mistake activity for achievement.” That’s one I need to tape to my computer!

Someone else who touched my life and whom I quote is Peace Pilgrim. She’s not as well known as John Wooden, but just as wise in her own way. She began walking for peace at the 1953 Rose Parade in Pasadena, California, and crossed the country on foot several times. I felt as if I was walking in her footsteps when I was part of the Great Peace March and walked from Los Angeles to Washington, DC.

Her quotation from one of my Happiness Cards is: “When you find peace within yourself, you become the kind of person who can live at peace with others.” Her philosophy can be summed up with the following words: “This is the way of peace: Overcome evil with good, and falsehood with truth and hatred with love.”

The internet is a treasure trove of quotations. Spending time culling through the hundreds available on line continues to be one of my favorite activities.

WISE WORDS FROM COACHES?

I’m always on the lookout for good quotations for my Happiness Cards. It’s a fun and relaxing activity to read the wise, inspiring and sometimes hilarious words from all kinds of people. I haven’t been surprised that well-known authors and world leaders are often quoted. But coaches?

Ocean Scene

Some of the best quotes I’ve found come from the late John Wooden of UCLA basketball fame. He was a wise and humble man who warned his players, “Talent is God-given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.” I could have saved myself hours of grief if I’d followed his admonition: “If you don’t have time to do it right when will you have time to do it over?”

Yogi Berra, coach of the NY Yankees, is almost as famous for his malapropisms as his coaching. His statement that, “Baseball is ninety percent mental, and the other half is physical,” is pretty typical. I’m not a sports fan, but even I’ve heard quotes by Vince Lombardi.

Sports lends itself to humorous observations. It was Erma Bombeck who wrote: “If a man watches three football games in a row he should be declared legally dead.” I can only imagine what her Sunday afternoons must have been like. Humorist, Dave Barry observed that, ”Skiing combines outdoor fun with knocking down trees with your face.”

Perhaps it’s not that surprising after all, that quotations from the world of coaching and sports are plentiful. Many games can be fashioned into metaphors for life. Coaches and players are given plenty of opportunity to spout off about the latest game and are heard by millions. Probably you and I say something memorable every now and then too, but who hears us?

Here’s your chance! Share your wise words in the Comment box.