John Wooden and The Pyramid of Success

John Wooden's Pyramid of Success is a magnificent compendium of values. It was developed in the sports field, but over time it has spread to other fields, including personal life.
John Wooden and The Pyramid of Success

Last update: 12 January, 2022

John Wooden devised the Pyramid of Success as a role model for basketball players. However, over time, it moved from the playing fields to become a scheme that was followed and practiced by companies and people all over the world as a tool for achieving their goals.

John Wooden was a basketball coach at the University of UCLA. Under his leadership, the team won ten of the 12 titles in a college final. However, he didn’t go down in history for those triumphs, but for the philosophy, he used to help his team achieve them. His ideas were synthesized in the Pyramid of Success.

The Pyramid of Success isn’t a simple recipe book with instructions for obtaining success. As a matter of fact, it’s more to do with the values behind those who achieve what they set out to do. Indeed, not only did it change people’s ways of visualizing their goals, but it also marked a way of understanding life and achieving objectives. Let’s take a closer look.

Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you’re capable of becoming.”

-John Wooden-

Man happy about professional success, suggesting the pyramid of success.

The bottom of the Pyramid of Success

John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success is based on the idea that there are three major areas you need to work on when you’re trying to achieve a goal. Each of these areas coincides with a section of the pyramid: the base, the body, and the vertex. The components that make up the base hold up everything else. They’re as follows:

  • Industriousness. As a rule, the path to success is work. Worthwhile results come from careful planning and hard work.
  • Enthusiasm. To persevere in daily life, you need to have the desire to do what you’re doing. This equals enthusiasm and it’ll also brush off onto others around you.
  • Friendship Other people are always present in your own achievements. For example, when you feel friendly towards others, your enthusiasm increases. This facilitates your own efforts.
  • Loyalty. Be loyal, to yourself and to all those who depend on you. Indeed, loyalty is consistent with what you want.
  • Cooperation. When you encourage others, in turn, you get encouragement from them. Consequently, you’re more likely to achieve what you want.

The body of the Pyramid of Success

The second major component of the Pyramid of Success is the body. This corresponds to the values that help you maintain a purpose over time. The elements that make up this component are as follows:

  • Initiative. You have to go for what you want and not wait for it to come to you. Therefore, you must make decisions and take action to move forward. You should never be afraid of failure.
  • Intentness. Set a realistic goal. Concentrate on achieving it by being determined and persistent.
  • Self-control. This concerns keeping your balance in difficult times. Practice self-discipline and keep your emotions under control.
  • Alertness. You should never be overconfident, but watch out, especially when there are changes to your plans. A goal is never reached until it’s actually reached. Even when you’re only one step away, you could still lose it.
  • Condition. To achieve what you want, you have to prepare, learn, develop skills, and correct any weaknesses. Therefore, you must maintain a good physical, emotional, and mental condition.
  • Skill. Essential tasks should be repeated and practiced until you can do them quickly and correctly.
  • Team spirit. To achieve a goal, you must think collectively. That’s because you’ll always need the help of others. At the same time, the best purposes are always those that benefit many.
United hands

The vertex

At the top of the Pyramid of Success, all the above values converge. They result in three traits that are essential for you to achieve everything that you set out to do. These three elements are the following:

  • Poise. Be yourself. Don’t ever fight with yourself, whatever the situation.
  • Confidence. Respect without fear. Be prepared and keep everything in perspective.
  • Competitive Greatness. Knowing how to compete means you grow in times of difficulty. Furthermore, you respond with courage to challenges. In fact, difficulties make goals more attractive.

John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success has become a model for many organizations. As you can see, it’s value-based but achievement-oriented. As a matter of fact, it’s a mind map that helps you focus on what’s important, leaving aside what isn’t.

It might interest you...
The 7 C Method Helps You Achieve Your Goals
Exploring your mind
Read it in Exploring your mind
The 7 C Method Helps You Achieve Your Goals

The 7 C method is a simple tool that helps you make decisions and achieve your goals. This article explains what the 7 Cs are.

 



  • Wooden, J. R., & Carty, J. (2006). La pirámide del éxito. Peniel.