Living and Giving

The Classic Pamela Positive: “Make Each Day Your Masterpiece.” – John Wooden

Share This Post

“Make each day your masterpiece.”

— John Wooden

American Basketball Player and Coach


Unmatched. That’s what Coach John Wooden is asking us to be.

To live a life unmatched each day — which is a masterpiece — means living according to your values.


Wooden had an incredible record.  He had ten NCAA national championships in a 12-year period. He was also the first person inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, as both a player and a coach. 


When I think about a masterpiece, it seems a gargantuan goal.  I think of something more along the lines of an Olympian. Yet it doesn’t always mean running (or winning) a decathalon.  


Instead, the goal is… it is being your own masterpiece.


That means today, you live with kindness in all the minute interactions you might have. It’s not just about doing your best, yet also treating others your best. You, your being and presence, are the kind masterpiece that positively affects the world. So, similar to Coach Wooden\’s team, you get on the court and shoot your best, defend your best, and have great sportsmanship at every point you can. 


From living your masterpiece as an individual, and on this basis of values — only then can you paint another masterpiece.


Pick a passion… be it gardening, being an excellent bookkeeper, being elected to office, writing a short story, exploring the best hikes and appreciating nature…  And step by step, create excellence. 

Get inducted into your own hall of fame. 

You Are a Masterpiece and I Believe I\’ll See Great Things From You,



John Robert Wooden is considered the greatest NCAA basketball head coach of all time. But many people knew him simply as coach. On the court, Wooden led the UCLA Bruins men’s basketball program to an impressive number of wins, with a 664-162 record, and was named NCAA College Basketball Coach of the Year six times.

In his more than 40 years as a coach, and through his years as head coach at UCLA, Wooden built teams, an elite athletic program and a legacy that astounded the sports world. While his success on the court is heavily celebrated, Wooden’s teachings extend far beyond the realm of sports. A master teacher, he created the Pyramid of Success and wrote several books to share his philosophy with the world.

Wooden retired in 1975 but continued to be an influential figure in sports. He received several awards after retiring, including the Reagan Distinguished American Award in 1995 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2003.

Presenting the Presidential Medal of Freedom, George W. Bush said, “All his players will tell you, the most important man on their team was not on the court. He was the man who taught generations of basketball players the fundamentals of hard work and discipline, patience and teamwork. Coach Wooden remains a part of their lives as a teacher of the game, and as an example of what a good man should be.”

He was married to Nellie Riley for 53 years, and they had two children. After a long illness, Nell died in 1985. John was by her bedside.John had a monthly ritual until his own death 25 years later, of visiting her grave and writing her a love letter. Wooden died June 4, 2010, four months shy of his 100th birthday. He is survived by his two children and seven grandchildren.

Bio Source: Wikipedia and The Wooden Effect Website; Image: Fig¹.  Photo by Daniel Reche on Pexels , Fig2 Photo by Rich Clarkson/NCAA Photos on Getty Images , Fig3 Photo by Pavel Nekoranec at Unsplash, Fig4 Photo by Adrianne Geo at Unsplash, Fig5 Photo by Hassan Ouajbir at Pexel, Fig6 Photo by Rich Clarkson on Los Angeles Times, Fig 7 Photo by Jade Stephens on Unsplash, Bio Photo at Wikimedia