The Thought for the Day – John Wooden

Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do. – John Wooden


John Wooden was the head basketball coach at UCLA from 1948-75. He won ten national championships, a record for a men’s basketball coach, including seven straight, a record for anyone and some regard him as the best there was at what he did. We went to his basketball camp a couple of times as a kid and still remember that Coach was a big believer in focusing on what you could control, like preparation, effort and patience, and not getting too worked up over matters that were out of your hand. Today’s Thought is completely in step with how Wooden lived his life.

Today’s Thought is sometimes easier said than done. It’s human nature to fuss over things we have no control over and to lament when things don’t go our way, even if the event was caused by completely random factors.

While part of us might find this soothing, it’s wasted effort. As we note here regularly, there are an awful lot of people on this planet, every single one of them leading random lives, including some who directly influence how or if we are able to go about our business.

Focusing on what we can do, while ignoring what we cannot, is liberating because that means we are focusing on what we should be doing with our lives and not merely spending time worrying about and reacting to outside influences.

Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.

The hard part in getting on in this world is not finding what we can do. That’s what our hearts and instincts are for. Our hearts tell us where to go and our instincts tell us how to get there. All we have to do is muster the courage to listen to them.

No, the hard part is doing what we can do every day. It doesn’t do us, or our fellow beings, any good to be on our path some days and not others, or some weeks or years and not others. We must be on our paths every single day. This is not always easy, either because the focus required to do something every day is not easy to come by.

Doing what we can do is all we are capable of. We cannot do more, but we must not do less. If we have the courage and the diligence to do what we are capable of every day, what is meant to happen in our lives usually does.

The Thought for the Day runs regularly. Quotes are from Gaylon’s private stock.

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