The Thought for the Day – John Wooden

I will get ready, and then, perhaps, my time will come. – John Wooden

John Wooden (1910-2010) was an American college basketball coach, primarily known for his tenure with the UCLA Bruins, where he won ten national titles, a record for men’s teams, including seven in a row, a record for anyone. He also coached at Indiana State, a tenure which included a 7-7 record as their baseball coach. In one of the interesting twists life offers from time to time, Wooden might well have been the coach at Minnesota had a storm not knocked out the phone lines there. Wooden also served our country honorably in the Navy during World War II. We attended his basketball camp twice growing up and long after we’ve had to pass and pick away or block out, his lessons about patience and effort remain.

Wooden not only preached this, he lived it, too. He started out coaching high school basketball in his native Indiana before moving to Indiana State and then UCLA. Once at UCLA, he did not win his first national title until his 16th season, a length of time that would be unprecedented at the highest levels of major division college basketball today.  

…and then, perhaps, my time will come.

We’ve always thought this line could be taken two ways. On the one hand, there could be a singular moment in our lives, a moment we’ve long waited for and worked towards, perhaps unconsciously. It is the type of moment that defines a life because a single days work could well be an achievement for eternity.

On the other hand, our time comes every day. Every morning when we look at ourselves in the mirror we are faced with 24 hours. All of us have them and it is the only commodity every human is issued in equal measure. Every day we have to decide if we are going to put these 24 hours to advantage or squander them.

How we put them to advantage is up to us. You are reading this because writing is how I make my time serve me. If I tried to repair cars I would be going against my grain because I do not have a knack for repairing cars and would not be doing anyone any good by doing so.

We will find what we are meant to do inside us. Our hearts will tell us where to go and our instincts will tell us how to get there. When we find what those talents are and cultivate them, then we will be ready when our time comes.

Editor’s Note: The “single days work” line was stolen from an American radio announcer named Gabriel Heatter.

The Thought for the Day runs regularly. Gaylon began stockpiling quotes in 1988.


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