I was listening to the satellite radio, which was tuned to my “90s” channel, when a Boyz II Men classic came on called, “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday,” which was a hit for them back in 1991. As a teenager, I remember that song would always find its way back to the radio station around graduation time. It got me thinking about the Class of 2012 and what hopeful futures they have.
Graduation is a very exciting time because it marks the end of an era in your life and the beginning of another. It is hard to say goodbye to teachers, mentors, friends and family members, but with each milestone in our life there is an increase in responsibility and opportunity. Focus on the goodbyes for only a short period of time, then move to the future and direct your attention there. How are you going to live your life? How are you going to make a difference? What are your values? What do you stand for?
I’ve gathered some of my favorite thoughts and quotes from John Wooden, who is one of the best examples of character and leadership in modern times. He achieved 10 national basketball championships during his time as UCLA head mens basketball coach. Even after his death in 2010, his teachings and philosophies are still used and applied in gyms , in board rooms and in classrooms across the country.
“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation. Character is what you really are. Reputation is what other people say you are.”
“Never mistake activity for achievement.”
“Discipline yourself and others won’t need to.”
“You never fail if you know in your heart that you did the best of which you are capable.”
“You can always look back and see where you might have done something differently, changed this or that. If you can learn something, fine, but never second-guess yourself. It’s wasted effort … And if you complain about it to other people, you’re also wasting their time. Nothing is gained by wasting all of that time.”
“When you improve a little each day, eventually big things occur … Don’t look for the big, quick improvement. Seek the small improvement one day at a time.”
John Wooden is still teaching and we can still learn, even the Class of 2012.