John Wooden’s 9 Promises for a Successful Life

John Wooden

If you want to change your life, you must first change the way you think.

As so many of the world’s top coaches and achievers have taught, your attitude towards life—what you think of yourself and the world around you—will eventually create the conditions you experience. And the attitude you choose to adopt is completely up to you.

One of the most effective ways to change your attitude is to make promises to yourself. A promise to yourself should be viewed as an ironclad contract that you MUST follow through on.

The promises you make to yourself will take goal-setting and self-talk to a whole new level.

Legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden recommended the following nine promises that should be made by anyone seeking happiness and success…


1. Promise yourself that you will talk health, happiness, and prosperity as often as possible.

2. Promise yourself to make all your friends know there is something in them that is special and that you value.

3. Promise to think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best in yourself and others.

4. Promise to be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.

5. Promise yourself to be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.

6. Promise to forget the mistakes of the past and press on to greater achievements in the future.

7. Promise to wear a cheerful appearance at all times and give every person you meet a smile.

8. Promise to give so much time to improving yourself that you have no time to criticize others.

9. Promise to be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit trouble to press on you.


– John Wooden, from his book Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court

If you’re struggling to find success, peace, and happiness, start living by the above nine promises.

Doing so will have an instant and positive affect on your life, and the lives of those around you.