THE MORTAR

If you are a frequent visitor to this site you are quite familiar with John Wooden's Pyramid of Success. The "Pyramid" may be the most complete description of what individuals need to strive for in their pursuit of success, which Coach Wooden defines as, "peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming."

Interesting that Coach feels you should look at success, not as something concrete you achieve or attain like a championship or certain status, but simply by being "at peace with your efforts." Coach spent years trying to decide what qualities individuals must possess if they are really going to give their very best effort. This became "The Pyramid"

Many people are able to rattle off the fifteen "Blocks" of the Pyramid. The Cornerstones of Industriousness and Enthusiasm with Friendship, Cooperation, and Loyalty making up the rest of the Foundation. Self-Control, Intentness, Alertness, and Initiative make up the second tier while Condition, Team Spirit and Skill are at the Heart of the Pyramid. The above qualities may help someone develop Poise and Confidence and a person who possesses all of those qualities may achieve Competitive Greatness.

While I believe Coach Wooden was looking, primarily, at an individual's success - this also can apply to a team or organizations pursuit of that peace of mind. Different people in the group may exhibit some of those qualities in a more developed manner. I believe that as you are creating your team, this is important to keep this in mind. Someone, maybe multiple someones, need to fill each of these roles in order for the group to approach success.

However, what I really want to spend some time on is an oft-overlooked and under-rated part of John Wooden's Pyramid of Success. In addition to the qualities the Blocks represent, Coach also felt there were a series of necessary traits that, I think, may help develop and maintain the qualities of the Pyramid to an even greater extent. Wooden calls these ten traits "The Mortar" of the Pyramid. Mortar is what holds together any structure, and without it even the strongest materials (the Blocks) could fall apart. We should all concentrate on working on these traits, to solidify the work we do on developing the blocks of the Pyramid.

The Pyramid is held together by Sincerity and properly focused Ambition. There are plenty of people who are ambitious, but who choose to cut corners or bend the rules in a belief that the end justifies the means. Sincerity with others as well as a Honesty, in all ways, should guide ones' ambition. Achievement attained any other way, is not really much of an achievement at all.

On any journey there is bound to be obstacles to overcome and adjustments to the game plan. One of Coach Wooden's (and my) favorite quotes is "Things work out best for those that make the best of the way that things work out." In order to fully embrace this philosophy one must have tremendous Adaptability and Resourcefulness in any situation.

In any of those cases an individual must continue to Fight, but it is important to fight with Integrity. Do the right thing because it's the right thing to do and show some Reliability. When others depend on you, as teammates depend on each other, that reliability is what builds trust. This trust allows each individual to do their job, because they know the other member  will do his. When that breaks down on either side, there is a subconscious (and sometimes conscious) tendency to not live up to one end of the bargain.

The two most emphasized traits in "The Mortar" are Patience and Faith. Anything worth being successful at does not come easy and will take time to build. It is impossible to get there without these two traits. Patience and Faith does not mean just sitting back and letting things happen. Generally those are the people that end up asking, "What just happened"?

Patience and Faith are both active processes. Patience is progressing at the appropriate rate, and not trying to get somewhere too soon. Often people are in such a hurry to achieve  "success" they try to rush. It is vital to go through the proper progression and at the proper rate. e prepared for when the time comes, but don't rush to get there before being prepared. This is probably one of the most common reasons for failure in any group, team, organization or business. Too many people think, "God grant me patience...but I want it NOW!"

I believe that Faith is pretty close to the "peace of mind" John Wooden pursues in trying to attain success. When someone knows they are giving their best effort to do the things they need to be doing, it's much easier to have faiththat will happen. If an individual is doing those two things they must understand that things will work out about as they should.

This is true in life, and on the scoreboard. Absolutely believing in this, is having Faith.

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