Coach Wooden's Pyramid of Success: Intentness
The position of every block in Coach Wooden's Pyramid of Success is significant. None more significant perhaps than the placement of the "Intentness" block directly on top of the foundational "Enthusiasm."
Intentness, Coach Wooden wrote in The Essential Wooden, "is the ability to resist temptation and stay the course, to concentrate on your objective with determination and resolve."
He also describes what Intentness is not: "Impatience is wanting too much too soon. Intentness doesn't involve wanting something."
Coach Wooden was a pious Christian and his insights have their antecedents in the teachings of Jesus. And of Buddha, and of Lao-tzu (author of the Tao te Ching,) though he may never have studied these other traditions.
While most Christians would not question the Coach's salvation or his inspiration, adherents of these other faiths are just as likely to consider his principles "enlightened." Put another way, wisdom has no branding. It is self-proving. Ceasing to want is a central theme in all of these spiritual disciplines, and that's exactly what Coach Wooden is advising.
Spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle has written a couple of books that are essentially a modern synthesis of all of these ancient teachings. Echoing Coach Wooden's emphasis, Tolle writes, "When you want to arrive at your goal more than you want to be doing what you are doing, you become stressed."
You have to run laps for their own sake. You have to practice for its own sake. You have to focus on this game--and what you are doing in this game--for its own sake. Constant present-moment awareness is at the heart of Coach Wooden's principle of Intentness.
Enthusiasm is foundational to Intentness because you can't have that kind of focused activity if you don't really care about what you're doing. "If your heart's not in your work you cannot prepare and perform at your highest level," wrote the coach in Wooden: A Lifetime of Reflections and Observations.
"Enthusiasm knows where it is going," writes Tolle, "but at the same time, it is deeply at one with the present moment, the source of its aliveness, its joy and its power. Enthusiasm 'wants' nothing because it lacks nothing."