Channeling our Inner Ernie Banks: The Power of Positivity

Permit me some self-indulgence on this one. I have joked for years that being a life-long Cubs fan provided great training for a career in sales – it has taught me how to deal with disappointment and adversity, how to maintain optimism and good will, and that attitude is the biggest factor in one’s happiness and success. No one represented those qualities more than Ernie Banks. “Mr. Cub” passed away recently at the age of 83. 

His success in sports, and in life, is a shining example of how to achieve success. Banks spent his youth in segregated Dallas. His high school did not even have a baseball team, yet his athleticism let him play for the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro League. He was the Cubs’ first black player. He attributed his agility and athleticism to days spent picking cotton. Yet, he was forever smiling and never quoted complaining, even though his entire Hall of Fame career was spent without a World Series or Pennant.

I have never heard anyone say anything negative about him. To the contrary, if anyone spoke about him at all, they talked about his good will, his smile and his humility.

In life, whether at work, in the community, or in the home, there are always examples we can reference to mold our behavior patterns. Unfortunately, most of what you hear these days in the media is not about the Ernie Banks of the world, but of much more negative role models. I fear the baseline of societal behaviors is more negative than positive. We need more positive role models to demonstrate that a positive attitude may be the most important weapon a person has in his or her arsenal to be successful and happy.

Attitude was everything to Ernie Banks. He had all friends and no enemies. So how do we emulate that attitude in our workday, in our careers? Norman Vincent Peale wrote books about PMA – Positive Mental Attitude. It’s about looking for the good in people and experiences. It’s about not taking people’s pettiness personally. I think it is a fundamental of Emotional Intelligence. If you look for the upside, you will likely find it. Conversely, if you look for the downside, you will probably find it as well.

Attitudes are contagious. Are yours worth catching? ~Dennis and Wendy Mannering

When it comes to management and leadership, attitude is crucial. Leadership requires followers. “Lead to create followers,” was stated in Dan Ebener’s book, Blessings for Leaders. I cannot think of a more important attribute to create followers than a positive attitude, assuming the requisite knowledge and capability are there in the first place.


The only disability in life is a bad attitude. ~Scott Hamilton

If you aren't fired with enthusiasm, you will be fired with enthusiasm. ~Vince Lombardi

Excellence is not a skill. It is an attitude. ~Ralph Marston

Unhappiness is best defined as the difference between our talents and our expectations. ~Edward de BonoObserver, 12 June 1977

Anywhere you go liking everyone, everyone will be likeable. ~Mignon McLaughlinThe Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966

Let’s play two today! ~Ernie Banks