From a sports legend: Live with joy and aim high

“Every day is a crucial test in the game of life. The longer you live, the better you understand that,” baseball Hall of Famer Ernie Banks told the audience at the 1992 MDRT Annual Meeting in Chicago, Illinois.

“As you already know, there are no shortcuts to great achievement. The difference between ‘good’ and ‘great’ is often smaller, much smaller than you realize. The edge goes to those who maintain a positive attitude,” said Banks, known for playing with immense talent and joy on the Chicago Cubs from 1953 to 1971.

Living life with an edge

“Where the slight edge does come into play, however, is in the close match-up of the everyday competitive world. In sports, the difference between winning and losing is often so slight that a slow-motion camera can barely make the measurement,” Banks said.

“Without the slight edge, you may find yourself saying, ‘So close … I came so close.’ With it, you’ll have that little extra something that will take you all the way. The edge goes to those who aim high. Always dream and reach higher than you can reach. You’ll never reach the stars if you’re aiming for the moon, but you may hit the moon if you’re aiming for a star,” he said.

The edge, according to Banks, is the difference between good and great. You achieve it by living your life with purpose, looking honestly at yourself and always giving 5% more than other people. Consistently make time for reading, physical fitness and planning your life and thinking about your goals.

“The world is full of unused talents and latent ability,” he said. “The reason these talents lie buried is that the individual hasn’t the courage to dig them up and use them. The slight edge has very little to do with luck, but it has everything to do with consistency.”

At MDRT, we encourage you to be like Ernie Banks. Don’t hold back. Play the game of life with all of your talent and joy.


Hear the original presentation from the 1992 MDRT Annual Meeting. (MDRT members only)

On MDRT’s website, you’ll find hundreds of Annual Meeting presentations. If you’re an MDRT member, make sure you’re logged in to see all of the content exclusive to MDRT members. There’s also still time to register for the 2021 Annual Meeting Virtual Event, June 7-9.

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