Full transcript of Les Brown’s motivational speech: Have Courage, Be Fearless (Edited version)
Listen/Download MP3 audio: HAVE COURAGE, BE FEARLESS – Les Brown Motivational Speech
Les Brown – Author & Motivational Speaker
In what you’ve done with your life thus far, is it giving you what you want? Is it giving you what you want?
When you look toward the future, when you look at all that’s going on out here, is there some place within yourself you say “Hey, I know I need to be out there in that arena. I know I can do more than what I’ve been doing. I know that there’s some great music that I have within me that I haven’t brought out here yet.”
Is that something that you begin to look at within yourself?
See, I say if you look at your life, and if you’re not getting what you want, you owe it to yourself to do something differently. If you want a job – 85%, they say, of Americans go to jobs but they’re unhappy. If you’re doing something 8 hours a day that you don’t like, it’s not giving you what you want, it’s not giving you a strong feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment.
You’re miserable, you hate to go there. You’re depressed just thinking about it, you’re saying the ‘Thank God, it’s Friday’ song every week. If that’s what it is, you owe it to yourself to start strategically working to change directions.
See, but you know what most people will do? Most people will resist change. Most people will fight change as if change would be worse than what they’re already experiencing.
See, they know this, they’re familiar with this: most people will not challenge the unknown, they won’t just step out there.
Well see, there’s certain things that got to be in place, they got to see it all together. And life isn’t like that. That’s not how you grow.
So as you look at your life, you think “I’m not getting what I want”, as you begin to look toward the future, begin to know that whatever it takes for you to create that, you’ve got that in you. You got that.
You’ve got genius in you, you’ve got goodness in you, you’ve got creativeness in you. If you decide to take the initiative to change the current quality of your life, I say to you that you will find that the universe is on your side; that life is on your side.
Now, will it be turbulent? Yes. Will it be easy? No, no. Will you have some opposition? Yes. Will I make a lot of mistakes? Yes.
Will I get hurt? Yes!
A lot of people won’t try anything different in life because they don’t want to get hurt. Let me tell you something: it’s too much pain to duck! Pain is everywhere. You can hide under here, it will come where you are. It’s everywhere. Viktor Frankl calls it ‘unavoidable suffering’.
You can’t duck it. But most people spend their life not wanting to deal with the pain of rejection, the pain of defeat, the pain of being disappointed, the pain of losing, the pain of failure, the pain of being criticized, the pain of not being liked, the pain, the pain, the pain. That’s called life!
Life is full of pain. It’s everywhere. But guess what, there’s no gain without pain. Because it’s the pain of regret that you experience.
“If I had it to do over again,” that’s a pain. Don’t you know that? When you know — I was in a seminar once and this lady stood up: “If I had my life to live over again.” She talked about all of the things that she would do and you can feel the pain of regret in her voice.
The pain of regret. She still experienced pain. She was trying not to experience the pain of defeat, the pain of disappointment, the pain of loss, the pain of lack of support. And she still experienced pain. It was right there. We can’t get around it.
Most people are governed by their habits, their fears, and the opinions of others. A lot of people never try anything differently because they have been convinced by people in their lives that they value, that they can’t do it.
They’re living within the context of the opinions that other people have of them: the low expectations. Many people doubt themselves because when they thought about doing something in some critical point in their life, somebody they respected and honored, somebody they believed in, somebody that they loved, someone they trusted, said: “you can’t do that”. And they accepted that.
As you look at your life, ask yourself the question: what would your life be like, what would your life look like, if you decided not to care what people thought of you?
What would your life be like if you decided to give up some of your fears? What would your life be like if you decided to become courageous? What would your life be like if you decided to act on your dream? If you did what you felt in your heart?
Do you know what courageous means? Tom Ruskin and Randy Reed said that courage comes from a French word which means “of the heart”.
But how does it feel to you? He says – you know, it takes courage to live. He says most people go through life not allowing themselves to step out because they don’t want to let go. They don’t want to be blown around, they don’t want to be moved. The courage to face life’s swirling wind of contradictions, the courage to love yourself, the courage to love – for years I was afraid to love – the courage to take a chance, the courage to be who you are.
He says, “Courage isn’t for somebody else, for medals, applause or moral debts. Courage is what at that moment feels most right for you. Not just situational ethics, but what feels right in your heart.” The word: of the heart. What feels right in your heart.
One great philosopher says, “Cowards die many times before their deaths. The valiant never taste of death but once.”
What does that mean, that valiant people aren’t afraid? No, no, no. It means that they experience that fear, and they move forward. They move forward anyhow.
Many people are dead now. Many people are allowing their dreams to die. Many people allowing their ideas to lie dormant and collect dust. Many people have all this talent and ability that they are allowing to be buried inside of them, that they will take with them to their graves, because they didn’t have the courage to be who they are.
And I say as you begin to look toward the future and manifesting your greatness, it’s going to take everything in you. Everything in you. Your life deserves the concentrated effort to begin to look at how is it that I can express more of me? How is it that I can bring my ideas out here now? And start living with a sense of urgency, because you’re here today, you’re gone today.
Life is unpredictable. It’s uncertain. There are no guarantees, no guarantees out here at all. So holding back, what are you waiting on?
Ask yourself: What’s the benefit of your waiting? What’s the benefit of your not living your dream? What’s the benefit of not listening to yourself? Oh, please, listen to yourself.
You know the feelings — if you start listening to the feelings in your heart, and I’m doing it now more every day, I find that my feelings – I can trust them.
And I say to you, that as you look toward the future, you look at life on a daily basis – if there is something that you have been given, if you’ve heard something within yourself, that you know that – that what you’re doing now doesn’t fit for you, doesn’t work for you, it’s not giving you what you want, and there’s something else that you want to do, don’t allow that inner doubt in you to talk you out of it.
To build a case on why you can’t have it, to tell you why you’re not good enough. You ignore that inner voice and all of the external voices. Don’t judge the possibilities for what you can do based upon the circumstances, because the circumstances won’t determine who you are.
Don’t determine what you’re able to do based upon your resources. Don’t determine what’s possible for you based upon where your life is right now. Where your life is right now is not you. That’s just what it is right now.
But the possibilities for you are unlimited. If you’re in a rebuilding process, it’s unlimited. If you’re coming back from adversity and devastation, it’s unlimited of what you can do. That’s the capacity of human beings. It doesn’t matter how many mistakes you’ve made, it doesn’t matter how many flops you’ve had, it doesn’t matter how much money you’ve lost. In fact, I see it only as an investment of what you learn from life, not losses, but investments of what’s possible for you.
And I say to you that once you start listening to yourself and as you begin to act on your dream, as you start just trying to find your way, doing what you can with what you have, you will start seeing things opening up for you. You will start attracting people. You say “Where’d they come from?” Things will start coming together, clicking for you, you say “Whoa”, you start brainstorming – ideas will come from nowhere as you focus on them.
The key to it is to begin to focus on what it is you want to do. “Why, Les, why is that important?” Because as you focus on that what you want to do, that which we focus on, that which we give our energy to, it will begin to multiply, it will begin to expand, it will begin to develop your consciousness, and out of that comes your greatness. Out of that comes a commitment, out of that comes a passion for life, out of that comes a special power that you have in you that you haven’t even called on yet.
See, the powers that we have will never reveal themselves if we don’t challenge them. If we don’t put ourselves in the position where we have to use them.
So one of the most important things — I was reading a book that’s a really interesting book called ‘Instant Millionaire’ and the guy said “Put yourself in a position where you can’t retreat, where it’s do or die, sink or swim.”
Here’s what you’ll find out: You’ll develop incredible swimming skills. You’ll find yourself stroking unlike you’re ever seen before. Through the inspiration of desperation, you become more creative than ever before.
So what is it, how do we handle that whole piece? Throw your whole self into it. See, most people go at it tentatively. They don’t give all their stuff, they don’t concentrate, they don’t put everything they’ve got in them.
One guy wrote a book called “All you can do is all you can do, and all you can do is enough.” But he said, “Make sure you do all you can do”. And if we are honest this evening, we know that we haven’t done all we can do.
So as we look at the future, we can decide that from this day forward, as I look at my personal relationships, if I look at my professional relationships, if I look at my family relationships, if I look at all the dimensions of my life — looking at myself mentally, emotionally and spiritually – I’m going to do all I can do to develop me, to bring my talent out here, to make a contribution to life.