Here is the full transcript and summary of Les Brown’s most inspirational and motivational speech: It’s Possible.
Listen to the MP3 Audio here:
Oh, y’all look good! I want you to look at something right now. Think of some major goal you want or maybe it’s one you’re already working on and you have experienced a lot of setbacks, a lot of defeats. You’ve experienced a lot of disappointment. Maybe you’ve already given up and maybe you just need a little fun, little encouragement to get back in the game again.
Here’s what I want you to look at. There are winners and there are losers and there are people who have not discovered how to win. And all they need is some coaching. All they need is some help and assistance — just a little support.
All they need is some insight or different strategy or plan of action to make some adjustments that will open up the key to a whole new future for them, that will give them access to the unlimited power that they have within themselves. That’s all that they need.
So what I want you to do is think about something you want for you, that’s real for you, that’s important for you, that will give your life some special meaning and power. And I don’t even want you to say I can do that. I don’t want you to assume that.
See, five years ago when I started out in this area, I would not have been able to make the mental leap that I would be up to where I am right now. I don’t want you to begin to just psych yourself out. No, no, I want you to be able to say something to yourself that will enable you to maintain a level of integrity with yourself, that when you say this even when you face tremendous setbacks, it will be a benchmark to keep you in the game, to keep you moving forward and experimenting and readjusting your strategy and your plan of action continuously looking for ways to win.
So what is that something? When you’ve got an idea you want to move on. You might not have the money, you might not have the education, you might not have the support or the resources you need. What is that something that can keep us going, that will enable us to act on our dream? What’s one of those keys that will begin to help us to discover the secrets to our dream?
Here’s what I want you to repeat after me please with power and conviction, say: ‘It’s Possible’.
[Audience: It’s possible]
It’s all I want you do when you look at your dream, just say to yourself every day: It’s possible. Just say that every day to yourself: it’s possible. Because what does that do?
See, it begins to change your belief system. So the way in which we operate, ladies and gentlemen, it’s a manifestation of what we believe, what’s possible for us. Whatever you’ve done up to this point, all that it really is, is a duplication, is a reproduction of what you believe subconsciously that you deserve and what’s possible for your life.
Most people operate out of their personal history, out of their memory, things they have done, things they have experienced, things they have seen, things that they have observed. What I’m suggesting that you operate out of a larger vision of yourself, I want you to see yourself doing what you want to do, experiencing what you want to experience, having what you want to have, doing what is that gives your life some meaning and value.
Operate out of your imagination, not your memory, because whatever you look at where you want to go, I wanted to warn you, you will have some conversation back here after you go through the data that you’ve experienced in life saying you can’t do it. And so what you want to begin to do is ignore that inner conversation.
Well, most people, ladies and gentlemen, when something happens to them what they do is they begin to believe that that’s the way it is, that’s the way it’s always been and they can’t see the possibility of it being any different.
Example: before in April 1954 the common belief, the universal belief, because it had been tried again and again and again and people had failed, the belief was that man was not physically capable of breaking the four minute barrier that he could not run a mile in less than four minutes. That was the belief on the planet. It had never been done.
But here’s what happened, ladies and gentlemen, Roger Bannister came along and he broke the four minute barrier. Now here’s what’s significant about that. Since that time up to this day, over 20,000 people have done it, including high school kids. What changed? 20,000 people.
What changed? Here’s what happened when they got on the track. They knew it had been done and because they knew it had been done there was a new belief about this barrier, about this goal that was unreachable. And those 20,000 people got in a race believing, knowing in their heart that someone had done it that it’s possible that they could do it.
And I’m saying that if you know anybody that had some goals, some dream, something they wanted to do and they did it. Then I am saying that you know in your heart that it’s someone has done it, then you can do it. It’s possible. And that if someone can make that dream become a reality, that it’s possible, that you can make your dream become reality.
And so as you begin to look at where you want to go, beginning to embrace that it’s possible. I’m blessed and highly favored. I’ve got a lot going for me. I got some good stuff in me and it’s possible that I can bring my greatness out here in the universe, that I can do what I want to do. It’s possible, I can write my own book, I can have my own business, I can take the trip and travel around the world. It’s possible. I can bounce back from adversity and reinvent my life. It’s possible. Regardless of where I am the things can get better for me. It’s possible.
I’m thinking about two men right here in Chicago who are fairly successful, similar background, educated. They worked for a corporation for many years and they were among many people that were laid off. Two guys who are very good friends. One went out looking for a job for several weeks along with the other one.
And they faced disappointment and rejection again and again and again. They couldn’t find any work, which is the story of many people across this country. One guy stopped, he became discouraged, he stopped going. He stayed home looking at television, became very argumentative and toxic with his wife, drinking beer, getting on the phone talking to his other negative unemployed friends. And he just gave up.
The other guy kept looking for a job everywhere he could go. Every time he could get an opportunity, kept asking people, networking, checking the newspapers everyday, kept going everywhere he could trying to find a job. ‘You have too much education, you’re overqualified, you won’t be here long enough’. He kept going and kept going.
He went to a place and say, ‘Look, I tell you what if you can’t hire me and I know you can use my talents, abilities and skills, I don’t want to sit home and do nothing, just let me do some volunteer work. You don’t have to give me anything. All right. I just want to work, I want to be busy’.
The guy said, ‘OK, it’s on you now but don’t expect me to give you anything. It’s okay’.
This guy came in and worked, he was the first one there, the last one to leave was the best employee there. About four weeks later, one of the top managers quit. They were looking for replacement, guess who they selected? This other guy. This guy who was volunteering his time, he got the job.
What was the difference between the two men? Eyesight and mindsight. Eyesight is judging on what you see. Judging according to appearances. But mindsight is how you interpret what you see. One guy said it’s not possible, it’s over, I’m finished. I can’t do it. I can’t make it. He surrendered. I’ve faced rejection again and again. I’m not going anymore. There are no jobs out there.
But this other guy, he felt that in spite of the no’s and rejections, in spite of how bad the economy is, in spite of what the newspapers are saying, that it’s possible, that somebody somewhere will give me a job. He just kept going thinking it was possible.
And guess what, ladies and gentlemen, that’s what we have to do with our dreams, because things happen to you in life, that you can never ever anticipate. And many times when those things happen, you want to give up. I remember when I was in broadcasting, when I was a disc jockey, I became very controversial not only being a disc jockey but I felt that radio was something that you not only entertain people with but you also empower them, you educate them and I got fired.
I didn’t just leave, they fired me. That was a shock. I said, ‘Wait a minute’. They took my microphone. I thought that was who I was. No, no, ladies and gentlemen it wasn’t. I had to do something else and I know what else I could do.
So here’s what I’m looking at: What are the uses for your life right now that you haven’t even reached for yet? See, I believe that when you don’t have enough encouragement to act on your dreams or ideas or you’re not enlightened enough, that life will act on you.
See, life will move on, and say ‘Les Brown, you have outgrown, this is time for you to do something else’. While I was enlightened enough, I organized some disc jockeys and got my job back. So he had to find me of years. I got fired twice.
Here’s what I did. I had to think of something else. And so a guy suggested to me, he said, ‘Les, why don’t you run for office?’
I said, ‘Man, oh, I’ve never known anything about how to operate in the political arena. I’ve encouraged people to register to vote and get out to vote. But I don’t know anything about politics’.
He said, ‘Neither do the people who run for office all the time’.
So I ran. Now here’s what I’m suggesting. I ran. You got to do what you can where you are with what you have. I didn’t have any money. I didn’t know anything about the political process. I didn’t even have any support. But here’s what the guy told me. It’s possible you could win. That’s all I had.
I was running against an endorsed candidate. He was an incumbent, he had the newspaper support, all of the leadership in the community. And I was challenging this guy. So I had a saying when I was on radio: ‘Stand up for what you believe in because you can fall for anything’. And I would go door to door. I’d have my kids on one side of the street, I would be on the other, I’d knock on doors: ‘Hello, my name is Les Brown. Tell everybody I’m still standing’.
They get on the phone and say, ‘Les Brown was at my house today, you don’t know him on the radio with a big mouth? Yeah, they fired him’.
So he’s still standing. See, I’m saying just keep moving. Don’t start feeling sorry for yourself. Don’t spend time blaming and talking about what happened to you. See, whatever you’re talking about, that’s what you multiply and expanding your life experience. So don’t talk about stuff unless you want it to keep on happening to you, all right.
As I continue to do that, have my children with me, we’re going door-to-door, didn’t have enough money. Eventually we got close to the election and something happened that really surprised me. Guys who I thought were going to even support me would stay out of it.
Various powerful community leaders, they became involved in it and they endorsed my opponent. I felt devastated. Now that’s going to happen to you. When you’re working on your dream, things are going to happen. That’s going to catch you on the blind side. That was shocking to me. They didn’t have to do that. All they had to just stay out of it. Here they go, come up and they’re messing with me.
Now that’s going to happen — there are some people who believe it’s their personal business to stop you from living your dream, all right.
But I didn’t deal with that. If you want to make your dream come true, you got to stay focused. Some people rather get even, then get ahead, stay focused on where you want to go. I just kept on doing what I was supposed to do.
And so I was driving to the radio station. My opponent had over $20,000. I had less than $800. As I was in the radio station, the guy said, ‘Are you going to make a commercial?’ I said yes.
He said, ‘That would be a good one because that money can’t go pretty far here’. And I sat there in the middle control room and I was thinking. And here’s what happens when you get still. Stuff will start coming. Something said, ‘Call your mama, you used to talk about your mother on air all the time. Ask her to say a few words for you, that would be a different kind of political spa’. So I called my mama and I had a gospel record playing in the background.
And then I had my mother say, ‘Hello, this is Mrs. Mamie Brown. When I raised my sons, I raised them to be good children. When they got out of hand, I’d beat their behinds and made them go right. Please vote for my son. He is a good boy!’
Usually in a state representative race, maybe 3000 or 4000 people will come out to vote in a primary. In that primary race over 27,000 people came out and voted said, ‘I’m voting for Les Brown because mama says he’s a good boy’. I won, ladies and gentlemen. I won!
So you’ve got to be willing to stay focused to be creative, to be relentless, because things are going to happen to you when you’re working on your dream. When you get on track, I remember when I first got involved in speaking, one of the main things that speakers like to do is to speak to a certain association that they have over 10,000 of their sales reps and come to this convention.
And I was relentless, I kept saying it’s possible, it’s possible. See, what I want to let you know and set you up for, because you say it’s possible don’t mean that you’re not going to have any problems. That Murphy’s Law will come and slap inside here. Murphy will come visit you. He’s waiting for some y’all out in the parking lot.
Well, I was working, I kept saying it’s possible, they got other speakers on this program. I can be on that program too. I kept selling myself, I got all fired up. And I was calling in every day, every day. And the lady finally said, ‘Mr. Brown, I tell you what! We want you to come in and talk to our sales executive.
You’ve got the kind of fire and guts that they want, that will motivate them. And let me tell you something else. We want you to bring your motivational tapes. You’re going to need at least $50,000 worth of tapes. Is that right? Yes because they want to keep that drive alive’.
I said, ‘All right. I’ll call a guy to duplicate my tape’.
I said, ‘Don, how you doing? This is Les. Let me tell you, I’ve got a major speaking engagement. Man, it’s the speakers’ dream. I need over $50,000 worth of product’.
He said, ‘Les, you don’t have that kind of credit’.
I said. ‘I know but Don, I can sell that. Just right after the speaking engagement, I’ll give your money in four days’.
He said, ‘Are you sure, Les?’
I said, ‘Yes, but I got a major speaking engagement and they told me to do it.’
He said, ‘Man, that’s a big odd. Let me talk with the lady with you’.
I said, ‘Hold on just a minute, man’.
I called the lady back. ‘Hello, Evelyn, how you doing? This is Les Brown. I got Don on the phone. What did you say? Do I have the speaking engagement?’
‘Yes, you do.’
‘And what else do you suggest?’
‘Les, our people, they buy a lot of tapes, your tapes are very popular among them. I’m saying bring at least $50,000 worth of tapes, Les. You’ll sell everything you’ve got and more.’
‘I said, ‘Did you hear that Don?’
He said, ‘Yes.’
I said, ‘Now, if anybody else has to make a decision, are you the final person?’
She said, ‘I’m the final person. I will send you the contract. I want you’.
I said, ‘Did you hear that, Don?’
I said, ‘Oh ye of little faith!’
Well, he duplicated tapes. One week passed by, I’m checking her mail every day. No contract. I said, ‘Come on Murphy, don’t start on that. Come on, man. Give me a break, come on’. I’d talk to myself. I don’t want to call him right now.
Two weeks passed by, Murphy said, ‘Don’t you think you ought to call?’
I said, OK. I called her and say, ‘Hello, this is Les Brown calling’.
‘How you doing, Les?’
I said fine.
I said, ‘Evelyn hasn’t sent my contract out yet. Any additional information you need?’
‘So Les, you haven’t heard?’
I said no.
‘Evelyn died. How soon she died!’
I said, ‘Did she say anything about me?’
When I got home I was so wiped out. And Murphy was in the house waiting for me. Murphy said, ‘Is it possible you want to listen to some of your tapes?’
Well, ladies and gentlemen here is what I had to do. I had to begin to focus on what was the solution, that this was not the only place that I’ll be able to sell those products. And as I began to challenge myself and got in help and support and some other input, I eventually did, it took longer.
But it was challenging but I did it. Repeat after me please. No matter how bad it is, or how bad it gets, I’m going to make it. I’m going to make it. Shake somebody’s hand on your right and left and say you got that right.
Repeat after me please. It’s possible. I can have my dream. I can get what I want. I must be creative and never give up.
Now let me share something else with you, ladies and gentlemen. When you know within yourself that there’s something you want to do and I believe that all of us was born with a purpose, that all of us have something that we are supposed to do, that all of us have some goodness within us and that goodness gives us a responsibility to manifest our greatness.
And when you know that you could feel it in your guts and you know that you are deliberately operating below your potential, you’ve gotten comfortable, you stop expanding, you stop stretching, you stop challenging yourself, let me share something else with you.
Not only it’s possible for you to have your dream but it’s necessary. It’s necessary that you have it, that you work on it, that you develop yourself, that you go for what is yours in the universe. I have a friend that at the beginning of the year I was in Los Angeles giving a speech and I do a seminar teaching people how to become involved in the speaking business and also one course Speaking With Power, teaching people how to begin to develop their communication skills. And this friend, I said, ‘I want you to work with me’. I called her up.
She said, ‘Les, are you sure I could do it?’
‘Sure, you can. You have a PhD in communications. I don’t have that. If I can do it, sure you can do it. In fact, I’m going to give you the support that you need’.
Here’s what I realized, ladies and gentlemen. We only have enough energy to take us to a certain level but it’s necessary that we assemble ourselves with other people who share our vision, other people that can see it for us, to give ourselves a home court advantage.
So it’s necessary that you seek out other people who think like you, who are growing, who decided that they are not satisfied where they are. See, I don’t believe that necessity is the mother of invention. No, necessity in my opinion is not the mother of invention, refusing to accept things the way that they are is the mother of invention.
When you decide I’m not going to settle for this, this is not going to be it for my life, I deserve more than this. See, that will start making you do some stuff. See, a lot of people go to work everyday miserable and all they do is just talk about how miserable they are. But they don’t do anything about it.
So I was telling her that I knew she hated her job with a passion. I said you can do this, you got more going for you than I have going for me. And we’ve been going through this for years, ladies and gentlemen. She had been through my seminars speaking for living.
She brought her husband and that was one of the major problems that I realized that happened in her life. He couldn’t see it for her. So you got to make sure that you have people in your life that can see it for you, that will encourage you, non-affirming relationships can hurt you.
And I talked to him, I said you know, I don’t have anything to do with your marriage. I said you and I are good friends and she and I are good friends. And I’m not taking sides, I said, but if you can’t see it for her, don’t tell her that. Just give her some support.
What if you’re wrong! It’s possible, man, that that if I’m doing it she can do well. You’re different. How you’re going to tell me that. You’ve seen her speak, she’s got great speaking skills, don’t underestimate, you don’t know. You’ve got a great woman here. But you see, people who can’t see it for themselves can’t see it for you.
So I said, ‘Will you do it with me?’ I said I am going to give you the support you need. You can’t do it by yourself, I will stand with you.
She said, ‘You will?’
I said, ‘Yes. I want to make you part of my seminar. You will do a part of it, and I will do a part of it. Speaking with power’.
She said OK.
Three days later, ladies and gentlemen, I got an emergency call at my office. It was from her husband. He called and said, ‘Tell Les Brown that Marion is dead’.
I said oh, no. When I was flying there to go to the funeral and I remember the last time that I saw her and I had some of her papers that I had gotten inadvertently confused with mine and I took them home. And I was searching through these papers to do one of her work.
She was a prolific writer and what got me — what was so sad that maybe began to cry was that there were poems that she had started that were profound poems, great thoughts that she didn’t complete. Plays that she had started that she didn’t complete.
See, that poem was given to her, I can’t finish that for her, nor can you. That play whatever the outcome that she had envisioned, that she had imagined was given to her, only her and that she’s the channel that that was going to come through. You are here and you are the vessel, you are the outlet for the universe that you’ve been selected. There’s something for you to do. I believe all of us have some purpose for being here.
And as I was going to the funeral and I was reading a newspaper that said that that millions of people are dying because of what they’re eating, talking about their diet. And I’m sure that it was Marion talking to me, whispering saying, ‘Les, the next time you speak, say that even more are dying because of what’s eating them’.
When the challenges of life come your way you’ve got to find ways to increase your sense of self appreciation, because if you don’t, you’re bombarded with negative stuff every day that beats you down and you will find yourself unconsciously engaging in self-destructive behavior.
If you don’t program yourself, life will program you. So you want to have an agenda for your life. It’s necessary that you have some direction for your life. [Ospen] at the National Speakers convention gave us presentation and it really struck me. He was talking about when he was traveling across Europe, one resident and he said at different points soldiers would wake them up, on their journey and ask him the question.
And I pose this to you, the question was: where have you been? Why are you here and where are you going? And that’s what I ask you: where have you been? Where have you been up to this point? You look at your life, you look at what you produce, is it giving you what you want?
Are you living on purpose? Are you living your dream? Are you acting on your ideas? Are you doing all you can do? Have you gotten comfortable? Are you procrastinating? Are you evading your own greatness? Are you surrounding yourself with people that can nourish you?
Are you challenging yourself? Are you experimenting? Are you learning something different? Is you life an adventure or is it boring?
Where have you been? Why are you here? What brought you here, investing the time and the money? What brought you here? And where are you going? What is it that you can get out of this session, out of this lecture?
But when you leave here rather than this just being a spectator event that you got some ideas, some dream that you might have to go back and brush it off and look at it again. and say I’ve got to do this. This is my stuff. This is what I’m supposed to do. This is why I showed up.
Where are you going with your life? What decisions are you making right now as you look into the future? Are you experimenting to find out what other talents and abilities that you have?
See, we’re in the time right now, the day is gone where you could just go to college and get out and get a job and work 30 or 40 years with job security and retire with a goal what? The goal watch days are gone. Brand new day party’s over.
So now you have got to be multi-talented and multi-skill. You’ve got to use all your stuff. You don’t know what else you can do. I didn’t know I can do what I’m doing right now. It’s necessary that you stretch and challenge yourself and say, let me see. I started out as a trainer. I’m a trainer; that’s what I am. That’s what my expertise was then.
And then I decided, let me see, can I speak? And then I discovered, ‘hey I can do that’. What if I hadn’t tried to do than just being satisfied with just being a trainer with the limited vision of myself? And then after training and then as well maybe I could go into business for myself and I started speaking going into business for myself. Well maybe I could train other speakers and teach them how to go into business for themselves.
So you want to have a back-up plan, you want to have other strategies for yourself. In case this doesn’t work out you got something else going over here. You don’t want to ever put yourself in a situation where you have a limited vision and you’re only using a limited amount of your talent, of your skills and of your abilities.
And I’m saying to you it’s possible you’ve got some talents, some ideas and your ability to do some stuff that you haven’t even discovered yet. And I’m suggesting that it’s necessary that you get outside of your comfort zone. It’s necessary that you develop some new relationships where you can learn from people.
It’s necessary that you do reading, that you do research, it’s necessary. If you’re already involved in some business that you don’t be satisfied with where you are. If you want to make it today, it’s necessary for you to constantly look at ways of getting better.
Not only is it possible for you to have your dream and it’s necessary for you to challenge yourself to go after and get better and leverage the relationships that can help you get to where you want to go. But it’s you — the major key to your reaching your dream, your living up to your greatness, your making your contribution is you.
If the economy is good, fantastic. If the banks are loaning money, that’s great. If people are positive, that’s great. You don’t have any opposition, that’s great. But the major key to your making things happen in your life is you.
When I wanted to get on public television, now they told me you can’t do that. So what about I’ve seen these other people on, it’s possible I can get on — Leo Booth, John Bradshaw, it’s possible. Let’s be realistic, come on, be logical. I said, ‘But wait a minute, why can’t I do it?’
‘Les, look here. Think about guys who have credentials, all kind of credentials, you don’t have any college training. No, no, put you on television! Give me a break!’
I said, ‘Thank you for that. God love you and I’m trying’.
I went on about my business, hear me. Let me tell you something. What people think about you and the possibilities for your dream is none of your business. That’s their business. They have no imagination, ladies and gentlemen. They’re living out of the past, out of their memory.
The attitude is it can’t be done because they haven’t seen it. They are judging according to appearances, the people that are going to make it in the future, the people that are making it today, let me share something with you: history is being read but it’s also being written by people with imagination.
So I went to the next move necessary to stop talking to people in seeking and asking for what I wanted, and leveraging relationships and trying to find out how did the people do it that went ahead of me? How did they do it? And then what is that I need to do? How is that I need to train myself to develop myself? What’s the resources that will be required in order to make it happen?
And as I started seeking out and asking questions, I started running into people said ‘I know someone who can help you do that’ and they helped me get connected with those people. Remember we have so much energy that can take us so far. It’s necessary that you hook up with some other energy that can take you to the next level. I hooked up with them and they said, ‘Les, let’s go’. I said ‘Where do we go?’ And guess what here we are! I love it.
You watch your step, it’s necessary you take responsibility for it, that you make it happen, that you don’t give up, that you don’t take any objection or disappointment or defeats personally, that you keep on keeping on, that you don’t decide that I can’t make it because you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, that you realize that’s a part of the program.
And here’s something you’ve got to resolve. Say this to yourself: Every day as long as you’re breathing you’ve got a shot at your dream, that’s the way I resolved. Say this please. It’s not over until I win. You’ve got that way.
It’s not over till I win. Not over till I get through. It’s not over till I get over. Not over till I get what I want. Don’t get over today, look out, I’m going to come back and take the hinges off. That’s how you got to do that. You’ve got to have that kind of courage, that type of determination.
If you want to make it happen, it’s you. That you’ve got to take personal responsibility to make it happen. That you have got to do own what it is that you want to do, if it’s taking care of you will be, if it’s making a difference in our school system, if it’s working with senior citizens, if it’s to protect our ecology, if it’s to create an economic renaissance, if it’s just to take yourself to another level, it’s you. You’ve got to make that happen.
We can point out many things that can make it inconvenient or can slow us down. But ultimately it’s on us.
Next step is not only is it possible and necessary, and it’s you to live your dream to make this greatness that you have within you become a reality.
But what I’ve come to appreciate when you’re working on changing your life, changing some bad habit, getting out of addictive situations or relationships, or working to build a dream of making a difference in our society or learning something that’s very challenging, here’s what I realized, ladies and gentlemen, and developed a great deal of respect for. It’s hard. Easy is not an option. It’s hard living. Life is hard.
See, it’s hard when you are 49 years old and working on a job for 17 years, and they come in and tell you ‘you’re finished’ and give you one week’s severance pay. And you have to start all over again. It’s hard when you are married and raising children and your children are crawling and your husband dies unexpectedly.
It’s hard handling just the tragedies of life. It’s hard when you’re working on something and you put everything you have in it and it doesn’t work out you lose your money and other people’s money. It’s hard.
It was rough when I lost my job and I could not find a job. It was humiliating and embarrassing borrowing money and then I couldn’t pay the money back when I told them I would. That’s rough. How people look at you, how they respond to you, it’s very hard. It’s humiliating.
Here’s what I discovered that happens to you in life that you will go through things and while you’re going through them, you can’t understand why it’s happening to you. But after you go through it you get back and you look at it and you say, ‘Oh, now I understand why I needed that lesson’. Have they ever happened to you?
Raise your hand. If they ever happened to you — that I couldn’t understand it then but after I got through it, then I saw that that was preparing me for bigger and better things. That as you go through the challenges of life and you look at it and embrace whatever comes to you, don’t run from it, step toward it. Don’t try and duck it like most people do.
See, most people want it easy. See, if easy come easy way, easy go. See, but when you go at what you’re going to deal with and you deal with the difficulties of it, when you handle those hard things close at hand making those hard decisions right now that you don’t want to make. Learning those things that you don’t like to do but you know that in order for you to get where you want to go, this is one of the hoops that you have to flip through.
And I’m saying to you whatever you got to do, do it because if you don’t, life is going to whoop you until you surrender. And say it’s okay, all right, all right, all right, all right, I cooperate. OK, I’ll learn, OK. It had wear me out a long time.
So if it’s hard then, do it hard. Now what are you — how do you hang in there doing the hard difficult times, Les? You must have faith. You’ve got to believe in yourself. You’ve got to believe in your abilities. You’ve got to believe in your service, your company, your ideas unquestionably.
You’ve got to have faith and that faith gives you patience. That it’s not going to happen as quickly as you want it to happen. A lot of things are going to happen that will catch you off guard. And so therefore you’ve got to deal with and handle it as it comes.
And not only that, but that faith and patience drives you into action. You’ve got to keep moving and keep plugging away. In the Far East, they have something that’s called the Chinese bamboo tree. The Chinese bamboo tree takes five years to grow. And when they go through a process of growing it, they have to water and fertilize the ground where it is every day. And it doesn’t break through the ground until the fifth year, OK. But once it breaks through the ground within five weeks, it grows 90 feet tall.
Now the question is does it grow 90 feet tall in five weeks or five years? The answer is obvious: it grows 90 feet tall in five years, because at any time had that person stopped watering and nurturing and fertilizing that dream, that bamboo tree would have died in the ground. And I can see people coming out talking to a guy out there watering and fertilizing the ground that’s not showing anything: ‘Hey what you doing? You’ve been out here a long time, man! And the conversation in the neighborhood is: you’re growing a Chinese bamboo tree, is that right?’
‘Yeah, that’s right’.
You know, that’s how people are going to do to you. ‘So how long you’ve been working on this? How long have you been working on your dreams and you have nothing to show. This is all you got to show’. People are going to do that to you. And some people, ladies and gentlemen, they stop because they don’t see instant results.
It doesn’t happen quickly, they stop. Oh, no, no, no, you’ve got to keep on watering your dream and when it began to happen, they stopped laughing. They say, ‘Look, whoa, look here, it’s — look up, hey man, you know, huh I know you could do it. Look, you’ve got a job here’.
See, during those hard times we didn’t know how you’re going to make payroll, during those times when you failed and things didn’t work out they were nowhere to be found. But you know what I discovered? When you are working at your dream, somebody said the harder the battle the sweeter the victory. Always sweet to you. It’s good to you.
Why? See, when it’s hard and there’s a struggle, see what you become in the process is more important than the dream. That’s far more important. The kind of person you become, the character that you build, the courage that you develop, the faith that you’re manifesting, oh, it’s something that you get up in the morning, you look yourself in the mirror, you’re different kind of person, you walk with a different kind of spirit.
And people know that you know what life is, that you have embraced life. You know it was hard but you did it hard.
Now it takes us to the next level. If it’s hard, why do people do it? You ask people who do faith: why do they go it, people who climb mountains just for the sake of it, nobody paying or just do it, somebody said, ‘I’m going to run around the world’.
He said, ‘Whoa, why would somebody do that?’ ‘I am going to swim the Atlantic channel; why?’ Why do people do that? I wondered why would Nelson Mandela give up 26 years of his life? Why do people do that?
Here is what I discovered in high school. High school, I decided I wanted to go out for football. Never forget this. And I discovered why people do things, do you know why ladies and gentlemen? Even though it’s hard, it’s worth it. It’s worth it.
See, one day we had coach Falcon Hipper had this plaque down there, and there is wood on the floor, on the ground. He said, ‘Brown, come over here. Have my suit on?’
He said, ‘I am having a Larry Little down there, whole big Larry’.
‘Big fat sorry Larry’.
‘Brown, I want you to get down bull neck’.
He said, ‘I want you to run in Larry, I want you to put your helmet right in his pit, right up and hit his chest and knock him off that board. Do you hear me, Brown? You can do that’.
‘Can you do that?’
He said, ‘Brown, I want you to knock him off, you will make the team. I know you can get him. All right’.
I said ‘yes sir’.
They went down to Larry. Larry Littles who played 12 years for the Miami Dolphins, all-pro for 12 years, this is a bad big dude. 250 pounds, strength, agile and all muscle. He said, ‘Larry’. He said ‘Man, you know Brown down there. He’s done talking about your mom and everything. He talked about how fat and sorry you are and how he’s going to knock you off this board’. Larry now is spitting fire and growling and foaming at the mouth, now I’m looking at Larry, he is there hubba hubba.
He said, ‘Look at that fool on the ground. He told me he’s going to scare you that you’re going to leave. Are you going to leave?’
‘No, coach I won’t leave. I am going down there and knock him out the park’.
Coach got back, he winked at me, ‘Go get him, Brown’. I ran hhhhaaaaa. I ran into Larry with my helmet’. Larry did boommm. I don’t know where I landed. When they woke me up, I said, ‘Can you all take this helmet off me for a minute?’
He said, ‘Brown, where are you going?’
I was crying. I said, ‘OK, I am all right. That fool almost killed me, man’.
He said, ‘Brown, you quit man?’
I said yes. I said, ‘it ain’t worth it, man’. I will be your announcement man, I was calling it the game. I was up there in the booth, called good games too, because the pain wasn’t worth it to me. And I am saying to you, you know why people do what they do? The people who go after their stuff what makes it worth it?
It’s got to be your passion, you’ve got to love it, ladies and gentlemen. You’ve got to love it. It’s got to be what you are supposed to do. You want to sing even though they won’t invite you to Carnegie Hall, you’re going to sing to anybody that will listen to you, including singing to yourself.
I used to talk to my plants but nobody else would listen to me. You’ve got to write even if no one publishes your book right because that was given to you to do. You do what it is you’re supposed to, you’re supposed to build something, you’re supposed to create something, I don’t know how to do it. Learn. Do whatever is required. Just go out there.
It’s possible you can get what you want. It’s necessary. If you want it, you got to go into action, you’ve got to be willing to experiment. You’ve got to be willing to fail and to succeed. You’ve got to be willing to form and develop new relationships. It’s you, it’s on you, you’ve got to make that happen. Nobody’s going to bring it to you on a silver platter and say: ‘Here’s your dream manifested’. No, it’s hard. Yes, it’s hard. It’s difficult, yes right and it’s worth it.
People ask: Hey man, you know these kids, man, it’s rough dealing with them’.
‘That’s right, that’s right’.
Do you think peer pressure happened overnight? We went through peer pressure. I remember as a kid, some guys said, ‘Hey, Les, we have another fellow named Willie. Lo, we were going home. Hey man, we’re going down the ghouls, man, and knock awful’.
I said look here, ‘I want no part of that. I see y’all later.’
‘So you’re chicken’.
I said, ‘That’s all right, you say whatever you want. Lo, stop I’m not chicken, man. Don’t call me chicken’.
‘I want you to come. We didn’t even ask you to come in the place, man. All you do is just drive the car, it’s all’.
‘I don’t know how to drive’.
‘Well we’re trying to get Les to come, he’s chicken’.
‘Hey, I’m not driving nothing all right. Willie, don’t care about what they say, man. Leave him alone. You want to go do it. You find someone else to drive or you drive yourself. Come on Willie, man, pulling me stop.
‘All right chicken. All I gotta do is drive’.
I said, ‘Willie, that sounds simple, man. Don’t go, man’.
He went and the next day we read the newspaper where — when they robbed the store, when they came out running to a car, merchant, the man who owned the store came out just shooting wildly and he hit the driver in the head.
So peer pressure didn’t just start in the ‘90s or the ‘80s. It’s difficult, it is challenging for kids right now, and it’s going to take some easy simple methods to help bring them out of this madness, this insanity, no. Is it hard? Yes. Let’s look at what we’ve been doing, what has worked, what has not worked. Let’s look at where we want to go.
What is it that we want to produce? What is it that we want to create for our young people? And as we think about that, start experimenting with different methods and techniques to create and to produce that and begin to believe that it’s possible through our commitment, through our vision, through our determination, our relentlessness.
Because of our belief it’s possible that we can reduce the teenage homicide rate, the teenage pregnancy rate, the drop-out rate. That it’s possible looking at what kind of world are they going to be in. As we look at the global economy that as we begin to use our collective will, ingenious and resources it’s possible that we can create an educational system that not only will test their minds with information and facts and figures but would teach them how to think and be creative at: what does it mean to be a human being and to value human life and how do you make relationships work?
How do you bounce back from adversity? It’s possible that we can give them a curriculum that will give their lives a sense of purpose and direction and meaning and teach them how to begin to know and operate on a higher level of being where they become assets to our society rather than liabilities.
What if we leave here with that kind of consciousness that it’s possible as opposed to say we have to write this generation off, that it’s possible that we were born for such a time as this than that that maybe someone here has the idea or the method or some plan of action or an approach that can resolve many of the problems that we’re facing with young people today. Whatever we have to do to save our children, it’s worth it.
That brings me to the final step. That it’s necessary for us to begin to look at the future, know that it’s possible that we can have our dream. Yes, it is. Other people have done it, then we can do it. We failed a lot of times. Well, a lot of other folks failed and eventually they came back and they succeeded.
So it’s possible we can have what we want. And we know that we want to get it, it’s necessary that we align ourselves with people that think like we do. It’s necessary we get negative-do-nothing-people out of our lives. It’s necessary we never stop learning and growing and developing ourselves.
It’s necessary that we never give up. We know that it’s you, it’s me, it’s being responsible for our stuff and deciding that we’re going to keep on keeping on, that we’re going to find a way to win or to find a way to make it happen. And we know it’s hard, it’s not going to be a picnic. Yes, it’s hard, it’s hard and we will do it hard. And once we do it hard and we go through, we realize it was worth it and once you discover it was worth it, it is done, it’s done.
It’s done, ladies and gentlemen, before it happens. Well, here’s what I’m suggesting to you. That when you’re working you have a wall to break through. Let’s say a friend of mine who walks — he runs a marathon and he says when he is running the 26-mile marathon, he said let’s say that hypothetically that 18th mile is the wall.
He said, ‘Les, when you get there and you’re running’, he says, ‘everything in you is telling you to stop, to give up, every muscle is aching and you’re saying to yourself ‘I can’t do it, I can’t do it’ and you just keep on and you keep on and you keep on. It seemed like you’re moving at slow motion and then eventually when you break through that 18-mile wall, then you know it’s like done and you’re on automatic and you glide on in and you know it’s there. You know you’re going to get to the finish line’.
And we’ve all had experiences where we were working on something and we knew it was possible, and we did those things that were necessary to bring it into reality. We took the responsibility to make it happen, although people couldn’t see it. Lot of people didn’t believe it. You were attacked, you were criticized, people were opposing you but you kept on doing it. It was hard, it was rough, it was difficult but to you it was worth it. And eventually you got to a level you know can never stop moving up, I’m on the move, I’m on the move.
Finally, I’m thinking about a friend of mine who is no longer operating on this dimension. His name is Jack bullet. He had this vision of a church that would serve various types of needs for people, their supportive needs and helping them and recovery from drugs and alcohol and whatever addictions that they might be involved in. And he was known for bringing in different kinds of speakers.
And over a year ago he was diagnosed as having cancer. And he announced his congregation that he’s going to be taking chemotherapy and that it was a possibility that the cancer would go in remission and he was optimistic about that. And sure enough it did for a year.
And one of the things Jack always talked about is that he wanted to have his funeral while he lived. And so he invited a few friends, Wayne Dyer and myself and a few other speakers. He didn’t tell us why we were there. But once we gathered there, the church they told us in the room, that Jack is going to announce the congregation, he’s bringing his doctor up. The doctor is going to say that we felt we could get keep it in remission it’s out of remission and he doesn’t have much time left.
And whatever words you want to say to Jack that you would say if he had made his transition, speak those words not. While we were shocked and we were somewhat stunned until Jack got there.
They brought him in a wheelchair and boy, was he courageous and he had a strong smile and they helped him up the steps. And he said behind the podium and each of us got up, and we said a few things about Jack and the impact that he made on our lives. And he said, the doctor after announcing that Jack didn’t have long, he said, ‘Doctor, I accept what you say but it’s possible, that that does not have to be the case.
But if it is, I will enjoy life to the very last breath I take, even the chemotherapy I will enjoy that’. And Jack did, ladies and gentlemen. And when they said that all of his vital organs were failing, they called his family and his whole church staff to the hospital and said he’s dying. And so they came and they all gathered in the room. And Jack at that time was unconscious.
And he gained consciousness and he looked at them and he said with what strength he had, he said, ‘I want to thank you all for being here. You’ve been a great staff to me’. He looked at his sons, his daughters, he said, ‘You’ve been a great family. So don’t feel sorry for me, I’m ready to go. I’m looking forward to the next adventure’. And he sat there for a while, lay there and he closed his eyes and he lost consciousness.
About an hour and a half later he opened his eyes and he looked at them and said, ‘This is embarrassing. I’m not dead yet’. They were laughing through their tears. They said, ‘Jack, you are a character’. He said, ‘Hey, I hate giving up this kind of control’.
So they predicted that Jack would die at the end of February and then on the second, they said he won’t see the light of day, he will be dead by morning. Ladies and gentlemen, Jack died on March 4. And we believe that even in his dying Jack sent his congregation a message that I want to give to you with his permission. March 4 is the day he died and we believe Jack was saying March 4.
So I say as you look into the future, while other people are giving up feeling like victims, feeling powerless, becoming negative, turning on each other rather than to each other, feeling that they can’t make it, ‘be ye not conformed to this world but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind’ with the mindset of that it’s possible, that we can save this generation.
It’s possible that we can create new industries, a new economy. It’s possible that I can find a new profession, a new job. It’s possible I can create a new life. And it’s necessary that I become actively involved in becoming a positive force in my life and on the planet. And it’s me, yes it’s you. It’s all of us pulling together, working together, to create this brand new future and it’s going to be hard, easy is not an option.
But if it’s hard, we will do it hard. Whatever is required to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat and it’s worth it, yes. It’s worth whatever we have to do and once we know that it is done, it is done, it is done.
So I say to you whatever your dreams are, whatever you want to do in the spirit of Jack March 4, for this is Mrs. Mamie Brown’s baby boy, Leslie Calvin Brown saying it’s been a plumb pleasing pleasure as well as a privilege. Thank you all here. Thank you.
Want a summary of this speech? Here it is.
In Les Brown’s motivational speech titled ‘It’s Possible’, he passionately addresses the concept of possibility and its profound impact on achieving personal goals and overcoming challenges. Through anecdotes, examples, and motivational storytelling, Brown instills a sense of hope and empowerment in his audience, encouraging them to embrace the belief that their dreams are attainable.
Brown commences his speech by urging his audience to reflect on their significant aspirations, especially those marred by setbacks and disappointments. He emphasizes the need for coaching, assistance, and a fresh perspective to rekindle enthusiasm and propel individuals back into the pursuit of their goals. The central message revolves around the transformative power of the phrase “It’s Possible.”
He underscores the role of winners, losers, and those who have not yet learned how to win. He asserts that the latter category only requires a degree of support and a shift in mindset to harness their inner potential. Brown’s passion is palpable as he accentuates that by adopting the simple affirmation “It’s Possible,” individuals can reshape their beliefs and embark on a journey of realizing their dreams.
Through powerful historical examples, Brown emphasizes that what people believe is possible for themselves shapes their reality. He recounts the remarkable feat of Roger Bannister breaking the four-minute mile barrier, which then led to countless others achieving the same feat. This serves as a testament to the transformative power of possibility and belief.
Brown advocates for operating from imagination rather than past experiences, challenging his audience to visualize themselves achieving their aspirations. He cautions against the inner dialogue that often discourages progress and encourages listeners to silence those doubts by maintaining a focus on the phrase “It’s Possible.”
The speaker engages his audience with stories of resilience and determination. He recounts the tale of two men seeking jobs, one giving up and the other persisting. The difference lies in their mindsets—believing it’s possible versus surrendering to defeat. This narrative underscores the importance of maintaining a positive outlook and unwavering focus, even in the face of adversity.
Brown’s own experiences serve as a source of inspiration. He recalls being fired from broadcasting and running for political office, highlighting the value of staying committed to goals despite unforeseen obstacles. He underscores the power of belief, determination, and creativity in the pursuit of dreams.
In conclusion, Les Brown’s speech ‘It’s Possible’ is a rousing call to action, urging listeners to adopt a mindset of possibility in pursuit of their dreams. Through anecdotes, historical examples, and personal experiences, Brown emphasizes the transformational impact of belief and determination. His impassioned delivery instills hope and empowerment, encouraging individuals to rewrite their beliefs and embrace the idea that their dreams are indeed achievable.
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