Les Brown: The Power to Change (Full Transcript)

Here is the full transcript of Les Brown’s motivational speech: The Power to Change.

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Les Brown – Author, motivational speaker

Most of us go through life pretending — pretending that we’re satisfied where we are, pretending that everything is OK, pretending that that we don’t have any special goals, ambitions or desires when really deep down inside we do really want more. Find out what it is you want and go after as if your life depends on it. Why? Because it does. It’s time for you to look within yourself and decide that I’m in charge of my destiny. I’m in charge here.

Speaker: Les Brown believes that you have the power to change your life and he knows what he’s talking about, because he’s done it. Les and his twin brother grew up on the tough streets of Miami’s Liberty City after being adopted at the age of six weeks by Mamie Brown, a single woman with a big heart. Les still calls himself Mamie’s boy. She expected things of him, so he graduated from high school although he’d been mistakenly labeled mentally retarded in grammar school. And he built himself a successful career as a fast-talking disc jockey although he had no radio training. And he became a community leader and was eventually elected to three full terms in the Ohio state legislature. Along the way, Les developed a hunger for reading and self-improvement that led to his speaking career. Today he spends his time enjoying his family relaxing and being with his six children and giving about 200 speeches a year which focus on helping people find ways to overcome the obstacles they face in their own lives.

Les Brown – Author, motivational speaker

Thank you. Thank you very much. How many of you thought about some things that you know that you deserve or you want out of life where you would like to enjoy experience and you found yourself blocking your separation and has that ever happened to you before? All right, very good.

Here’s what I want you to do. Shake somebody’s hand on your right and your left and here’s what I want you to say: Whatever you’re seeking, it’s seeking you. You can have it. Give yourselves a round of applause. All right.

Now the reason I brought that up is I was riding with a friend the other day, and I know this friend of mine who has been working on a job where she’s been miserable for a long time. She was telling me about how she was miserable on the job and how she was so unhappy. So I said, ‘If it’s that stressful and if it’s causing you that much pain, I’d say why don’t you just quit and do something else?’

And she said something that really put her in the chorus line with a lot of other people, she said, ‘I would but’. And then I started to thinking about that, I said, let me take a poll. So I started talking to other people and I would ask them what they were doing. And I’d say, ‘but is that your passion?’ and they would say no. I said, ‘Then what’s your real passion?’ And they would tell me what their real passion was.

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Then I’d say, ‘but then why aren’t you doing what you really want to do?’ ‘Oh I can do it but’ and they would continue on. So this word ‘but’ just kept on coming up. And then it also has some friends like would, could and should. And one day I’m going to have my own business. People will talk about ‘one day I’m going to…’ some of you all know some of those ‘one day I’m going to’ people are, raise your hand. Some of you get up in the morning, look in the mirror of that person. I am just teasing, I am just teasing all right.

So how is it that many times we block ourselves and we use these words almost like we’re in a trance, like we’re sleepwalking through life, that we find ways to cancel out our dreams that I think that ‘But’ is a dream killer, that a lot of things that we want to do, a lot of places we would like to go, a lot of things we would like to experience, and we just stop at ‘But’ and we build a case. In fact, I was reading something the other day that talked about ‘but’. It says, ‘But’ is an argument for our limitations and when we argue for our limitations we get to keep them. See, ‘but’ will cause you to procrastinate. ‘But’ will cause you to hide out behind fear. ‘But’ will cause you to come up with all types of excuses that you can validate you’re in action and not acting on your dream. And right now more than ever people need to look for ways to live their dream, people need to look for ways to make it on their own. There is no such thing as job security. There’s no such thing as a storm-proof or tragic-proof life. There are no guarantees that ladies and gentlemen, the illusion is gone. There was a time when we graduated from high school you were told go to college and get out and you go and work for a corporation for 30 or 40 years that give you go watching and you retire.

Special announcement: that day is gone. That day is gone, never to return again. So instead of people living in fear, feeling stressed out, feeling powerless, feeling like victims, I think it should be a time that we need to begin to look at ways that we can become an active force in our own lives. Look at ways when we can decide to take charge of our own destiny. Look at ways when we can decide to design a life of substance and begin to truly live our dreams. And it’s time for people to decide: I’m ready to get on with my life. Shake somebody’s hand on your right and left, a guy named [Bob Maze] had to say: don’t let nobody turn you around. Do that right quick.

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Now you know a lot of people say ‘I’m going to live my life one day when things get right’. When I get all my bills paid. When I get my feet on the ground. I said what have you been walking on? See, there are no problem-free moments. A guy named Dimples had a record one time called ‘If it ain’t one thing, it’s another’. And I say if it ain’t one thing it’s 12 others. Always something there to build a case on why you can’t move on, why you can’t grow to the next level, why you can’t begin to manifest your greatness, why you can’t begin to live life on your terms? Always something there to block you to keep you where you are and keep you from beginning to develop your true greatness. Always some fear, how do we handle it?

And I’m saying that if you’ve been hiding out behind ‘But’, if you’ve been using the fact that you don’t have enough money or you don’t have the education, take it head-on, go get the education. I was saying to a guy the other day who was saying — I said, ‘How old are you?’

He says, ‘47 years old’.

I said, ‘Your sister tell me that you can’t read’.

He said, ‘That’s right’.

I said ‘Why?’

‘Well, I didn’t go to school’.

I said, ‘Excuse me, how old are you?’

‘47’.

’47?’

‘Yes’.

‘And you can’t read or write’.

‘Yes’.

‘Have you ever heard of adults school — adult education? Have you decided that you should learn how to read to begin to expand your world? Why are you using that as a racket? Why don’t you decide now that you’re going to expand your world that if other people can learn you could learn too?’

‘Well, it’s hard for me’.

‘How do you — have you been sitting in a class yet? Have you signed up yet?’

‘No, I haven’t’.

See, a lot of people say ‘no’ ladies and gentlemen to things and they don’t even know what they’re saying ‘no’ to. Everyone challenge themselves, he hasn’t even gone to sit into a class and say ‘teach me how to read’. Instead it’s been easier for him to go through life he thinks, trying to play a whole ‘can’t game’ pretending he knows how to do something that he doesn’t know how to do. And you know what? Most of us go through life like that. Most of us go through life pretending, pretending that we’re satisfied where we are, pretending that everything is OK, pretending that that we don’t have any special goals, ambitions or desires when really deep down inside we do really want more.