Les Brown: The Power to Change (Full Transcript)

Les Brown

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

Listen to the MP3 Audio here: The Power to Change – Les Brown FULL

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.

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.

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?’




‘And you can’t read or write’.


‘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.

But if you look at our behavior, if you judge based upon what we do, that really will tell you some true stories about people, because you have to judge a tree by the fruit it bears, not the fruit that it talks about. See, a lot of people pretend that they want more out of life but all you have to do is watch their actions. That will tell you something.

So I used to pretend that I wanted to lose weight but how could you tell I was pretending? Watch me when I have a piece of sweet potato pie. Let me get within walking distance of some peanuts, some potato chips. See, I was pretending that I really wanted to lose weight. No, you just watch what I eat, that’d tell you what I am absolutely committed to. People will tell you oh yeah one day I want to have a restaurant, see, they are pretending they want to go into business while themselves they’re not serious. How can you tell, Les? Watch their actions. Watch what they’re doing. The proof is in the pudding.

So if you want to do something, if you thought about something you want to do, take it head-on, decide that you’re going to start looking and start doing, research on it, start tackling, start becoming involved in whatever and wherever it might lead you to begin to explore the possibilities in that particular thing that you’re seeking, so that you can begin to learn all you can about it. Decide that you’re going to face it, that whatever shortcomings you have, that you’re going to strengthen yourself there. Whatever training is required that you’re going to go get that training, that you’re going to get started right now. George Washington Carver would say: ‘do what you can where you are with what you have and never be satisfied’. SB Fuller used to say, and you heard [Joe W] talk about always try to be more than that which you are, you don’t get satisfied with yourself. Always know that wherever you are, you can enjoy more, that you deserve more. But most people you know what they do. Most people go through life quietly and safely tiptoeing to an early grave.

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Find out what it is you want and go after it as if your life depends on it. Why? Because it does. People that have found their passion, people that found the things that they love, people that have found the things that they can pour their lives into, those people live longer. I was in New York and I had to do a seminar at a special church and a guy by the name of Rev. Johnny Youngblood and I said how is it that you were able to build this big housing facility and got all of the various community and religious groups together to have this dwelling for 2,000 residents that were once homeless? How were you able to take on this responsibility? Wasn’t that overwhelming? He said the kind of work I do, he said, it’s in me. I’ve got to live what’s in me. I think that’s everybody’s desire in life. You’ve got to live what’s in. Your life is just too short and unpredictable. But what do we say but, ‘but there will always be tomorrow’. Oh no, there are no guarantees you’re going to show up tomorrow. A lot of people who were here yesterday that they’re not here today. There are a lot of opportunities that were around yesterday, they’re not here today. Oh you can wait but you know what Abraham Lincoln said, ‘Well, good things may come to those who wait but only the things that have been left over by those who hustle’.

So who wants to go through life picking up leftovers? You deserve much more than that. The leftovers that somebody’s left you. So take it head-on, begin to explore.

Here’s something else. Decide to do it now. Decide whatever you want to do that you are now going to become actively involved right now, exploring the possibilities for you, that you’re going to look at it and do just a little bit of it right now. When I decided to become a speaker, I didn’t just quit my job and just ran out and say I’m a motivational speaker. No. What I did was I decided to start looking at other people that were involved in the speaking profession. And I volunteered to work with some speakers so that I could learn. Whatever you want to do, get your feet wet, gain some experience doing some volunteer work in the area and find out whether or not this thing you want to do will fit for you. [Fred Meyer] told me he wanted to have a restaurant. I said, ‘Have you ever operated a restaurant before?’

He said no.

I said, ‘Well, really? You don’t even know if you want one’.

I said ‘What’s your expertise? What do you bring to the table?’

He said, ‘I can cook real good.’

I said, ‘But what about the management side? What about the business part of the restaurant? You’re not going to be cooking all the time. Somebody’s got to receive the money. Who’s going to manage the personnel?’

He said ‘You got it right. You got a point there’.

So this guy got a job in a restaurant in the evening time on a part-time basis. After doing that for a while he said you know what I think I just want to be a chef. He said after working there people didn’t show up to work, he said, hard to find any help, people weren’t responsible, the headaches, the guests were giving problems day in and day out, they were never satisfied, he said no, I just got to stick to cooking. See, you’ve got to find out what fits for you, because you might decide after you go up in there and examine it, experience it and get some experience at the above, well you say this is really not what I want, this does not fit for me. So decide that you’re going to do that. Now John H. Johnson said something that’s very important, he said ‘There is no defense against an excellence that meets a pressing public need’.

See, whatever you decide to do, look at it and find out what is it that I have, that I could bring to the table that can begin to enable me to ensure that I could be successful in this. Where is the opening for you? There’s room for you out here, out here in the arena called life. There is this room for you to come out and live your dream. Don’t allow but to keep you in the corner, keep you up in the bleaches looking at life being a spectator, not being a participant making a difference in life. I believe that all of us came here with something. All of us showed up to give something and that nobody but nobody is going to give that service that you have to give. No one’s going to produce your product. No one’s going to write your book. No one’s going to open your academy. No one’s going to begin to create your daycare with a special curriculum to help to cultivate the high self-esteem in our children, that’s your idea.

And if you don’t bring your ID out here when you die all of us will suffer, because we’ve been deprived of your genius, because you allowed but to keep you in the bleaches for not pursuing your greatness. You take it to your grave with you. And that’s what most people do. I think that’s why the guy said that ‘many people die at age 21 and don’t get buried until they are 65’. They’re walking dead. You can tell them by the way they walk, how they look in the face, when they speak to you. I was giving a speech at this high school and a lady came after school, she said ‘Mr. Brown, I want to talk to you about my son’.

I said, ‘What is it?’

She said, ‘He’s not motivated’.

I said ‘I wonder why’.

You’ve got to have energy, ladies and gentlemen. You’ve got to have life. If you’re excited about what you’re doing, even in the area of selling, you know people don’t buy because of logical reasoning, people buy because of your way of feeling. People don’t like to be out there, people. No, no, the dead bury the dead. No, no, keep them away from me.

So the fact that that whatever you do, you want to be excited about. You want to have the kind of excitement that is so contagious that people want to be around you, because whatever you’re doing, whatever you talk to people about this particular idea that you have, they’re looking at you and they want to know: do you believe in? And are you the kind of person they want to be in business with? And if you’re not positive, if you’re not energetic, if you’re not fired up about it, how can you expect anybody else to be fired up about your idea? Am I right?

All right. Repeat after me please. I’m going to be fired up about my dream. I’m going to go at it with everything I’ve got. Shake somebody’s hand on your right and left and say you’ve got what it takes.

There are a lot of people who say, ‘But I tried once or twice and it didn’t work out’. And so they use that as an excuse not to ever come out again. A guy said, ‘if at first you don’t succeed, you’re running about average’. So if you have come out here with an idea and it didn’t work out two or three times, well, that’s all right. You’re running about average. You know I heard something, a jarring question, it says: ‘Why is it that people prefer known hells to unknown heavens?’ You know why, because it’s comfortable, ladies and gentlemen.

I remember I was in a service lunch and I heard Dr. Johnnie Colemon give this example. She talked about a man who had been captured behind the enemy lines in a war and was sentenced to be killed or another option. The captain said to the guy, ‘Listen’, he said, ‘tomorrow morning at six o’clock you can face the firing squad or you can go out this door over here’.

And the guy said, ‘What’s out the door?’

He said, ‘No one knows. All we can tell you is just unknown horrors’.

He thought, and the next morning he selected the firing squad. After the shots rang out, the captain’s secretary said, ‘What’s beyond that door?’

And he said, ‘Freedom. But very few people would select to do it because it’s unknown’.

Lot of people never do the things they want to do. Lot of people stay on jobs where they’re miserable. Is your job making you sick? A lot of people, some of y’all know about that already here. That one lady told me, she said, ‘Les, when I used to go to work’, she said, ‘when I stepped in the door, I felt like a refrigerator dropped on my shoulders’. How many of you all understand that kind of feeling? They were measurable, just hated to go after 60 minutes on Sunday afternoon or come Monday morning, my head used to throb, I just couldn’t take it, didn’t want to go sometime just for the heck of, I’d just drive on by. I used to hate to go to work. Many of us choose an active living death. Many of us are walking dead, the walking dead, that we’re not doing what we want to do. Many of us stay in relationships where we’re dying together rather than growing and expanding and living together. We’re miserable but because we don’t have the courage to see ourselves beyond that relationship that has turned toxic, we go through life living dead people.

And that you can always tell couples that have been together for a little while, go in a restaurant, the ones sitting side by side giggling and talking to each other, feed each other with their forks and spoon. They just got together for one week. You see them in the car, they’re sitting all of each other, or they’ve been together about three days. But if you see people in the restaurant, see a couple and they’re sitting in front of each other, take so long for this food, I wonder when they’d go hurry up. Those are married ones. But what about people who have been married for years living in two separate rooms, sleeping in two separate beds? Well, it’s cheaper to keep it not necessarily. It’s according to the price you want to pay. See the price of peace of mind, the price of living the truth of being honest with you. Wait a minute. It’s got to be more than this, so you’ve got to decide wait, wait, even if things don’t work out, even if I experienced defeat or failure that does not make me a failure. It’s a difference between failing and being a failure. If things don’t work out, if you don’t produce the results you want, that’s all. But don’t confuse who you are with the results that you produce.

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I used to be a state legislator in Columbus, Ohio, and I remember once I was going to introduce in legislation on the floor and after getting that legislation passed, a guy came up behind me. And he had some legislation that I opposed him on that. And I was about to stand up to debate this guy. And a guy next to me said, ‘Don’t debate that guy.’


‘Do you know who that is?’

I said no.

‘It’s Will Koski from Toledo. A bad due. He’s a lawyer, Les.’

‘If that man can debate, I don’t care, I am Les Brown, Mamie Brown’s boy’.

So I raised my hand Mr. Speaker. He said ‘The gentleman from the 29th house district?’

‘Yes sir. So tell the gentleman I’d like to take him on, challenge him on this legislation’.

He said, Will Koski said, ‘I would more than like to Mr. speaker.’

Everybody said whoa. I asked him some questions, he responded. I say I wondered why I asked that man that question. Will Koski wore me out. I mean I was not there and I was just limping back to my room.

However here’s what I learned. When you win — see, if I win a debate, I win because of what I know. When I lose, I lose because of what I don’t know. So I had to check out what is it that I did not know. I wasn’t prepared, I did not do enough research. I did not do my homework. So he handled me like he wanted to.

So I came back again, I waited on to some other legislation, did my homework but he was more than able to take me out again. But pretty soon each time it would take him, it would become a little bit more difficult and a little bit more difficult. And the older guy said, ‘Would you argue on behalf of this legislation for me?’ I said sure, I’d start volunteering to do work in the legislative committees for the older guys. I said absolutely. And the more I did it the better I became and then people began to start respecting me. When I would ask and say Mr Speaker, I’d like to speak on that bill. So guys like [Tremplin] and stuff like Jimmy, oh wait a minute, did I say anything wrong? Do we have a problem here?

But if I wasn’t willing to be humiliated, if I wasn’t willing to allow myself to be embarrassed, if I wasn’t willing to be debated and defeated, if I wasn’t willing to look at it and say, ‘Well, I’m just not good as I’m going to be’. You heard that lady say, ‘Lord, I ain’t what I want to be, what I’m going to be but thank God I am showing what I was’. Does that make sense?

See, you want to learn all you can in life. You’ve got to be willing to experiment, you’ve got to be willing to learn to dance with life. Larry D’Anges said, ‘If you don’t learn to dance with life, life will pass you by and get another partner’. I’m saying you’re going to have to dance even if you don’t want to. You’re going to have to dance with life. So you might as well learn you some steps, because this is going to drag you out on the floor anyhow. So you better get out there and try to do the twists. Because life will put some nuts on your head anyhow. I mean he’ll come up and bleaches and slap you before everybody. That’s it why it’s called life. No one is immune. Just think, just over a year ago everybody talked about Donald Trump, he was a darling of America, the American dream fulfilled. Just over a year ago, less than two years, everything that people were bragging about this wealthy invincible American figure, look what has happened now. No one, no one is exempt from that.

I was talking to a friend of mine by the name of Maria. Maria who was diagnosed as having muscular dystrophy at age 15 and wheelchair bound, figured that nothing happened to her, she was somewhat immune she felt unconsciously from any more accidents or misfortunes in life. Her wheelchair malfunctioned. She fell out, suffered a closed head injury, almost went blind, lost her memory and concentration for a long period of time. She said, ‘On that day, Les, I decided to leave’.

I said ‘Why?’

She said ‘Life is about today’. She said I felt because what had happened to me I was exempt somehow. No, no life will knock on everybody’s door. I don’t care who you are, care how nice you are, life will come get you. People will dislike you because you’re nice. Oh she thinks she’s nice. People will dislike you because you look better than they do, because you have more than they do. They are envious and make up lies about you and attack you. They’re envious of you. Why? I don’t know. That’s the way they set it up. I don’t know. I don’t even ask any questions. That’s just where it is. That’s the way it is. Handle it and that’s what Maria said, ‘Les, I want to live’. She said they told me I was going to go blind.

I said ‘Wait a minute, can you imagine me around a shopping center in a wheelchair and a walking dog too? She said I’m going to go see doc I’ve got to, and she can see today. That willpower, that determinate very positive upbeat person, I say but don’t — sometimes you feel sorry for yourself and don’t you wish you had the capacity to what other people do? She said I don’t waste my time comparing my condition with other people, one. And she said people that suffer from a lack of motivation suffer mainly from a lack of self-appreciation. She said I know that I have value and the fact that I’m in a wheelchair doesn’t make me any less of a human being who can contribute something to life.

And I’m saying that all of us can begin to affirm that, that my life is worthwhile, doesn’t matter what I’ve experienced, doesn’t matter what I have experienced, doesn’t matter about what I don’t have, doesn’t matter about what I have gone through. What’s important is that where I am right now, that I live life and I experience my life fully. She said, ‘Les, before the accident I wasn’t living 100% of my life’.

I said ‘What were you living?’

She said ‘Around 20%.’

And I said you know what, I said I know what that’s like. See if you go through life holding back and most of us do, most of us that we ask ourselves: have we done all we can do? Most of us will have to answer: no, we haven’t. We’ve been holding back, we have ideas that we don’t act on, things we want to do, we’re afraid to take chances. We go through life trying to seek security and not coming outside of our comfort zone, and we take most of our stuff with us to the grave. And I’m saying that the fact that you’re still here, that you’re still breathing, you’ve got some more work and you owe it to yourself. You owe it to yourself. So when you get up in the morning that you can look yourself in the face and say, ‘Hey I’m living my life on my terms’. That’s important, not to give up on your dream, not to give up on yourself.

Now are there going to be some moments when you want to give up? Yes. Will there be some moments when it’s going to seem like it’s impossible, the pain that you’re experiencing, the disappointment that you’re experiencing, that you’re going to say it’s not worth it? Yes, that’s going to be right there for you. It’s going to be in your face telling you to go back, you’re going to start listening to the butts and butts will have all kind of help and support from your family members and friends saying I told you, fool! You’re going to this positive making stuff, look at you now that you wish you had that job now. Remember I lost my job, I used to be very controversial in Columbus, Ohio than broadcasting, I lost my job and here’s what I learned. That you’ve got to immediately start using your energy positively. Old folks who said an idle mind is the devil’s workshop, that’s real. I mean when I didn’t have anything to do my mind used it, you better go back and get your job. Why did you just shut up, always running your mouth. Why did you just hush, you’ll be working right now.

Broadcasting was all that I knew, and that was my life. I love talking to people and I love playing them records, I used to come on air, lookout this is Les Brown. Hello right, get up, face these, raise your right hand, throw your head back, put your teeth in and say I am somebody.

But here’s what you discover when you’re real good at what you do. A lot of people will find you to be a threat, they won’t hire you. They want people in there they can control and dominate. So if you’re a high-powered person sometimes that can be a liability for you. So it was difficult for me to get a job in broadcasting, did not get a job in broadcasting, had to take another route, had to begin to use my talents and abilities in other area. Wherever you are right now, I’m saying to you you’ve got at least three or four or five talents that you are not even aware of right now. And you’ll never be aware of them unless you come outside your comfort zone and challenge yourself to develop your talents and abilities, to see what it is that you might have a knack for, that you haven’t discovered it yet.

See, most people never discover their true potential or their other talents and abilities because they figured that they are one-dimensional and they don’t try and stretch themselves and learn more. A guy said, ‘He who learns the most earns the most’. See, if you start learning more things and finding out and experimenting with your life and finding out what else fits for you, here’s what you discover: that as you start working with it and the more you do it, the more you realize other ideas coming to you, the more creative you can become. And then you say wait a minute, wait a minute, you know this comes much more easily than I realized, I’ve developed a knack and a style for this.

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See, a guy said to me, he said, if you develop your gift — ‘do you like to talk, do you like people?’ I said yeah. He said if you develop your gifts, he said, your gifts will take you a long ways in life. And ladies and gentlemen, because I decided — I used to be a jack of all trades and master of none. I tried to — I used to be a disc jockey, state representative, community activist, used to do public relations where I used to promote shows, used to be an MC in a nightclub, used to own a nightclub, The Pink Pussycat in Columbus, Ohio. I did everything, sold insurance, you name it, door to door salesman, I did it all. But finally I decided to focus my energy, I looked at all my talents and abilities. I said well, I’ve got to just find what’s my one thing, what’s my trump card? What’s the one thing that I do better than I do anything else? I said what I liked to a lot of things, I like to promote, I like to MC, I like to talk, I like being a disc jockey, program director, like being a community activist, I enjoyed being a state legislator but I had to find one thing. And I found that one thing.

I decided I was going to develop myself as a speaker. And I started following other speakers around. I started doing research, I would read about Marcus Garvey, Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, Winston Churchill. “The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance made deride it but at the end there it is’. Carlyle: ‘True crushed to earth shall rise again’. I would follow Dr. Otis Moss. I read what Dr. Martin Luther King said, he’s the greatest preacher in the world, I used to follow him. Of Charles Adams out of Detroit, Michigan, any great speakers I would follow them and watch them. I’ll be in the back just checking them out, used to watch Billy Graham on television, turned the volume down to watch his hand movements, because he’s so expressive with his hands. I just became a student of the area that I wanted to become involved in. I would go to the motivational rallies, joined the National Speakers Association and watching all these guys and then I would work in practice in other areas in developing my own style. Sometimes I would imitate other guys, eventually what you’ll begin to do is that you emerge and develop your own style as you do it and work with it and work with it and work with it and work with it. And I say to you, that is so exciting.

People that are working on their dreams and developing themselves, they have a different kind of walk, they have different kind of energy. You can tell them the temple of their conversation they walk differently, they have a lot of energy, they have a glow about them. People that aren’t working on their dream, see there is — you can tell how — their movement, their body language, their voice conversation, they are real slow. ‘Hey, I’ll just call, I wouldn’t do and then thought I called you’. Well don’t do that over here. They look at a lot of television. What’s on, no I’m just looking. No, you’ve got to watch this, you don’t want to be like that. You want to actively be involved in creating life and making it exciting for you. See, if you watch the news all day and read what’s happening in the news, you’ll be scared to come on jobs. Am all right? You’ll be scared.

See, you’ve got to keep the little boy and the little girl alive in you. See, most people don’t smile; you know that? You know, even if you’re homely you look good with your smile. Isn’t that something? Now you look over and they’re already smiling, you are the homely one. I just made, I just made. I’m glad to be alive. And so I feel like that. You know, Robert Eliot who’s the head of the Cardiology Department at the University of Nebraska, he suffered a massive heart attack. He was in hospital for three months and while there he reflected on his life after this near-death experience, because his mother and father both of them had no history of heart failure. Both of them lived to be over 80 and he wrote something: in order to live a long life and be happy, he said, number one, rule number one: don’t sweat the small stuff. And rule number two: it’s all small stuff. Isn’t that real? That’s real.

See if you’re working on your dream, sure there are going to be times you’re going to want to give up. Sure, there’ll be times when life will knock you down and catch you on the blind side. But the challenge is to hold on. And if you hold on tenaciously, I say the universe is on your side. A way will come out knowing someone will step forward and help you, just a blessing. Who are you? I don’t know but thank you for coming, hey!

So don’t allow both difficult and challenging times to demoralize you. I love to quote this guy: Charles Udall. He said: ‘In life, you will always be faced with a series of God-ordained opportunities brilliantly disguised as problems and challenges’. And I’m saying in your hands, you have ideas, you have been given something to bring to the universe that was not here before you showed up. See, nobody, ladies and gentlemen, is going to give Les Brown speech. This is my speech. The motivator from Detroit is my speech. You can’t take Mamie’s boy. You can’t take my speech. No, you’ve got to go get your own speech. You can’t come up here and take my speech. No!

So I’m saying to you: can’t nobody take your good? See that which is meant for you has your name on it. No one can take your good from you. That’s you. That work you’ve been given, that idea that you’ve been given, if you don’t come out here with that idea, no one’s going to bring your idea out here. Whatever you’re sitting on, whatever idea you’re working on, whatever passion you got to be like Johnny Youngblood, he said, ‘Hey, I’ve got to live what’s in me’. Let me tell you I’m happier than I’ve ever been in my life. Why? I got peace of mind. You can’t put a price tag on that. I’m doing what I am supposed to do.

And I say to you the universe is calling you. A young lady wrote me a letter once after hearing me speak in Detroit and I had just finished working with some kids. And it really was a short letter — short letter but powerful, and the letter read, she said, ‘the voice of greatness has called me and I’m afraid to answer’. Oh I felt that, I know what it is not to answer. See, I could have been doing this years ago but I was afraid to answer. I had these bugs that I was hiding behind. If I get him, I didn’t want to come, not me, not me, I’m not good enough. I’m not — wait, let me get ready, let me get ready. You know, you’ve seen those perpetual students, oh, let me get ready, let me get ready.

Got a friend named Calvin, going to school 10 years, 10 years, got all kind of degrees, ain’t doing nothing in life. I’m saying answer your call, the universe is calling you. Here’s something about life: you can’t get out of it alive. Hello, you can’t get out of life alive. Live now like Maria said live your dream now.

So the other night I had a funeral and I don’t mind doing it again. We buried ‘but’. We said, ‘but, you have no place in our lives, no more. These dreams you’ve been killing, oh, ‘but’, you will kill no more dreams up here. Everybody repeat after me. ‘But’ get out of my life. I don’t need you no more. Don’t come back here. Shake somebody’s hand on your right and left and say keep him away.

So finally, I say look at your life and decide that my life is beautiful, that my life is meaningful to me. I’m not exactly sure what I want to do but because my life means so much to me and there are no guarantees in life I’m going to live as much as I can each day. I’m going to do what I can where I am right now and whatever I shared with you, I read a book called It Works If You Work It. That’s what Johnnie Colemon said.

See, if you don’t decide to act on your dream, if you don’t decide to make a decision to live your life, if you don’t decide to step into your fears, if you don’t decide to say yes to your life, it will never work for you. The time for just wishing is past, time for doing, that’s the time right now. Time for acting on your dream, holding on courageously as Winston Churchill said and not lose enthusiasm. Time to face yourself and talk to yourself in the mirror. Time to look around and become creative and see what need or service that you can provide with high standards so that people will talk about you being a master in what you do because of the commitment of pride and excellence and high standards that you’ve set for yourself. It’s time for you to look within yourself and decide that I’m in charge of my destiny. I’m in charge here and I’m not going to allow anybody to turn me around. I am determined that I’m going to make it.

And here’s something, ladies and gentlemen. When you make it important, it’s not a preference, it’s not negotiable, it’s a must. And when you decide I’m going to do it regardless of the opposition, regardless of the difficulties I’m going to make this happen because it’s important to me. I’m saying the universe will yield to you and life will never be the same again. Live your dream!

This is Mrs. Mamie Brown’s baby boy Leslie Calvin Brown saying it’s been a plum pleasing pleasure as well as the privilege. Thank you all here. Thank you very much.


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