Home » Les Brown: You Have Greatness within You – Seminar of The Century (Full Transcript)

Les Brown: You Have Greatness within You – Seminar of The Century (Full Transcript)

So now, I want you to join me right now. I want you to think about some major goals that you’d like to achieve, something that gives your life a sense of meaning, something that will give your life a sense of purpose and direction.

My first major goal was to buy my mother a home. That was important to me. I’m adopted. I was born in a poor section of Miami, Florida called Liberty City in an abandoned building on a floor with a twin brother. And when we were 6 weeks of age, we were adopted by Mrs. Mamie Brown. My mother was 46 years of age. She only had a third-grade education but she had a Ph.D. in Mother Wit. I feel like Abraham Lincoln who said, “All that I am and all that I ever hope to be I owe to my mother.” I saw a sign once that said, “God took me out of my biological mother’s womb and placed me in the heart of my adopted mother.”

So my goal and dream was to buy my mother a home, to take care of my mother. My mother was a domestic worker on Miami Beach, and she would go to work and many days she would take us with her. And we ate the food left over from the families that my mother cooked for. They were very kind and generous people. They would say, “Mamie, whatever food is left over after you cook, you can pack it up and take it home to the children, the food that’s left over after we eat, and feed those seven children that you have adopted.”

Because of that generosity, many nights we did not go to bed hungry because they were so kind and so giving. We wore the hand-me-down clothes of the children that Mama kept. If they were too small, Mama could sew, she would let them out, or if they were too large, she would tape them in.

And my mother was a great baker. She could bake a cake. She could bake a sweet potato pie so good you couldn’t eat it with your shoes on. You had to take your shoes off so you could wiggle your toes.

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And I used to say, looking at the beautiful mansions that she used to clean, I would say, “Mama!”

She said, “What is it boy?”

“When I become a man I’m going to buy something like this for you. I’m going to buy you a home one day.”

She said, “Leslie, you don’t have to do that.”

I said, “I know Mama, but I want to. I’m going to one day.”

She didn’t know and she was curious, where was I getting those thoughts from? I used to work and take care of Mr. Sidorsky. He was a very demanding man, very meticulous guy. He would say, “Leslie!”

I’d say, “Yes, sir!”

“Come here!”

“Yes, sir!”

“You did not clean this ashtray!”

“I’m sorry, sir. I do apologize.” And I’d clean the ashtray.

“Look at this dust here. Look at this dust!”

“I’m sorry, sir.”

Now, what Mr. Sidorsky did not know was that I deliberately didn’t clean certain things because I wanted him to call me into his office. Because when he was in his office, he would listen to motivational messages by a guy by the name of Earl Nightingale. It was a series called The Strangest Secret in the World. “We become what we think about.” “All of us are self-made but only the successful will admit it.”

And as I heard those words, they began to program my mind and began to affect my thinking, and it changed how I saw myself. And my vision of myself began to expand. Listen to Bob Proctor talking early about awareness and how important it is. He most certainly is right because I had the awareness at that point in time as a result of being exposed to those messages that I could do more than I was now experiencing. Even since I’ve been associated with working with Peak Potentials, my level of awareness has expanded. Robert Riopel and Roxanne and Gail Kingsbury. It began to expand all of the people that I’ve interacted with. Life is about expansion. Robert Schuller said success is never ending.

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And I want you to think about some goal that will give your life a sense of meaning, a meaning and value. And whatever it is, I don’t want you to limit. I want you to expand it. I’ve found that most people fail in life not because they aim too high and miss. No. Most people have been like me. Most people aim in life too low, and they aim too low and hit. I did that for many years. And many don’t aim at all.

So I want you to think about goals in three areas, some personal goals that you’d like to achieve, something that gives your life meaning right now, and some career goals, some financial goals that you’d like to achieve, and your social contribution. Horace Mann said, “We should be ashamed to die until we’ve made some major contribution to humankind.” My mother was a 22-year breast cancer conqueror, so before I leave the planet, my goal is to reduce the number of women who die from breast cancer in honor of my mother.

How many men are over 40? Raise your hands, please. As a 10-year prostate cancer conqueror, my goal is to decrease the number of men who die from prostate cancer, encouraging you to get your PSA test if you haven’t done so. I owe you a digital rectal examination, and I’ll be glad when they can check our prostate by looking in our ears. There’s got to be a better way. I’m turning red as I talk about it but you can’t see it.

A friend of mine, he’s a urologist now, used to play lineman for Ohio State University. He’d say, “Les, let me give you a free rectal.” I’d say, “No, buddy. You’re too motivated.” Oh, we don’t roll like that.

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