My goal before leaving the planet is to reduce the number of kids that are impacted by autism, to find a cure for autism, to work to raise money and to raise awareness, to eradicate it from the planet before I leave here.
What’s your goal? What’s your dream? What is it you want to do with your life? Dr. Joel Martin said something that I love. She said, “What would the world be like if everybody lived their dream?” Here’s what I found about life. It’s not as complicated as I used to make it. I think that life is about dreams and stories. Everything that exists — the world at one time was barren — but everything that exists, hotels, planes, they weren’t here. Everything that we see every day, computers, all the things that we see, someone had a dream.
Someone had a dream of a person standing onstage and their voice being amplified so they don’t have to scream and yell and could be heard by thousands. Someone had that dream about how to transport us from one place to the other quickly and safely. The clothes you have on, where you’re now seated, all came out of somebody’s dream. The world’s greatest achievement.
What is your dream? I said that you have something special. I didn’t say that just to be kind. I said it because it’s true. You are God’s chosen vessel. You were chosen, one out of 400 million sperm. You have something in you that when you were chosen, when you showed up, there’s something in you that if you don’t do it, all of us will suffer. Repeat after me, please. “Live full. Die Empty.” Let’s say it again. “Live full. Die empty.” Dr. Howard Thurman, one of the mentors of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Albert Schweitzer and Mahatma Gandhi. He was a very brilliant writer. He wrote some things that really grabs me. He wrote Deep is the Hunger, The Voice of the Genuine, The Centering Moment.
During the time after receiving 238 radiation seed implants, I was reflecting on his words, and these words kept me up that night. He said, “The ideal situation for a man or woman to die is they have family members praying with them as they cross over.” He said, “But imagine if you will being on your deathbed and standing around your bed, the ghost of the dreams, the ideas, the abilities, the talents given to you by life and that you, for whatever reason, you never went after that dream. You never acted on those ideas. You never used those talents. You never used those gifts, and there they are standing around your bed looking at you with large angry eyes, saying, “We came to you, and only you could have given us life, and now we must die with you forever.”
And the question is, if you die today, what dreams, what ideas, what talents, what books, what music, what leadership, what voice will die with you? Myles Munroe, great orator and speaker, said, “The wealthiest place in the planet is not in the Far East where there’s oil in the ground, it’s not in South Africa where there are diamond mines.” He said, “The wealthiest place on the planet is the cemetery. There you’ll find greatness that we’ve never seen. There you’ll find talent and genius and potential never actualized.”
Perhaps that’s why Henry David Thoreau wrote the words, “Oh God, to reach the point of death, only to realize that you’ve never lived.” Maybe that’s why some unknown writer wrote the words, “What if you live your whole life only to discover that it was wrong? That it was wrong, that you were chosen to do something else and you didn’t do it?”
Repeat after me, please. “Live full. Die empty.” I want you to take some notes and some things, and I want you to think about your goals and dreams in the three categories that I mentioned, personal, professional, and your social contribution.
How many of you are serious about your goals and dreams? Raise your hands, please. Thank you very much. How many of you don’t want to take your dreams to your grave with you? Raise your hands, please. Very good. Shake someone’s hand on your right and left, look them in the eyes and say, “Get out of your head and step into your greatness.” Do that right now, please. Say, “Get out of your head and step into your greatness.”
I want you to write this down. Let us say together as you think about your goals and dreams, let us say together, “It’s possible.” Together, please. Yes, write that down. See, ladies and gentlemen, as an entrepreneur, I’ve been an entrepreneur for 20 years. It’s my 21st year. I could have been speaking and training for 34 years, but for 14 years I was living in my head. For 14 years, I stopped myself. For 14 years, I used to go see Zig Ziglar that I consider the number one motivational speaker on the planet. Zig Ziglar and Tony Robbins, they’re the best on the planet. Bob Proctor, they’re the best on the planet. Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, T Harv Eker. I would go and see them, and then I would leave and my conversation with myself was, my heart would say, “I can do that.” And then my mind would ask, ”How? How would you do that, Les Brown?”
See, when I was in the fifth grade, I was identified as EMR, labeled educable mentally retarded, put back from the fifth grade to the fourth grade. I failed again when I was in the eighth grade. I have no college training. And a man changed my life, and I’ll never forget his name, Mr. LeRoy Washington. He’s in his 80s now, and he’s blind from glaucoma, but he gave me a different vision of myself. I was in his class waiting on another student. He came in and said, “Young man, go to the board and work this problem out for me.”
I said, “Oh, sir, I can’t do that.”
He said, “Why not?”
I said, “I’m not one of your students.”
He said, “Look at me.”