Look at a man the way he is and he only becomes worse, but look at him as if he were what he could be, then he becomes what he should be - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
It’s very important to believe you are the one to do it- Les Brown
He was born in an abandoned building, adopted and labeled as educable mentally retarded early in school. His life is a story of perseverance and hustle to get where he is right now.
Shortly after being born on the floor of an abandoned building in poor side of Miami, Les Brown and his twin brother were adopted by Mamie Brown, a kitchen worker and maid. When Les was in 5th grade he was labeled as educable mentally retarded and put back from the 5th grade to 4th grade. Same thing happened again in the 8th grade. Upon graduation, he became a city sanitation worker in Miami Beach. But he had a dream of being a disc jockey. At night, he would take a transistor radio to bed where he listened to the local jive-talking deejays. He created an imaginary radio station in his tiny room with its torn vinyl flooring. A hairbrush served as his microphone as he practiced his patter, introducing records to his imaginary listeners. He was wrapped up in his own world, living a dream.
He didn’t receive any collage training but one particular speech and drama instructor changed his life. His name was Leroy Washington. Mr. Washington gave him a greatest gift anyone can ever give. A different vision of himself. When Les was in his class waiting for a different student, Mr. Washington said “Young man go to board and work this problem out for me”. “Oh, Sir I can’t do that” – replied Les. “Why not?” - said the teacher. “I’m not one of your students”. While looking at him Mr. Washington said: “Go to that board and work the problem out”. With a trembling voice Les mumbled “Sir I can’t do that, because I’m educable mentally retarded. I’m in special education”. The students started laughing and they said: “That’s Lesley. Not Wesley. His DT. Wesley is the smart twin”. “What is DT stand’s for?” – said Mr. Washington. Lesly relied with a shame on his face: “I’m the dumb twin, Sir”. As the students laugh at him, Mr. Washington came from behind and looked at him: “Don’t you ever say that again. Someone’s opinion of you does not have to become your reality”. On the one hand Les was humiliated but on the other hand he felt liberated.
Worth doing badly
From felling free he looked at his goals and dreams and said to himself How am I going to do that? He went straight from his heart to his mind and he stayed up there for 14 years. The first time Les stood up to speak publicly his mind set down. He looked at the audience and he panicked. He had to introduce a play but he ran of the stage. Mr. Washington said to him: “If you run now, you will always be running. Anything that’s is worth doing, is worth doing badly until you get it right. Go back out there”. Other students dog him out and he became the laughing-stock of the whole school
Breaking the fear
Another event came out Mr. Washington said: Mr Brown you’re up. Les went up and pretty soon when people laughed at him it didn’t even bother him. Later one day he came out and he came to himself. He broke out of that fear and in front of the whole school gave the first of his great speeches.
One day Les boldly went to the local radio station during his lunch break from mowing grass for the city. He got into the station manager’s office and told him he wanted to be a disc jockey. When it turned out that he didn’t have any background in broadcasting, it was the end of the conversation. But young Les was far from being over. His commitment to his goal was remarkable. Les had strong enough reasons, higher purpose than simply wanting to be a disc jockey. He wanted to buy a nicer house for his adoptive mother, whom he loved deeply. This job was just the step on the way.
And so Les returned to the station every day for a week, asking if there were any job openings. Finally, the station manager gave in and took him as a free intern. Les did whatever was asked of him at the station – and more. While hanging out with the deejays, he studied their movements on the control panel. At night, he practiced and prepared himself for the opportunity that he knew would present itself.
One Saturday afternoon it did. Because of his persistence and preparation, Les was ready. He wowed the audience and his general manager. As you pursue your dream, you are becoming stronger and smarter. In one of his speeches he said: There will be times when doors of opportunity open up for you as you walk your path. Stay focused and stay true to your dream, and more doors will open up for you.
When he watched Dr Norman Vincent Peale speak publicly he thought: I could do that. I would love to talk to people. I can do that. But when he started going back to his car his mental conditioning activated itself and it said: Les Brown you can’t do that. You don’t have a college education. You don’t have the training. You’ve never worked for major corporation. What makes you think you can?
It was hard when Les entered the motivational speaking arena in the mid-1980s, he had virtually nothing but one tape of his motivational speeches. He rented an office in Pen Penobscot Building in Detroit, Michigan and he felt on some hard times. He was sleeping on the floor in his office. In one of his great speeches just three years later he said: “I didn't even want a blanket or a pallet on the floor. I wanted it to be hard and cold so it would motivate me to keep striving. I didn't want to get soft." It was hard for him when had to read a letter from bulling management that he cannot sleep in his office. It was hard for him to go through the lobby and get laughed out.
Pursuing your dream, you will face disappointments, defeats and failures. But that’s okay. That’s given. Dreams are supposed to be hard to reach – that’s why they are called dreams. It’s very important (to know) when you hold on to that dream, there are moments when you’re going to doubt yourself. Rough times are gonna come but they have not come to stay. They have come to pass – Less Brown
Thanks for reading! 🙂 If you enjoyed it, hit that heart button below and share it with your friends.