FAILURE STORIES EP.08 LES BROWN

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OVERCOMING FEAR OF FAILURE. PART 1

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

OVERCOMING FEAR OF FAILURE. PART 1

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.

 

Label

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.

 

Greatest gift

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.

 

DJ

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.

Patience

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.

 

Opportunity

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.

 

Mental conditioning

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?

 

Floor

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.

 

Dream

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

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FAILURE STORIES EP. 06 JIM CARREY

Posted Leave a commentPosted in 5 minute read, FAILURE STORIES
FAILURE STORIES EP. 06 JIM CARREY

It is better to risk starving to death then surrender. If you give up on your dreams, what's left? – Jim Carey

How many of you know Jim Carrey, either from his stand-up comedy or from his many successful films, including Dumb and Dumber, Mask, Liar Liar, The Truman Show, or A Series of Unfortunate Events? When you think of the elements that played the most vital role in his success you would probably mention talent, hard work, luck, maybe patience. You are hundred percent right but there is one more thing you are missing. Bear with to learn what is the one ingredient 99 percent of us are missing.  

 

Adversity

You might think that anyone as talented as Jim must had a great home background and went to a great school with plenty of money to afford the best of training. Think again.

It’s hard to believe that in his early years at school Jim was quiet and not very sociable. Before he became the Jim we all know he had to fight hard at school around his learning disability and dyslexia. In this struggle, he developed a phenomenal memory which turned out to be vital skill later in his stand up and acting carrier. Although his dad tended to encourage his craziness, his mom was alarmed and often sent him to his room. This just gave him more time to practice in front of the mirror.

 

Discovery

Discovering that he could make friends by simply making people laugh, was his true turning point that would affect his entire future. Although we know how he turned out to be, the results of his discovery back then weren’t all that positive. At home, he thoroughly enjoyed making faces and mimicking in his mirror. In school, he was finishing his work first and then disrupting the rest of the class. That was his way of screaming for attention. So rather than discipline him for disrupting the class, one of his teachers asked him to put together an act and perform it for the class at the end of the school day, on the condition that he would do his work and not disturb the class. He thought this was a great idea and went along with it.

 

Sacrifice

His ambitions and courage were on display when he began to think beyond just entertaining his fellow students. At age ten he sent his resume’ to actress Carol Burnette, hoping to be discovered. As we know it took him another few years to crawl to the top.

Money was another hurdle. His family lived in a rough district with lots of low-rent townhouses. By the tenth grade he was trying to juggle eight-hour night shifts at the factory with school during the day. He was so exhausted that he couldn't understand what his teachers were talking about. At that time, he didn't have any friends at school and he feared that anyone getting close might find out about his embarrassing poverty. Not having enough time to study nor to nurture school friendships he felt that school was not getting him anywhere. He called it quits at 16.

 

Hardships

His family decided that their surroundings were taking them the wrong direction, so they packed up and moved to Canada with no job in sight. His parents and two siblings lived in a beat-up yellow Volkswagen camper van for a full eight months, parking in campgrounds. Feeling intellectually backward, inferior, embarrassed and experiencing hardships of poverty paved the way to his success by making him feel that he had to try harder than others. Lots of his creativity, as well as his remarkable willingness to take risks were born out of those moments desperation.   

 

Check

In 1983, Jim headed west to Hollywood where he starred playing small parts in television movies. He was another struggling young comic trying to make his way in Los Angeles. When he wasn’t doing anything in Hollywood, he was driving his old Toyota up to Mulholland Drive and sitting in his car. While sitting there looking at the city below and dreaming of his future, he wrote himself a check for $10 million, dated it Thanksgiving 1995, added the notation “for acting services rendered” and carried it in his wallet from that day forth. On top of that he was saying to himself “Everyone wants to work with me. I’m a really good actor. I have all kinds of great movie offers.” 

 

Affirmation

He would just repeat these things over and over, literally convincing himself that he had a couple of movies lined up. He’d drive down that hill, ready to take the world on, going, “Movie offers are out there for me, I just don’t hear them yet.” This total affirmation was his own way of dealing with stems from his family background.

 

Not so Dumb after all

His appearances in TV programs led to a main role on the hit comedy In Living Color. After many years, Jim’s optimism, tenacity and conviction eventually paid off. By 1995, after the huge box office success of Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Mask, and Dumb & Dumber, his wage for a picture went up to $20 million.

 

Every day

Jim Carrey used his hard times and set-backs to motivate him to try harder. He channeled his energy to making something special out of his life. But my biggest take from his story is that he was so convinced of his self-worth, he had a very specific goal and was envisioning it on a daily basis. It’s not only about having a plan, goal or dream, it’s even more about engaging with that vision on emotional level and working on it every day. Create a vision for your life but don’t freeze on just hoping it’s magically going to happen. Nothing will ever happen if you won’t start putting it to work.

 

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FAILURE STORIES EP. 06 JIM CARREY