Les Brown is well-known today for being one of the most inspirational and motivating public speakers. Not many know just how difficult and troubled his background and upbringing was however.
He really has lived the inspiring story he preaches, and understanding his life really puts his speeches and quotes into more perspective.
A Little Background on Les Brown’s Story
Les was born, along with his twin brother, into a poverty stricken part of Miami. Abandoned by his birth parents, Les and his brother was adopted by a woman called Mamie Brown.
As a young child Les was hyperactive and lacked attention. He was placed in what was then known as special education classes for children with learning disabilities. He spent the duration of grade and high school in these classes as the education system struggled to find a place for him.
His first job was as a sanitation worker in Miami Beach. But even then the spark inside Les gave him a desire for more. He had dreams of being a disc jockey and working in radio. His brother and mother would always have to ask him to quiet down as he spend hours at home practicing.
Although the fire inside us has to largely come from our own desires and determination, being encouraged by others is a huge influence. Les’ mother always told him he could achieve whatever he set his heart on, and that he should never give up.
This gave him the encouragement to walk into a radio station and enquire about being taken on and trained. Although, with no experience he was turned away. But that didn’t deter him, Les returned everyday and showed his passion and determination for the role.
Eventually he was given a role as an errand boy, and paid nothing. But this was the foot in the door he needed to take the next step. He studied how the DJ’s worked, what they did, and how he could become involved.
Then one afternoon the perfect opportunity arose, a DJ on air was drinking and the manager needed someone to take over at short notice. Les jumped at the chance, taking the mic and talking like he had done it a millions times before. Which, he had, in his room alone as he dreamed of this moment.
That was the beginning of something special, a career that led him on to politics, public speaking, motivational speeches, and some absolutely incredible powerful motivational quotes.
There are a number of life lessons to be learned from just Les’ story alone. Principles and ideals we can all apply to our own lives. Whether it’s relationships, careers, or self-development.
Here Are 20 Inspirational Les Brown Quotes to Fire That Motivation Up
A lot of people become discouraged too soon. The name of the game is, you’ve got to be relentless.
“Relentless” is a word Les uses often. It’s powerful, never give up. As I mentioned above Les himself refused to give up when he was applying to work at a radio station. Next time you feel discouraged and are thinking about giving up – don’t!
You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.
This could not be more true. You really are never too old to start something new. Think about today, not tomorrow, or next year. You are responsible for what you’re achieving, not your age. It’s just a number.
I advise you to say your dream is possible and then overcome all inconveniences, ignore all the hassles and take a running leap through the hoop, even if it is in flames.
Achieving what you thought was the impossible is incredibly motivating and satisfying. No matter how difficult the road ahead seems, you CAN do it. Too many people convince themselves they are facing the impossible, turning the possible into the impossible.
Some people would rather get even instead of get ahead.
What’s the point in wasting time and energy tying to level the score you have with someone? Instead, invest your time in getting ahead and moving past these blocks.
Just because Fate doesn’t deal you the right cards, it doesn’t mean you should give up. It just means you have to play the cards you get to their maximum potential.
Take what you have and make the best of it. Anyone can achieve their goals, blaming the hand you were dealt is just an excuse. There have been countless motivational stories detailing successes wilder than your wildest dreams, achieved by people dealt a worse hand than you. So what’s your real excuse?
You take on the responsibility for making your dream a reality.
You have to hold yourself accountable. You are responsible for your own choices and decisions. So make the right choices, hold yourself accountable and make your dreams a reality.
If you run around with 9 losers pretty soon you’ll be the 10th one.
The people we surround ourselves with have a huge impact on our lives. We are the average of those we spend the most time with, so take a look at your inner circle.
Perfection does not exist – you can always do better and you can always grow.
This is a great one. Never settle for anything, you can always go one better. Or at least you better try your hardest.
Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.
Paralysis by fear will crush your spirit and dreams. Learn to conquer your fears, you will open up yourself to a whole world of new opportunities.
Forgive yourself for your faults and your mistakes and move on.
If you dwell on the mistakes you’ve made you will not move forward and improve. Mistakes happen, we’re all human. Next time you make a mistake tell yourself, ‘this isn’t the first time, and it won’t be the last time’. Move on.
Wanting something is not enough. You must hunger for it. Your motivation must be absolutely compelling in order to overcome the obstacles that will invariably come your way.
Most of us want similar things. Success, money, happiness, fulfilling relationships. What separates those who achieve these things, and those who don’t? The hunger for it. The burning desire and drive it takes to pass the others. If you don’t want it bad enough, you don’t deserve it.
Shoot for the moon and if you miss you will still be among the stars.
This is one of Les Brown’s most famous quotes. I really like it, it’s simple but very explanatory. Shoot as high as you can, dream big, if you don’t make it you will achieve something special along the way.
Other people’s opinion of you does not have to become your reality.
This encompasses what a lot of Les’ messages convey. Create your own reality. Live in the reality you want and you have created for yourself. It doesn’t matter what other people think of you, it shouldn’t influence your own reality.
Help others achieve their dreams and you will achieve yours.
This is powerful. If you help enough people get what they want, you increase your chances of getting what you want. Share in success, be generous and genuine, good things will absolutely happen.
You cannot be wimpy out there on the dream-seeking trail. Dare to break through barriers, to find your own path.
It takes courage and bravery to succeed. If it was easy, everyone would do it. It’s not going to be easy, you’re going to have to push yourself, find your inner strength, it’s worth it.
Live out of your imagination instead of out of your memory.
You can either look back, or look forward. Memory’s are great, and they are guaranteed. But live out of your imagination, you can create a much more interesting and fun future.
Luck is nice, but work is something you can control. So get working!
Luck is when preparation meets opportunity. So put in the work and be prepared and make your own luck. Then everything will fall into place, not because of luck but because you earned it.
Every day, we can either choose to be a victim or we can choose to live life victoriously.
Are you one of those people who feel sorry for themselves and always think you’re the victim? It’s time to life victoriously and stop feeling like this.
If you are carrying strong feelings about something that happened in your past, they may hinder your ability to live in the present.
Holding on to past experiences hold you back from moving forward. It can cause anxiety and is always a bad mindset to have.
Life has no limitations, except the ones you make.
You set your own limits. Remember that, it’s up to you to decide you want better and are going to do something about your future.
Phil lives in England, UK, and has around 20 years experience as a professional life, career and executive coach. He started this blog to help others find and define their own self development journey. Blogging about a wide range of topics to help facilitate a better future.