A Review of Les Brown – The Man Behind the Myth

The Brown is one of the best motivational speakers in the world. As motivational speakers go, few come more inspiring than Les Brown. Since he dusted off his own less than flattering childhood, his life and his speeches have inspired not a few people to leave their past behind and step towards a life of triumph, confidence and contribution to the human race.

Les is a firm believer that we have all locked in each one of us the ways and the means to achieve incredible achievements. And if you’ve ever listened to any of his speeches, you will agree that he has taken it upon himself to put as many people as available on the path to achieve more than they have ever dared to imagine. If you take a look at his background, you’ll understand why this guy thinks the way he does.

Les Brown was one of the twins born to a mother who did not love them because their birth was to reveal the shame of their illicit affair. She did her best to hide her birth; first, she gave birth to them in an unfinished building.

And when that didn’t entirely cover up the secret, he arranged for them to be adopted within their first month of life by a woman who was a single maid. Although the woman showed young Brown a lot of kindness and instilled in him some self-confidence, his troubled childhood was always going to take its toll, for a time.

During his adolescence he gradually gained a reputation as a rebellious and mischievous child. He had trouble concentrating and was soon labeled “retarded.” And he lived true to that label, until someone gave him another!

For all intents and purposes, it was LeRoy Washington who redirected Les Brown’s course in life. LeRoy was said to have told Brown that “someone’s opinion of you doesn’t have to become your reality.”

That statement was going to change the focus of Les Brown’s life forever. It was like a release from the mental chains that he had been fooled with for years. Having learned that empowerment comes from within, Les’s life would never be the same again. The former city sanitation worker steadily worked his way up to the Ohio state legislature.

Then a chance encounter with Zig Ziglar, the great motivational speaker, finally inspired Les Brown to tap into his own public speaking skills. At the time, neither Les nor anyone who knew him thought he could be a great public speaker. But as he said in one of his books “life takes on a new meaning when one is motivated”. Les Brown’s foray and his eventual success into public and motivational speaking owes more to the power of motivation than anything else. His speaking career eventually blossomed and he began speaking to larger and larger audiences, including Fortune 500 companies.

So what can you learn from this great speaker and motivator? Personally, I have identified two key lessons that we can all learn from Les Brown’s life and career: (1) Don’t operate your life with a manual that others give you. Simply put, don’t let people’s opinion of you determine how you approach life and what you intend in life. (2) Les Brown’s personal life and professional accomplishments also demonstrate that with the right motivation and inspiration, each of us can go much further in life than where our family circumstances and surroundings left us. Now that should be very liberating, don’t you agree?

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