The Great Men's Cross 6: Les Brown 1

Les Brown

Life is though unfair but an anonymous speaker once said, if life throws you a lemon; make lemonade out of it. Most of the things that happen to us and bring us down are things that are beyond our strength ability, however, stories have shown that most of these problems are actually surmountable with reference to that of Ben Carson, Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs and the likes.

These problems are just there to test our resilience and prepare us for the journey ahead and greatness attached to it. Most times during these challenges, we learn maturity, emotional intelligence, self-discipline, contentment and adaptation. This will also be reflected in the series, The Great Men’s Cross where we are going to dissect the story of Les Brown, a well-recognized and successful international motivator who was termed ‘educable mentally retarded’, but was able to see himself more than what people called, felt or viewed of him.

Les Brown: The Hopeless Fighter
Les Brown is an American author, radio DJ, motivational speaker and television host. He was also a former member of the Ohio House of Representatives. His belief in life is that ‘It is Possible’ and he teaches people to always follow their dream like he did. At a time in his life, when he was in grade school, he is called ‘educable mentally retarded’. Despite all the challenges associated with his birth, growing up, academics, he still worked so hard to maximize his potential and become a well-recognized speaker.

The Challenge
Leslie Calvin Brown who is a twin was born on February 17, 1945 in an abandoned building in Miami, Florida. The mother of the twin who was married to a soldier who was away in another town mistakenly got pregnant for another man and decided to secretly give birth to the babies and also give them away. Three weeks after their birth, their mother gave them up for adoption to one Mamie Brown, an unmarried cook at a cafeteria. Les Brown would later say he can’t overemphasize the importance of her adoptive mother; he owes everything he has and he is in life to her.
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Though the adoptive mother believe there is much to desire in Brown and he could be whatever he wants to be, his teachers thought otherwise. When Brown was young, he so much loved attention, fun and normal boyhood misadventures. Due to his inability to concentrate, Brown was a very poor student most especially in reading.

His restlessness along with the inability of the teachers to know the true abilities of Brown made his teachers label him ‘educably mentally retarded’ in his fifth grade. This was a critical setback as he found it hard to live his life outside this negative label. He recounted how they told him that he was slow and he just had to do with that.

In one of his books, Brown states that ‘there comes a time in one’s life when one has to drop his burdens in order to fight for oneself and one’s dreams’. LeRoy Washington explained how Brown used to imagine him being on a stage and speaking to thousands of people. Brown also believes he is the world’s greatest orator.

Destiny helpers
Not until Brown met Washington was he able to learn the importance and power of an eloquent speech in order to motivate. In his book, ‘Live Your Dreams’, Brown said he once told Washington in a class that he could not perform a task because he was educationally mentally retarded and Washington replied, ‘Never Say That Again, another person’s opinion of you does not define you and it doesn’t become your reality’ and this was the message that delivered Brown from the bondage of the negative label. Brown would later say that ‘the limitations you have and the negative things you internalize are what the world has given to you’ and ‘the things that empower you actually come from the inside of you’.
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Be Consistent
After high school, Brown was employed as a city sanitation worker, but his desires were burning in him and he wanted to become more than that, he decided to make a career in radio broadcasting. He trained himself as a deejay and pestered a local radio station owner of a position but he never gave him the chance. Instead, due to his lack of experience, he was given odd jobs to do.

Luckily for him, a radio deejay became drunk while on air and he was the only one around at the station, he had to fill in the gap on the microphone. The owner was very impressed and promoted Brown to a full-time disc jockey.

Brown was becoming popular on air and eventually became a broadcast manager. The owners of the radio station thought he was becoming controversial and political and got him fired. Brown then contested for the Ohio State Legislature after he was encouraged by Williams an activist and he was elected.

While in the house, he also had issues with co-workers. Brown felt people were jealous of him since they could not court the followership he had. Williams also encouraged Brown to be a motivational speaker citing millionaire Zig Ziglar who earns $10,000 for just a one-hour talk. This made Brown a motivational speaker.
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Brown explained he had nothing when he became a motivational speaker. He always worked hard and believed that ‘Life would only make a meaning when one becomes motivated, set goals and work assiduously for them to be achieved’.

He wakes earliest and sleeps very late in the night because he sleeps on a cold floor when he couldn’t afford to rent an apartment. He said he never even wanted to be comfortable, so he would feel uncomfortable and be motivated to fight hard and struggle more.

Never make excuses for your failure, if you were to listen to the travails of others, you would have a pity on them. Always know that you are not passing through the worst of problems, but just what you need to overcome before you become what you want to be. Take on new challenges every day. Fight for what you want and believe in yourself. The opinions of people about you don’t matter as long as you don’t allow it to get to you. Complain not, moan not, whine not, just face them, the glory is at the corner!!!........Continue at The Great Men's Cross 6: Les Brown 2

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