Categories Les Brown

The Power of Persistence and Hard Work: Lessons from Les Brown

In the realm of motivational speaking, few names resonate as powerfully as Les Brown. His life story and teachings provide a blueprint for overcoming adversity and achieving success through persistence and hard work. Les Brown’s journey from poverty to becoming a world-renowned motivational speaker is a testament to the principles he espouses. This blog explores the importance of persistence and hard work, drawing inspiration from Les Brown’s experiences and insights.

The Early Struggles

Les Brown was born in 1945 in a low-income section of Miami, Florida. He and his twin brother were adopted by a single woman, Mamie Brown, who worked as a cafeteria attendant and domestic worker. Growing up in a poor neighborhood and being labeled “educable mentally retarded” in grade school were significant obstacles that could have easily derailed his future. However, these early struggles served as a crucible for his resilience.

Overcoming Labels and Defying Expectations

One of the most impactful stories from Les Brown’s life is his experience with being labeled as “educable mentally retarded.” This label, imposed by an educational system that underestimated him, did not deter Les. Instead, it fueled his determination to prove his worth. He often recounts the story of a teacher, Mr. Leroy Washington, who saw potential in him and encouraged him to work hard and believe in himself. This mentorship was crucial in helping Les redefine his self-image and aspirations.

The Role of Persistence

Persistence, according to Les Brown, is the key to overcoming obstacles and achieving success. He emphasizes that life will always present challenges, but it is through persistent effort that we can navigate these hurdles. Persistence is not about never facing failure; rather, it is about refusing to give up despite setbacks. Les Brown’s own life is a testament to this principle. After high school, he faced numerous rejections in his pursuit of a career in radio broadcasting. However, he continued to knock on doors, even volunteering his time to get his foot in the door. His relentless efforts eventually paid off, and he secured a job as a radio DJ, which became a stepping stone for his future success.

Hard Work and Preparation

Les Brown often quotes Abraham Lincoln: “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” This metaphor highlights the importance of preparation, which is an integral part of hard work. Hard work is not just about physical or mental exertion but also about strategic planning and preparation. Les Brown’s meticulous preparation for his speeches, his continuous learning, and his dedication to self-improvement exemplify this approach. He understands that success is not an overnight phenomenon but the result of consistent, diligent effort.

The Mindset of Success

A critical aspect of Les Brown’s teachings is the mindset required for success. He advocates for a positive mental attitude and the belief in one’s ability to achieve great things. This mindset is not merely about wishful thinking but about cultivating a resilient and proactive approach to life’s challenges. Les Brown’s catchphrase, “You have greatness within you,” encapsulates this belief. It is a call to recognize and harness one’s inner potential through persistence and hard work.

Inspirational Stories and Anecdotes

Les Brown’s speeches are filled with inspirational stories and anecdotes that illustrate the power of persistence and hard work. One notable story is that of Sylvester Stallone, who faced countless rejections and financial hardships before achieving success with “Rocky.” Stallone’s unwavering determination and willingness to endure hardships resonate with Les Brown’s message that persistence and hard work can turn dreams into reality.

The Impact of Les Brown’s Teachings

Les Brown’s motivational speeches have had a profound impact on millions of people worldwide. His ability to connect with audiences and inspire them to take action is unparalleled. Many individuals credit his teachings with helping them overcome personal and professional challenges. His emphasis on the importance of persistence and hard work has inspired countless people to pursue their goals with renewed vigor and determination.

Practical Steps to Develop Persistence and Hard Work

  1. Set Clear Goals: Define what you want to achieve and break it down into manageable steps. Clear goals provide direction and motivation.
  2. Create a Plan: Develop a detailed plan outlining the actions required to achieve your goals. This includes setting deadlines and identifying resources needed.
  3. Stay Positive: Cultivate a positive mindset by focusing on your strengths and achievements. Surround yourself with supportive and optimistic people.
  4. Embrace Failure: Understand that failure is a part of the journey. Learn from your mistakes and use them as stepping stones to success.
  5. Stay Committed: Commitment is crucial. Stay focused on your goals, even when faced with difficulties or distractions.
  6. Seek Support: Find mentors or join communities that can provide guidance, support, and encouragement. Learning from others’ experiences can be invaluable.
  7. Continuous Learning: Invest in your personal and professional development. Acquire new skills and knowledge to enhance your capabilities.
  8. Celebrate Progress: Acknowledge and celebrate your achievements, no matter how small. This boosts morale and reinforces your commitment to your goals.


Les Brown’s life and teachings exemplify the transformative power of persistence and hard work. His journey from adversity to success serves as a powerful reminder that with determination and effort, we can overcome challenges and achieve our dreams. By adopting the principles of persistence and hard work, we can unlock our potential and create a fulfilling and successful life. Les Brown’s message is clear: “You have greatness within you.” It is up to each of us to harness that greatness through unwavering persistence and diligent hard work.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *