His real name is Leslie Calvin Brown. He was born in a very poor city in Florida, Miami. He and his twin brother were both given away by their mother three weeks after their birth. He pursued a career in broadcasting and then in politics and served as a chair of the Human Resources Committee. Becoming a motivational speaker was his dream since he was in high school thanks to one of his teachers who inspired him and motivated him and thanks to his foster mother who supported him to become the person he is today.
His story is undoubtedly touching. One can imagine the pain that he went through as a child, especially before being adopted. Let me tell you, it is not easy to get abandoned by the person that you are supposed to trust the most in life: the mother.
Les Brown managed to earn credibility and have a good reputation. His name on the Internet is very often paired with positive topics. His motivational quotes and sayings are all over the Internet.
Les Brown was poor until he attracted the attention of the audience with his hypnotizing words and convincing style.
In fact, motivation is an emotion that is extremely important for any human being to perform daily life tasks. Money and recognition motivate us to work. Knowledge acquisition, success, and the feeling of recognition motivate us to study and learn. Even trivial things require motivation, such as checking the phone, cooking, etc.
One’s motivation, however, can get affected by negative feelings, such as laziness, depression, and pessimism which very often weaken one’s sense of achievement. And here comes to the role of motivational speakers to whom many people resort. They excitingly speak words of wisdom in order to shake and wake people’s feeling of existence.
Motivation, just like any other product, can be sold, as long as people need it. They sense people’s vulnerabilities. This is a key element for the success of their motivation process. Brown basically sells words of motivation to people and he is good at that.
When the primary goal of a motivational speaker is money, the entire operation loses a lot of its value. And the motivational speaker turns from a holder of a noble message into a materialistic manipulator, for motivational speaking should not be seen as selling words to the audience. It should rather be seen as helping people uplift their morale and rendering them conscious of their potential. A true motivational speaker does not regard money as the target. Money should not be the main interest. What should push a motivational speaker to give and not sell his words is passion and an honest desire to help others. It is not an occupation: once again, it is passion. It does not feel right for one to say give me money and I will give you words that motivate you. It is even shameful.
However, the success a passionate motivational speaker achieves might open doors for him/her to earn a lot of money. There might not be anything wrong with that. But there is certainly something wrong when a motivational speaker uses his/her success and reputation to manipulate people and indirectly steal their money. It is unethical. So where does Les Brown stand in all that?
One victim exposed Lee Brown’s side that most people do not know about by sharing his experience with people interested in motivational speakers. He complained to us that Les Brown Enterprises Inc is but a scam company that took, or stole, a total of 10.000USD from him without fulfilling their promises. The victim contacted Les Brown in order to coach him and be his personal mentor, and he accepted. He had to borrow loans in order to pay him. After the payment was done, the client did not receive a copy of the contract that he requested. Moreover, Les Brown never coached him. He would ask him to attend his daughter’s sessions since he was very often busy with public seminars. The contract was never respected by Les Brown. And whenever he felt that the victim started to get upset, he would renew his promises of coaching him. The client ended up breaking his relationship with Les Brown. Before doing so, however, he asked to get the contract, but he unexpectedly received nothing. He realized, then, that he lost his money.
The victim asked a lawyer to get in touch with Les Brown to send him the signed contract, but he did not respond. After attempts to reach Les Brown by sending many people to get the contract or even an amount of money back for the undelivered services, the victim is still chasing him to date.
Well, according to his dishonest behavior and a huge lack of respect, one would think that Les Brown is not entitled to advise people and motivate them using his “wisdom”!
In addition to that, Les Brown participates in seminars and conferences that are full of manipulation; ones that aim at taking advantage of people and taking their money without delivering any services. A clear example of that is the April 19 Get Motivated Seminar which took place in Hy-Vee Hall at Iowa Events Center. Many fans attended the seminar just to listen to what Les Brown had to say, yet he appeared on stage at the very end, for 30 minutes. His fame was used to attract people. Tickets online were given for free. However, this does not mean that the audience was to pay nothing. On the contrary! It’s merely a technique to facilitate their quest: people are intentionally given free access, to ensure a large number of assistants in order to gather them all in the same place, manipulate them, and take advantage of them. The speakers at the seminar pretended to teach people how to make positive changes, how to become rich, how to get motivated. However, this is merely a gilded façade: the presenters themselves promoted VIP passes, coaching, other seminars that sell very expensive software packages so people could learn to invest, just like praised rich personalities whose names were mentioned repeatedly. They even mentioned names of rich people, claiming that they helped them reach wealth. People are groomed for sales.
And the ‘Success2013’ conference with the contribution of Les Brown which an investigator, Memphis Barker, attended in order to see how motivational speakers keep the audience interested. He discovered that the motivational speakers are a group of rich people “shouting nonsense” at poorer people.
The picture above is taken by Memphis Barker at the Conference. It was an opportunity offered by one of the motivational speakers, offering a place in his Experts Academy scheme that costs a sum of £15,23. He came from another country to attend the seminar. He pretended to be a part of it for the sake of people, yet the real hidden reason behind his presence was later on revealed when he started praising his program. I would say it was an attempt to take advantage of the naivety of the attendees. So people pay a lot of money thinking that the material is going to benefit them, as promised by the motivational speaker, but then get disappointed and traumatized after they lose their money and discover that they were dragged to believe lies. An old family friend purchased this program and ended up biting his tongue. There is no guarantee whatsoever that what they promised would be realized. Once the money is gone, the participant wouldn’t get it back. What’s more, my cousin’s friend had no support. He tried to get in touch with the team but got neglected and ignored.
Memphis also noticed that in Les Brown’s speech, it was very apparent that his mirthful veneration of money-making had religious tones. He used excerpts from the Gospel, made references to Mother Teresa and even asked the participants to shake each other’s hands and focused on the notion of peace. This made the audience trust him even more, to the point that when he left the stage, the ambiance turned gloomy. This reminds me of the priests in the middle ages when they used to take advantage of uneducated people and peasants, take money from them, food and even land in the name of God. They charged them at every turn, lying to them about preserving a place for them in heaven. Brainwashed as they were, people did not even question what their eyes had heard and eyes had seen. It is the same thing that these motivational speakers are doing: they promise people that their lives will be changed, that they will become rich and wealthy, that their ordinary, boring life will turn into an exciting and unique experience.
Does this really happen?
Not really. Most of them offer vague advice. They do not give specific plans or programs that shall map out people’s journey to achieve success. They are selling false hope.
These self-help gurus claim that they know the secret to success, while in reality what’s pushing the majority of them to make such promises is their love for money. They are scamming people. So what should one think of Les Brown after knowing the fact that he knew about the unethical seminars, yet he participated in them and used his name as a hook? A real man with a code of morals who truly desires to help people and passionate about his role as a motivational speaker would definitely refuse to get involved in such unethical activities and would even expose them and warn the audience. Les Brown did not do that!
A friend of mine once watched one of Les Brown’s motivational videos. After an hour or so she came back telling me about how she was going to become a different person; a better version of herself. She was excited like never before, ready to embark on the life-changing journey. I was very impressed and thought I should watch motivational speeches some times as well since I was a little lost as a jobless undergraduate student.
A few days later; I went to see her and found her submerged in her old habits. No change whatsoever.
In fact, the motivation that the motivational speakers grant people might be very short-lived. It is a sort of inspiration that comes from the outside, from other people. The source of this influence does not live with us. We can come across it, but it cannot accompany us all day long. What these motivational talks do is that they provoke one’s sense of strength and power to change. However, they do not offer a follow-through. It is not enough. So there is no guarantee that what they promise is going to work for everyone who listens to the speech. Many people lose a lot of money thinking otherwise, but end up at the same level, just with less money.
Therefore, in order to make a change and achieve long-lasting transformations, it is crucial for the source of inspiration to be internal. One must have the internal motivation and will power, in addition to knowledge and education which are significant to put thoughts into actions towards achieving the goal. So, in order to find inspiration that does sustain itself and render one capable of making a real change, one must look deep inside and not only rely on external influences that are interested in money more than the audience’s satisfaction.
Another victim of manufactured motivation by Les Brown is an international exchange student who was a big fan of him. She spent years trying to get in touch with him, thinking that a man with such a noble soul was modest enough to give some of his time to the people who admire him. However, when she finally got the chance and attended one of his conferences, she was completely ignored. Needless to say, she felt invisible and neglected. Therefore, she was very disappointed. She no longer trusted his words.
Even though Les Brown managed to create an army of supporters and admirers of his motivational style, he still failed to cover the true nature of his performance. He should not be taken as an angel, for he has a dark side that has hurt people, especially vulnerable ones. This is inhumane and unethical.