Unadulterated optimism: Les Brown in St. Maarten

POSTED: 01/5/14 10:14 PM

Meeting someone like Les Brown, the motivational speaker that will light up the tent at Port de Plaisance tonight is a bit like getting hit by lightning. Brown speaks like a machine gun if you let him and he bubbles with unadulterated optimism.

The question is of course: does positive thinking have any real value? Is it possible to change your life by thinking happy thoughts? It seems almost too beautiful to be true. We are with Les Brown here though. The way people think determines what their lives look like.

In particular we agree with Brown’s OQP-principle. Surround yourself with Only Quality People. Quality in this sense has a rather broad meaning. We have always interpreted it in the context of, indeed, positive thinking. There is no need to have only astrophysicists in one’s circle of friends.

Just imagine spending your days with someone who is constantly moaning and whining. Soon you will feel like you are living in the north of Finland, or some other place where the sun never shines. It darkens your mood and soon you are moaning yourself.

Some people arrive at work and the first words out of their mouth are something like “Gosh, I am tired” alternated with “Boy, I have a headache.”

There are easy remedies for both conditions. First of all: being tired is a state of mind. Change your mindset and simply decide not to be tired. Works every day.

And headaches? Drink water, lots of water, and headaches disappear.

The basic idea is that people are – or become – the words they use. Words are preceded by thoughts. Someone who starts on a project by saying: “That is going to be difficult” will soon find put that the task ahead is indeed becoming difficult. But this is only so, because they convinced themselves that it was going to be so. That is a rather negative self-fulfilling prophecy. Do not go there. People who say instead, “I am able to do this” or “I will get that job done” will overcome these hindrances and they will indeed achieve their goals.

The Only Quality People-principle requires those that are open to it to assess the people in their lives. We are not immediately thinking about spouses of course (though when push comes to shove some people could get to that point) but more about the people who call themselves friends, the people we deal with on a daily basis.

Some of them are hangers-on and their expertise lies in sucking the life out of others. These are needy people who will drag others down in their misery – and make them miserable in the process. Brown’s advice is to get rid of these people and we agree. Do not let people waste your time who are not worth your time.

And no, we are not saying that time is money and that this is the reason to clean up the circle of hangers-on. We are saying that there is no point being with people who are not worth your time. This is because these people are going to start living your life and the reason for that is that they do not have a life of their own.

Yolo – you only live once – is a powerful term to get this message across. Every life has a set beginning and a predetermined ending – from birth to death. What we do in between those two moments is entirely up to us.

Brown has an interesting message in this respect. In his principles of life enrichment, he makes this claim: Each of us can achieve far beyond our horizons, and in areas of life we have never explored. There is therefore, in Brown’s philosophy, no such thing as one’s “station in life.” People are not born to be poor, they are not born to love at the bottom of the pile, they are not born to be unhappy or negative. Life is what we make of it.

We could make the argument that free will does not really exist (because some obscure scientist has discovered that every move we make is preceded by an even more obscure chemical reaction in our body that then influences what we are going to do) but we stick with the firm belief that we are the masters of our own universe. Les brown would certainly agree with that, and he is ready to share more of his insights with us tonight.


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