Les Brown has never been one to let adversity get in the way of pursuing his dreams. Although he was diagnosed with a learning disorder as a child and never got a college degree, he became a radio personality and then a multi-term Ohio state representative. Now he’s one of the world’s top motivational speakers.
“I didn’t grow up with advantages, but I took what I was given and used it to create greatness within myself and in my life,” Brown writes in his new book, “Laws of Success: 12 Laws That Turn Dreams Into Reality.” “I believed in my goals, I believed in myself and I stayed persistent.”
This helped him get to where he is today. And Brown says that his approach can help others create success in their lives, too. In his new book, he shares the 12 principles that he has practiced and explains how to put them into practice.
Brown’s “Laws of Success” is full of motivational tips to help you succeed if you act on his advice. Here are seven of his top tips.
1. Take Control of Your Life by Listening to Your Heart
If you want to be successful, Brown writes, you need to start by being honest with yourself about whether you’re in control of your life. If you believe you are, that means you’re doing what you want, working the job you want and are happy with your situation.
If you’re not, you can’t become successful until you take control of where you’re going.
“You can complain about the direction of your life all you want, but until you sit in the driver’s seat and begin to drive yourself, you aren’t going to get where you want to go!” Brown writes. “If you don’t take control of your life, your days will be spent on the ends of strings pulled by someone else.”
To take control of your life, you must figure out what you want. This comes from listening to your heart, Brown writes. He recommends using four techniques to hear what your heart is trying to tell you:
- Journaling — write without an agenda and let your mind wander so you can see which patterns emerge and what desires you have.
- Meditation — clear your mind of noise to gain more clarity about what you want.
- Feel deeper — give yourself permission to feel your emotions rather than push them away.
- Practice mindfulness — take the time to focus on the present and listen to your intuition rather than always thinking about things that need to get done in the future.
2. Leverage Your Gifts and Talents
We all have gifts, Brown writes. You can put yourself on the path to greatness if you nurture your gifts. Unfortunately, many people don’t know they have untapped gifts. “They go through their entire lives working away at someone else’s goal — and even get good at it,” he writes.
To find your gifts, Brown recommends listening to your obsessions and trying new things. “In order to discover what you’re good at, you’re going to have to step outside of your comfort zone,” he writes. “Being comfortable all the time is boring, and you’ll never accomplish anything great if you spend all of your life comfortable.”
Once you identify your gifts, you have to develop them. Focus on your greatest skill and work on it until you become an expert. Then surround yourself with people who will help you develop your gifts and push you to succeed. Once you’ve developed your gifts, you’ll know if you’re ready to start your own business.
3. Don’t Let Fear Hold You Back
“Fear is the No. 1 obstacle that stops people from achieving their goals,” Brown writes. “It doesn’t matter how talented they are. It doesn’t matter how dissatisfied they are with their lives. People continue to trudge along living a life they weren’t meant to live because they are afraid.”
When he was younger, Brown was told he should run for public office, but the idea terrified him. He didn’t let his fear stop him, however, and he ended up winning a seat in the Ohio House of Representatives.
Everyone, he writes, is afraid of something. But you have to take risks if you want to succeed. You have to be willing to fight for what you want rather than flee from your fears, Brown writes.
Develop true grit to push through and have the courage to face your fears. “Find out what scares you, and face it,” Brown writes. “Not only will you be able to get past your fears, but you’ll find that overcoming fears gives you a boost of confidence, proving that you are stronger than any fear you may have.”
4. Build a Team to Help You Succeed
Most people who achieve greatness have others who have helped them succeed. “No matter how talented you are, no matter how much drive you have, if you don’t have the right people in your corner, your chances of making it are slim to none,” Brown writes.
You don’t want to have just anyone on your team, though. You need to work with only quality people – those who give you the confidence to keep going, Brown writes. Take inventory of people who add value to your life, and invest time and energy into those relationships. And build your team by making connections everywhere you go.
You also should consider who in your life lowers your spirit and drains your energy – people who complain, say you can’t make it or push their negative energy on you. Brown recommends eliminating these value takers from your life – or at least limiting your time with them.
5. Find a Mentor
Even more important than building a team is finding a mentor to guide you. “Trying to become successful without mentors is like trying to discover calculus on your own,” Brown writes. “You’ll spend the rest of your life trying to figure out stuff that smart people have experienced and can explain to you in a couple weeks.”
Brown recommends looking for three things in a mentor: Someone with more experience than you, someone who is willing to help and someone who loves what he or she is doing. To find the right person, go to events where you can meet people you admire, and be persistent in your pursuit. Another option is to take advantage of a virtual mentor by reading books or listening to podcasts of successful people. A mentor can help you overcome the setbacks everyone faces.
Once you find the right person, Brown suggests making the experience just as good for your mentor as it is for you. Be open to what your mentor has to say, and be willing to act on his or her advice.
6. Turn Self-Development Into a Habit
To be great, you can’t rest on your laurels. “Great people are always developing and always growing,” Brown writes.
To continue to grow, make self-development a habit. That means finding time each day to better yourself. Brown recommends incorporating these daily self-development habits:
- Start your morning on a positive note by listening to something uplifting
- Read 30 pages of self-development material a day to help you achieve your dreams.
- Push out of your comfort zone physically with exercise and mentally by changing the way you perceive things.
If you think your schedule is too busy, “try cutting time out of something else that you are doing, or work self-development into another activity,” Brown writes. “For instance, if you watch TV for a couple of hours a day, take a chunk of time out of that and spend it on personal development instead. If you listen to the radio on the way to work, buy an audiobook that helps you to grow and develop.”
7. Don’t Let Making Money Be Your Only Goal
One of the reasons you may want to be successful is to build your wealth. But making money shouldn’t be your only goal.
“While money is a great byproduct of success, it is not a sustainable goal,” Brown writes. “When all you see are dollar signs, you lose track of your happiness and your sense of self.”
Instead, he recommends focusing on building a life of fulfillment by doing something you love that happens to build wealth. And unlike the advice you might get in other books about success, Brown notes that your goal should be to help yourself by helping others.
“Most businesspeople will tell you the opposite,” he writes. “They will tell you that success is all about getting yours, regardless of what happens to other people.”
That kind of attitude might help you find financial success, Brown writes, but ultimately that success will be “hollow.” The key is to do everything with integrity to ensure that your success will grow.
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