Why Les Brown and The Les Brown Institute Changed My Life

Why Les Brown and The Les Brown Institute Changed My Life 

My life didn’t need a drastic change— I had already done that long ago.

I was born in Galveston, Texas. By the time I was 6, I was homeless and I would stay that way until I was 14. I would eventually age out of being a child of the State of Texas when I was 18.

I spent the bulk of my child hood living in a trash-can-dumpster not too far from where my biological parents lived. Well, did leave, because their drug addictions would leave them homeless, too.

I failed the 5th and the 6th grade— honestly. I failed them both. I was putting myself through school and couldn’t keep up with the homework because every night I would go back to live in this dumpster with no lights, no running water, no food, and tons of bugs. Just imagine that for a moment. I was assigned homework and had no home. Crazy.

In fairness, my teachers didn’t know until I had to repeat the 6th grade and I was picked up by police officers for being homeless. My teachers were just doing their jobs.

Today, I can say I graduated with honors speech and debate honors from Galveston Ball High School because of the Speech and Debate Coach Mr. Michael Merritte. Mr. Merritte saved my life before I ever met Les Brown, you can hear the full story here at a commencement speech I had the honor to give.

Thank you, Mr. Michael Merritte.

I have also graduated with my bachelors as the President of the Theological and Religious Studies Honor Society, and I have graduated with my Masters while being number one in my class. I’m a pretty successful business man, so how did Les Brown change my life?

Well, he did it in 4 different ways.

I Am An Introvert

First, I am an introvert by biological makeup. I have many extroverted skills which I had to develop in order to eat as a kid. If you are wondering if you are an introvert or an extrovert, just simply ask your self this question:

“Am I completely drained after social interactions, even if with just two people, or am I charged up and ready for more after social interactions?”

If you are like me, I fall into the first category. I regularly speak to thousands of people, I take time for each one of them, but when I am finished and I get to my room at night, I am dead. I need to recharge with a book and a beer.

Yet, Les Brown and The Les Brown Institute forces me to open up to the people within it. This is hard for me for two reasons. One, I am an introvert. Two, I’m extremely private. I have to be the weirdest motivational speaker and public figure alive. Yet, both of these are true.

However, Mr. Brown and his friends and co-laborers will allow you to be who you are, but they won’t let you do what you have always done, because they understand that what got you here, won’t get you there.

So, they snatch greatness out of me, whether I am an introvert or not. I think they also understand that introverts are the most successful of people— sorry, I couldn’t resist taking a shot at extroverts. It’s true, however. We run the world 🙂

The First Family of Motivation

Secondly, Mr. Brown has a family! I know, not a mind-blowing concept to you, but it is for me. Let me explained. I HAVE NEVER BEEN RAISED IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. Never. By the time I started remembering my own memories I was permanently homeless. I never had a childhood. I have never been nurtured in my entire life. I had to deal with this as I grew older.

So, to be in a room with Mr. Brown, his sons, his daughters, and his friends who have become family, a homeless kid like me from a small tourist-driven city, this would stand out in a major way.

I was with Mr. Brown and his family not too long ago. They were all on stage. Some were making sure he drank water, some of his family were telling embarrassing, but hilarious stories about their dad, and every single time they talked, he would stop talking and listen. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Then he would talk, and they would listen. They talked about their ups and downs, and all of their funny stories and all I could think was, “Wow!”

If I die today, I could honestly say, I have lived all of my dreams and got to see a family be much more than a family. They were actually friends. I have been through more than most in my life, I can tell you this for sure,

“Just because you are family, does not mean you are friends.”

He Made Me A Millionaire For My Team

Okay, wait a minute. I am not a millionaire— yet. Though, it is interesting that when I had the opportunity to work with Mr. Brown and partner with him, I immediately said to myself,

“There is no way that a man like this is going to tolerate me leaving my team behind.”

So, I didn’t. I took them all and plan to bring along the few more people we have hired recently. I cannot give this credit to myself. Sure, most people will point out my good character, and they have— and I am grateful. But that is not what happened. My image of Mr. Brown is what happened. And that image will make me a millionaire millions of times over. 

I just figured that Mr. Brown and I have very similar stories. We both were labeled unable to learn in school. I failed two grades because I listened to what they said about me, he struggled because of the same. He was adopted, much younger than me, I think. I was adopted at 14. I simply figured that he and I understood that you don’t leave GOOD your friends behind, for anything. Ever! Emphasis on “good”.

In my mind, Mr. Brown would have been mad at me if I didn’t bring them along with me. How could I live with myself if I did? So, I didn’t.

“Of course, Mr. Brown isn’t judgmental, I just understand he has a high standard for himself and his character. I better have the same. “

He Taught Me How To Tell My Story

Oh, dear reader, if I can’t do anything else today, I know how to tell my story. Mr. Brown taught me how to tell my story in a manner that inspires others to believe that they have their own stories. He taught me that I have greatness in me when I was already living a life that displayed such greatness. It takes a powerful man to look in your greatness and then challenge you to be even greater! Only Mr. Brown and the Les Brown Institute can do that. I am convinced of it.

Today, I meet so many people that said, “Les Brown changed my life.” They come from all walks of life. Every time I hear people say that, I always say the same thing,

“Yeah, he has a habit of changing lives.”

Yes, you do Mr. Brown. Yes. You. Do!

If you want to partner with Les Brown, click LES BROWN INSTITUTE and the greatest institute in the world will be waiting.


Antonio T. Smith, Jr.
A guy willing to die for his dream and live for others to see their own.

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