“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” An American motivational speaker called Les Brown put this into words 30 years ago. Since then, he’s changed the lives of millions. Even if it’s only a couple of words, a short mantra. But the person who said it is very authentic. This is what today’s world is all about. And yet, curiously, we don’t read about real ‘moonwalkers’ in the public sphere all that often. There are only a few media organizations that target successful people, such as Forbes, Fortune, and the Business Insider, just to mention the most famous and popular ones. Other than these, there is dead silence.
Whenever we look for a model to follow, we make our choice mostly based on how attractive and authentic the person who is not afraid to say things is. So, it’s not necessarily about the content itself but about who delivers the message and how. It’s been 300 years now since the first ‘brand’ appeared, when animals in the English countryside got branded, signaling who they belong to. Today, a brand means that you are what I want to become. I want to belong to you so that I’m also admired and loved. I want the feeling that you represent. I just don’t want the fuss of getting there. All the effort, the difficulties, the failures.
I only want the end result. The ‘full glass’ of water.
Nowadays, people are used to looking at the negative side of things, and after a while, they completely forget that shadows only appear where there is light. That success and failure, good and bad, positive and negative can only exist together. Someone smart who was feeling thirsty once said: how great that I have a half-full glass of water! And drank the water to quench their thirst. This is one way of looking at the world. And why not take this approach? I’m searching for this person among personal brands, the one who drinks the water, but I cannot find them anywhere.
The personal success of Les Brown is somewhat contradictory, but all in all, his path is a success story. He was born into adverse circumstances in sunny Florida, in 1945, in a city with a very promising name called Liberty City. A good woman adopted him, educated him, and the boy became very ambitious. All on his own, relying on his talent with words, he worked himself into the media business. He held radio shows, motivational speeches, and for some of his life, he was even elected to be a representative. He founded an enterprise to provide a framework for building his own personal brand. His path was not easy. He started very low, but with every other low point, his hard work and persistence helped him get up again and again. Even though the obstacles in front of him were not minor.
Because the disadvantages of Leslie Calvin Brown did not end with the poor conditions he was born into. He was also Afro-American. And now, collections of quotations preserve his thoughts, and a book, in which an abundance of people tell their own story, commemorates how often a well-timed quote or mantra is all we need to change our lives. We only need to start somehow. But in Les Brown’s words: “It’s not over until I win.” In the meantime, who has the time to keep measuring that glass of water? Does it matter how much water is in there? Just let there be some. Like there is the Moon and the stars. There is near and far. Whichever we choose is only up to us.
Just let there be some.