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Andres Lara is “The Cuban Guy.” He escaped from Cuba when he was only 16 years old and attended high school in the United States.
Lara graduated from Montclair State University in New Jersey with a degree in speech communication and a minor in creative writing. He went on to become a motivational speaker and is now known as “The Cuban Guy.”
Lara’s motivational speeches are peppered with activities for the audience. These activities include dancing, teamwork games and chants that he has the audience to yell at each other.
Everything works toward one goal, which is motivation.
“I am going to increase your energy by 10 percent,” Lara said.
He started playing music from his iPod speaker to arouse the audience and get them ready to dance. He also called volunteers upfront to teach the rest of audience new dance moves.
During his speech, Lara used many of his personal life experiences to make the speech more personal.
Lara began with an acronym, promising more to come. His first acronym was OYA, which stands for Off Your Anatomy.
“One thing is not enough,” Lara said. “You can want all you want, but unless you’re off your anatomy and taking action, you won’t get what you want.”
After taking a volunteer from the audience and asking him to rip a phonebook in half, Lara moved on to his next point, which was another acronym: ASS, which stands for Act on Small Steps.
“You can turn the impossible into the possible, the difficult into the easy and the unmanageable into the manageable,” Lara said.
The next step in his speech was a teamwork activity where a majority of the people in the audience learned a thing or two about homework.
The next acronym he introduced was FU, Focus Unity, which was all about being a good team member.
“You could be an awesome group where you actually communicate with purpose,” Lara said. “Some of the quietest people in your team could have the greatest ideas.”
On the boat to America, Lara and the rest of the people were given a motivational speech that he says he will never forget.
The sirens had started ringing, and everyone on the boat escaping from Cuba feared they would either be killed, drowned or sent to prison for life.
“We were scared, actually scared,” Lara said. “We were petrified.”
A man on the boat got up to tell them that there was no way they were going back, and that whatever happened to them if they kept going forward, going back would be worse.
“The pain of moving forward is temporary,” Lara said. “But the pain of quitting is permanent.”
Lara ended his speech with a story about how he discovered motivational speaking was his passion. He was a freshman in college when a motivational speaker visited his school.
Watching the man speak, he realized that he wanted to follow that career path.
“The last thought that came into my head that night was, ‘I am going to be a motivational speaker,’” Lara said. “The thought kept coming back again and again.”
Now, before he begins any of his speeches, his first thought is, “I am a speaker.”
Gilberto Galvez can be reached at