This article is the second of a five-part series of talks delivered by Steve Harvey featuring themes of resilience, courage, faith, imagination, adversity, belief, destiny, and purpose. Part one hit on the importance of never giving up. I’ll continue to publish one article per day until January 7th instead of the usual 2 posts per week. Per his Wikipedia page, Steve Harvey is an American comedian, television host, producer, radio personality, actor, and author. He has been described as “America’s comedian” for his high likability and down-to-earth demeanor. But what I like most about Steve Harvey is the vulnerability with which he shares the wisdom he has acquired over the years. I’ve transcribed the second segment below on the power of faith and imagination. In it, Steve Harvey tells how faith and imagination fueled his rise from the depths of poverty to the heights of fame and fortune.
Now Albert Einstein had a quote. He said “Imagination is everything. It’s the preview to life’s coming attractions.” This is important information. The biggest thing that always troubled me was my imagination. ‘Cause it was so big when I was a kid. You knew I grew up poor, but I was always imagining stuff. You know my momma once a month would by the Travel magazine at the grocery store. My father used to be so pissed off. “Bill, why we spending this money?” We were poor. She said “Slick, we ain’t got no money to take this boy no where. But if he can look in these magazines maybe one day it will cause him to want to travel.”
I’ve been to so many countries around the world because of that magazine. I just wanted to go see stuff. My momma had enough sense to plant that seed in me. It’s like at Christmas time, we used to get in the car. My daddy used to take us to the suburbs so we could see the lights. We just drove around the lights and I was amazed at the suburbs ’cause I would see these big houses with horse shoe driveways where you drove in and came out the other side, so I told my daddy one time, we was riding. I said “Daddy, why don’t we get one of them houses?” He said “Boy, I ain’t got no money for that. That’s why I’m bringing you out here for.” He said, “One day you will be able to get one of those houses.”
Let me explain something to you, because of that right there, I’ve probably had in my lifetime now more than 11 homes. I got 4 now in different states. Every house I own got a horse shoe driveway. When they was living, they told me one time. They was sitting up watching TV. My daddy looked at my momma, he said “Bill [he called my momma Bill]. Bill, can you believe that this little boy we had [is] on TV.” She said “Slick, I can’t believe this.” I used to send my daddy $5,000 a week. When I first got on TV, I was making $55,000 a week, so I sent my mom and him $5,000 a week. When I got into Kings of Comedy, my father was still living. I showed my daddy one time how much money I made. He said “Boy, it’d take me 4 years to make this kind of money.”
So I was able to give them something with my life. So before my momma and them left this world, I could give them something. I bought them everything, man. Houses, cars, furniture. I bought them everything I could think of. I tried. [Applause] You know what’s crazy, man? I’m 62 years old. I still want them to be proud of me. I’m still hoping that they in heaven watching me. And they see me turn into something. That’s all I ever wanted. It was in my imagination to take care of them. You just gotta believe that. You just gotta believe, man. Don’t ever give up.
Faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen. All faith is really–the substance of it is just what you hope for. That’s all faith is. It’s just real hard hoping. You remember when you was little and you said “I hope I get a bike for Christmas.” And you went down there one year and the bike was under the tree. You remember when you said you hope you graduate? And you mess around and got a diploma. Then remember when you said you hope you get a job? And you mess around and you got a job. Huh? At one point in time, the older you get, this got to start clicking in. That faith is really the substance of things hoped for. That if you hope hard enough, one day you ‘ought to get smart and turn all that hoping into belief. And what is belief? Nothing but faith. And what is faith?
Faith is the belief in things that you cannot see. See this is the part that you got to see. The evidence of things not seen. Remember I told you that imagination is everything. It’s the preview to life’s coming attractions. Now let me tell you the problem with your imagination. The problem with your imagination is you tell it to the wrong people. If you want to kill a big dream, tell it to a small-minded person. You went and you shared it with your family and friends. You know what they did? They shot it down. You know why they shot it down? Because they couldn’t see it. See you’re mom and them, your cousin and them, your friends, they don’t know.
See, you got to be careful when you share your imagination with small-minded people. Nobody else can see your imagination but you.