per·se·ver·ance [pur-suh-veer-uhns]

– noun 1. steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., esp. in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement 2. continuance in a state of grace to the end, leading to eternal salvation.

Traditional power these days more often than note emanates from the money we have or make, the titles we hold, and the possessions we accumulate over the course of a life. That’s all fine, but that’s not really power, or at least not a sustainable one. Real power, real life-wealth, emanates from the inside, out.

Last night during my live Webinar for Kaplan University, along with my friend Dean Tom Boyd, head of their Business School, I spoke on the difference between traditional paths to financial power, and my more non-traditional (and at the time necessary) approach.

In summary, I told Dean Boyd that growing up in Compton, California and South Central Los Angeles, and being homeless for 6 months of my life at age 18, I didn’t have the luxury of building financial wealth through what they call the “magic of compounded interest,” as I had little to no money to work with as a base. As a result, I had to revert to the “magic of compounded hustle.” I had to become a “hustler with a purpose,” and such is still my life-mission and purpose to this very day. I did not have the luxury to pursue traditional paths to so-called power, thank God, so I was forced to look “inside” for my answers instead. This became my absolute salvation.

People ask me today, “John, how did you DO this?” Well, I believe I am still on the path to “doing this,” but if I have accomplished anything it is because I simply never, ever, ever give up. That’s what being homeless and struggling to survive at an early age taught me. To never, give up. Ever. This is the magic of perseverance, and why it has advantages over traditional static power. Perseverance never gives up. Ever. And neither do I. Neither should you, either.

Love Leadership, the focus of my session last night for Kaplan University School of Business, is also about “never giving up.” I believe it was Dr. Scott Peck who said in The Road Less Traveled that “Love is Work.” I agree, and go on to suggest that “real success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”

When your mission is right, and your intent noble and good, and your ability to persevere strong — nothing and no one can stop you. Nothing.

John Hope Bryant is the founder, chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE and Bryant Group Companies, Inc., author of Inc. Magazine/CEO READ bestselling business book LOVE LEADERSHIP: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World (Jossey-Bass), and a Member of the U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability.

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