Being born into this world a nobody just might be the best thing that ever happened to me. 

The world undervalues the economic nobody, and grossly over-values the wealthy somebody. On this point the world is wrong.

You have nothing to lose when you are a nobody. And because you realize that 'you can’t fall from the floor,’ you’re not all stressed out about whether you are going to actually fail at something or not. Everyone born as a 'societal nobody’ has the exact same middle name, inserted sometime after birth, which translates roughly: DO SOMETHING.

Most American wealth, and especially the now big company or enterprise behind that wealth, originated with what we would call 'relative nobodies' at the time. They may be a big deal now, but when they started, no one took them seriously.

I had lunch today with the CEO of Sapient, a $1 billion plus company that was started by two young guys with a few thousand dollars on their credit cards. Now they employ 12,000 people worldwide and the company is publicly traded.

A nobody is often under estimated, until they aren’t. Below is my update on a 20th century standard. 

First they will ignore you. 
Then they will criticize you. 
Then they will try to copy you. 
And then you will win. 

When a self-knowing economic nobody wins at life, they almost never forget where they came from. They are often the kindest, philanthropic, most positive, confident (yet understated) people you will ever meet.

Crazy as it sounds, it is often the off-spring of the one who created from nothing that then somehow gets it in their heads that they’re some kind of a big deal. And it is this other thing – of becoming ‘important,’ or seeing oneself as a ‘so-called somebody,’ that is a reallydangerous thing. It can ruin you in ways that poverty never could. 

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John Hope Bryant is the founder, chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE and Bryant Group Companies, Inc. Magazine/CEO READ bestselling business author of LOVE LEADERSHIP: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World (Jossey-Bass), and is the only 2010-2012 bestselling business author in America who is also African-American. His newest book, due out May, 2014, is HOW THE POOR CAN SAVE CAPITALISM, and will be published byBerrett Koehler Publishing).

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