When I was coming up in my business career, I made one too many business mistakes, based on my ego and not common sense and my brain, and ended up homeless. I lived in my black Montero jeep for 6 months, at 18 years of age. I remember it as if it was yesterday.

I was rolling in momentum as a young man in business — having started my first successful business at the tender age of 10 years old — and my first mistake was mistaking momentum for genuine prosperity.

That’s probably why I am totally unimpressed and unmoved today by this generation of rap and hip hop stars, and even professional athletes, who are convinced of both their own greatness, and their own invincibility. Until they go broke of course. Then they go from all mouth, to all ears. Life’s all about perspective.

I had no perspective at age 18 that was helpful.

I was all mouth, and it (my mouth) was running at 100 miles an hour when my feet weren’t. I didn’t realize that God had given me two ears and one mouth for a reason — so I would listen twice as much as I talked. I think almost every 18 year old thinks they know everything, but I was worse — because I had a dose of success, and a (temporary) wad of cash.

Lesson number two. I had mistaken knowledge for wisdom.

Read the complete piece at LinkedIn here.

Let’s go.

John Hope Bryant is the Founder, Chairman and CEO ofOperation HOPE and Bryant Group Ventures, a Magazine/CEO READ bestselling business author of LOVE LEADERSHIP: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World (Jossey-Bass)His newest bestselling book is How The Poor Can Save Capitalism: Rebuilding the Path to the Middle Class (Berrett Koehler Publishing).

Bryant is a Member of the U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability for Young Americans, co-founder of the Gallup-HOPE Index with the Gallup Organization,and co-chair for Project 5117, which is a plan for the rebirth of underserved America.

Bryant is the only bestselling author on economics in the world who is also of African-American descent.

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