When people ask me how did I go from being homeless for 6 months of my life when I was 18 years old, to building 40+ entities and organizations today — including two of the largest organizations and corporations in their respective sectors (Operation HOPE, and The Promise Homes Company) — my answer is simple: I am relentless. I never give up.

Being relentless is like water cascading over the edge of a waterfall — consistent, powerful and by design, never ending.

Being relentless is like the power of compounded interest — over time it creates its own increase in value.

Being relentless is like the power of compounded hustle — hustle, on top of hustle, creates ultimate achievement. Because how could it not. You simply outrun failure.

Being relentless is like having a hunger, but not a desperation. It nurtures a thriving state of mind, not a surviving one (from my most recent bestselling book, The Memo).

Being relentless means that you get up early, stay up late, waive away unneeded breaks, and are always on the hunt for self-actualizing opportunity.

Being relentless is difficult to compete with, because fear and vanity tends to be lazy. Over time you simply out run your so-called opponent. ‘It’s hard to hit a moving target,’ as I like to say.

And here’s the best part — being relentless, or becoming a relentless kind of person, is not some kind of birthright of the wealthy and the well connectedThe wealth of relentlessness comes through the door of your own self proclaimed self confidence and self esteem. It is an internally generated fuel.

As a child growing up in Compton, and South Central Los Angeles, my mother told me she loved me every day of my life, and my father was a business owner, so I got a powerful sense growing up of ‘yes I can,’ and ‘yes I am.’ This was everything.

The founders and creators and innovators of the best of American business and entrepreneurship, and those who shaped policy in our government, they were all positive disruptors with unceasing relentlessness embedded deep in their being.

Think Sam Walton, who founded the largest retailer in the world — Wal-Mart — with a pick up truck, a store front and a high school education. Relentlessness.

Think about the amazing women who have now made their way into the most senior echelons of business, corporate leader and local to national public service. Think about the obstacles all of them faced, almost every day of their lives. It worked because amongst other things — above and beyond being ‘qualified’ — they were relentless. Absolutely relentless.

As I was told coming up as a young entrepreneur and builder, ‘first they will ignore you. Then they will criticize you. And after a while – when you start to really win – they will try to copy you. And if you keep at it — then you win.’ Relentlessness.

The beautiful thing abut the value of relentlessness — is that it is available to most everything. It starts with you loving yourself, believing in yourself, and putting a stake in the ground. To start where you stand. Relentlessness works. It is part of your first capital — human capital. Capital comes from the Latin root word, ‘capitas,’ or ‘knowledge in the head.’

Your first capital driving ambition, aspiration and achievement in your life, has nothing to do with money, and everything to do with you.

John Hope Bryant. Entrepreneur. Founder. Chairman and CEO. Operation HOPE, Bryant Group Ventures and The Promise Homes Company. Author of bestsellers The Memo: Five Rules for Your Economic Liberation, How The Poor Can Save CapitalismLove Leadership: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World. Get The Memo here.

Originally published on LinkedIn

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