Determination Vs. Perseverance-Memoirs of a Retired Gangster by Rickey Lamontè

In order to succeed in business a person needs to implement both determination and perseverance in their daily career path and their personal life. The key is knowing that when the stamina of determination dwindles — it’s time to kick in perseverance. 

Determination is important because it’s what is required in order to formulate a solid goal in your mind. Perseverance is like the alley-oop— that assists in the slam dunk of your goal. When the journey gets tough on the way to achieving your goal— perseverance is the secret sauce you tap into to keep you going to the finish line. 

According to the English dictionary, “determination is the ability to continue trying to do something, although it is very difficult.” While perseverance is the “continued effort to do or achieve something, even when this is difficult or takes a long time.”

The science behind both qualities establishes itself in one being short term compared to the other. Determination is the driving factor between yourself and the goal you are inclined to reach while perseverance is overcoming what stands between you; for instance: any obstacle that appears in the way of you reaching that goal. Both take the same path and have the same end goal, however, perseverance is said by some to release serotonin which gives one the added endurance needed to keep going, even when the end goal is not in sight.

My first experience with both of these lifelong skills was at a very young age. Growing up I had to tap into my perseverance to survive. My father was not in the picture, at that time my father was killed in a drive-by. When I turned 25 my mother told me the man that died was not my biological father and that she knew who my real father was and that’s when I meet him. So growing up I thought my father was dead up until 25, all while she was doing her best, but struggled severely with addictions. 

Ultimately leading to my brothers and I being separated from my mother and taken into foster homes after her many relapses from drugs. Even though life with my mom was extremely difficult and dysfunctional, she was still my mom and loved her and knew she loved me. When we were taken away, I didn’t have that security blanket of love anymore. I persevered and became that “security blanket” while looking out for my brothers.

It was hard at times, but I was still determined to survive. I was taught a responsibility that most kids did not have to worry about at such a young age. When this happened I was only 11 years old, an age when most kids just want to be outside playing, not taking care of infants. One of my brothers was nine months old, the other was eight suffering from sickle cell, a debilitating disorder, and my youngest brother was born in prison. 

I had to get up every day and deal with the fact that I was not at home, and not with my family. I felt as though I was pushed through life feeling clueless. The only thing keeping me going was the determination and the perseverance to survive. I didn’t know what was going to happen the next day or the week after, but I kept going. Even though all I wanted to do was go home to my momma. 

This shows how the development of these life skills are instilled in us based on the obstructions one endures even from an early age. For some, this is developed later, when our brains establish risk and reward and fight or flight mode. With life experiences, you gain the motivation to push through and keep going. 

Even when I think back to when I was hustling as the leader of my organization, bringing in hundreds or thousands of dollars a week through distributing cannabis to the states—perseverance was necessary. You see, in order to be an entrepreneur you have to learn to adjust because the reality is you can reach the top but then be at the bottom again, having to push to get back on top. 

Don’t feel like once you’ve hit a brick wall, you have to turn in a different direction, don’t give up and just keep pushing through. I know from experience what it’s like to go through the toughest times and still be able to come out of it. 

In reflection to my current businesses today, whether it be my luxury lifestyle brand, Rickey Lamonté, my food design company Home Skillet Eatery, or my real estate investment company RSXCO Inc. — when the market unexpectedly shifts, I have to persevere in order to continue to succeed. Even with a quarter of the support I had in my life, there was still something to work with. You always have something to work with—even if it’s just the breath in your lungs and your will to succeed.

This mindset is a common thread great entrepreneurs have no matter the industry. Here is a collection of 10 quotes from industry icons on determination & perseverance. 


  1. “I thrive on failure. I thrive on things that are not perfect. It sends me back into the ring to get it right.” – Tom Ford
  2. “Being strong does not mean that you neer fall down, but that whenever you fall, you get up again.” – Confucius
  3. “Success comes from curiosity, concentration, perseverance and self-criticism.” – Albert Einstein
  4. “It always seems impossible until it is done.” – Nelson Mandela
  5. “Patience, persistence and obsessive attention to detail.” – Jeff Bezos
  6. “Winning a trophy is always nice, but my personal satisfaction comes from reflecting on the passion, motivation, and determination that went into getting me there.” – Tommy Hilfiger.
  7. “When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.” – Elon Musk
  8. “When times get tough, we don’t give up. We get up.” – Barack Obama
  9. “The road to success is through commitment.” – Will Smith
  10. “A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.” – Colin Powell 


Written by Rickey Lamonté

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