Pursuit of Happyness may not be many people’s choice as a favorite movie but it is a very memorable movie for me, and one of the slightly better movies on TV over the festive period. It was memorable for me because it revealed in spectacular detail the struggles and stresses we face as human beings. By the end of the movie I was left absolutely dumbfounded because I had to remind myself that this was a true story. A man and his son actually went through this. It was also the first time a movie had brought tears to my eyes (the softy that I am). Chris Gardner was a phenomenal hero of his own life. The story of Chris Gardner is very touching because it reveals the worst that can happen to any capable person. Gardner is a bright salesman and family man. When an investment goes bad, his family is brought to the brink of financial disaster. As time progresses and the family’s troubles intensify, Chris’s wife leaves him and their son to move to another city. Chris becomes broke and he and his son rely on homeless shelters for food and a place to sleep. Chris goes through immense hardship personally and financially but takes some solace when he sees an opportunity for a stockbroker internship position come up. He then becomes totally dedicated to this opportunity driven by an unflinching commitment to his son. Chris faces one challenge and setback after another (including failing to sell a bone density scanner) but his resolve remains strong. In the end, it was his commitment and self belief that won him the job.
Here are some insights into Chris’s character:
- He didn’t let his problems define him
- He didn’t want any sympathy from anybody
- He cherished his relationship with his son
- He did things he wasn’t comfortable with
- He didn’t let his feelings get the better off him
- He persevered – adamant and determined to sell the scanner despite all its flaws
- He remained professional throughout his troubles
- He believed in his abilities
These are eight things that stood out to me from the character of Chris Gardner but the one thing that kept Chris Gardner going despite all his hardship was that he was proactive in everything he did. It was this momentum that spurred him to win the job he so desperately wanted, and by doing so he was able to reverse his fortunes. It takes a big man to fall from grace and manage to get back on his feet again. Chris Gardner is living proof that bouncing back from despair is possible.