Never Give Up
Starting with the single biggest takeaway from the entire movie is the lesson that one should never give up on one’s dreams and ambitions. Despite the numerous setbacks that ranged from a string of bad luck, relationship problems, having little to no money, and unpaid jobs, Chris kept his focus and never gave up. The sheer amount of obstacles he faced would have been enough for anyone to call time out, but not Chris Gardner. His perseverance, in the end, paid off handsomely.
The determination to lift him and his son out of poverty was a key ingredient to Chris’ eventual success. Even when he had no money and a son to feed, Chris took on an unpaid internship at a Wall Street brokerage firm. His unwavering determination to succeed paid off in the end with a job offer. This should serve as a reminder to never take your eyes off the prize
Mutual Respect in Relationships
Money problems more often than not lead to relationship problems. The cracks in Chris and Sherry’s relationship can be seen very early on in the movie, and she eventually left him due to the pressures of poverty and raising a child with little to no income. It tells me that who you choose as a life partner is a very important decision that should not be taken lightly. I can empathise with Sherry, who has simply had enough of her husband who appears not to be bringing in the money needed to support the family. But alas, she gave up on him when he was at his lowest and walked away. There were also several moments in the movie where she undermined her husband’s ability and potential to be successful. By the end of the relationship, there was little to no mutual respect for each other.
Value of Money
While money and material wealth aren’t the most important things in life, money does give you a better quality of life. It goes without saying that trying to raise a family with little to no money is a recipe for disaster and will most certainly affect the relationship of any couple. Poverty can become a vicious cycle that causes you to spiral into other issues as well. Never underestimate the importance of having money if you’re trying to raise a family or stay out of poverty.
Find what drives you
Everybody needs a drive to sustain them on the road towards achieving their goals. In the case of Chris Gardner, it was poverty and building a better life for his son that drove him to succeed. It was also this drive that made him undeterred by all the setbacks he faced. Evidently, he never gave up and kept going strong.
You can be anything you want
There is a scene in the movie where Chris was initially discouraging his son Chris Jr from spending too much time playing basketball. Presumably, Chris did not want Chris Jr to entertain thoughts of becoming a basketball star one day. Chris Jr reacted by throwing the basketball away and refused to play any further. Chris knew that he had just squashed the dreams of a young child, so upon realising his mistake, he told his son “don’t ever let somebody tell you you can’t do something. Not even me. You got a dream, you gotta protect it”. This to me was one of the most powerful quotes from the movie, a reminder that you should never trivialise your ambitions and dreams. On the contrary, you should fight to protect it.
Responsibility as a Parent
Another recurring theme from the movie is the struggle of being a single parent. As a single father, Chris was very affectionate and protective over his son. He refused to be separated from him, and did his best to shield him from their troubled reality and circumstance. The strength of character displayed by Chris is truly admirable, never shying away from his duties as a father who also had to be a mother to his son. Parents can surely relate to this, and for future parents, take note of this very important lesson.
Networking is important
One of the reasons why Chris eventually succeeded in his internship at the brokerage firm was due to his ability to be a people person. He appeared to be sincere with people, and was so good at networking that he raked in profitable accounts to the brokerage firm. Based on my observations, it was his sincerity and how trusting people are with him that led to his success. If you’re in business, you should know that making genuine connections with people can open up plenty of opportunities for you.
I highly recommend this movie to just about everybody out there. The Pursuit of Happyness is a timeless movie that demonstrates how perseverance, determination, hard work, and the power of love can help overcome just about any circumstance. This is a movie filled with so many good lessons. You can also look up the real Chris Gardner on the internet where he shares more about his real-life struggles and his journey to success. If you’re in need of some motivation to get you going or some inspiration if you’re feeling down, this is the movie you need to watch.
After you’ve watched the movie, tell us what you think about it and the lessons you learned from it.