The Pursuit of Happyness – How a films simple message goes a long way

written by: Cosme Lozano

                The 2006 Will Smith drama, The Pursuit of Happyness, is a classic movie for some people, myself included. For those who have not seen the movie, Will Smith stars as real life entrepreneur, Chris Gardner. The movie depicts struggling salesman, Chris Gardner, and his struggles as a single father in San Francisco during the 80s. In the movie, we see Chris Gardner (Will Smith) get knocked down time and time again, only to come back even stronger next time. This movie is truly amazing and worth the watch, and I consider it a media piece that changed my view on life. The Pursuit of Happyness deals with a multitude of heavy themes, but its most prevalent include never giving up on your dreams and always staying determined in the face of insurmountable odds.

Chris Gardner faces setback after setback, which ultimately sees him wind up homeless as a single father. He is faced with the realization that despite his effort to improve his life, life is still tough and frequently unfair. These experiences humble him, and ultimately strengthen his resolve to want to succeed even more. We can all learn from this and take knowledge from our hard times. It is easy to lose faith in yourself and your goals when you are in your most challenging times. I want to challenge you though to view these stressful times as moments where you can really test your resolve and learn new things. Life will sometimes be tough, but you got to roll with the punches. If you are ever feeling down on yourself, take those emotions and harness them. Take that energy and re-channel it to create meaningful change and opportunities for yourself, like how Chris Gardner did.

Without spoiling the movie further, one can see that life got really tough and really bleak for Chris Gardner. One might even say his life was literally falling apart. The feeling of everything going the wrong way or falling apart is common for people who are chasing their dreams. Not everything is going to go your way, and you have to just deal with that. Sometimes, things are going to get bad but you have to make sure you stay relaxed and calm. Chris Gardner could have easily abandoned his son and fled town to try restarting his life, after everything he had done prior was failing. He didn’t though. Sometimes it matters more how we face adversity, rather than the adversity itself. Chris Gardner knew his situation was not good but by remaining calm and sticking to his work ethic, he was able to safely navigate him and his son out of crisis. Things might be bad for you right now as you read this. I have had my fair share of bad times and I often thought they would not end. You have to remind yourself everyday though to try your best, and to remember that these hard times WILL pass.

Expanding on these themes, everyone can take something from them and apply their principles into their own lives. If you truly want career success, it requires hard work and chasing after what you want even if you are steered away.  Life is unpredictable, but we can control how we respond and what we do in the face of our greatest challenges. We should all strive to face adversity like how Chris Gardner faced his in the movie. For those wondering how things turned out for Mr. Gardner, well, they turned out pretty well. Today, Chris Gardner is an entrepreneur and inspirational speaker, and is estimated to be worth over $70 million dollars. He is a living model as to why you should never, ever, ever give up on your yourself or your dreams. I will leave you with a quote from one of the film’s most emotional scenes, “You got a dream, you gotta protect it. People can’t do something themselves they tell you, you can’t do it. If you want something go get it. Period.” (Will Smith, 2006).

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