When we think about stories for our “show me the money” category, the 2006 film, The Pursuit of Happyness, starring Will Smith, comes to mind.
What you may not know is that this film follows the real-life story of entrepreneur Chris Gardner, who rose up from homelessness to become a millionaire stockbroker. Will Smith, who played Gardner, earned an Oscar nomination for his sensitive portrayal of this everyday hero.
The title of the film came from a scene in which Gardner spied a mural on which the word “happiness” was spelled incorrectly as “happyness.” outside his son’s daycare facility. Gardner, a stickler for details even while homeless, complained to the facility’s owner that the spelling needed to be changed.
In a nutshell, the story follows Gardner, a middle-class working man, as his marriage falls apart and he is left to care for his young son on his own. In financial trouble, he and his son end up homeless, staying in a restroom at a train station, at a homeless shelter, or occasionally at a cheap hotel when he could scrounge up a few dollars. During this period, he managed to get an internship as a prospective stockbroker, eventually working his way into a paying position. Gardner went on to form his own brokerage firm which eventually made him a millionaire.
What was so moving about this film was that as we watched it, we felt as if this could happen to anyone, including ourselves. Homelessness is possible for anyone, but the fact that he pulled himself up literally from the gutter, was incredibly inspiring. Everyone should watch this powerful film.
When we talk about “fall down seven times, rise up eight,” Chris Gardner’s life story personifies that motto.
in an interview with CNN, Gardner explained, “When I talk about alcoholism in the household, domestic violence, child abuse, illiteracy, and all of those issues—those are universal issues; those are not just confined to ZIP codes…”
“Gardner is encouraging us all to start where we are and dare to make our lives bigger and stronger, more satisfactory, and better. Chris Gardner is a knockout!”