I've just seen the film "Pursuit of Happyness" starring Will Smith and his son Jaden Smith inspired by a true story about a man named Christopher Gardner. Click on the image to the left to get the film which really is about the triumph of the human spirit.
I just have to share with you some of the most poignant moments for me. I mean, talk about disappointment, being knocked down, having the rug pulled out from under you; Will's character, Chris Gardner goes through all of that and then some!
Like many of us, Chris has tried conventional business having invested heavily in a device known as a "Bone Density scanner" which is supposed sell like hotcakes, is only a 1% improvement over the previous invention, and overpriced at ten times the cost of an X-ray machine. It is cumbersome, about the size of an old Singer sewing machine in a hard case with a handle on top which has to be lugged around for demonstration on sales calls to doctors in hospitals, where there is never any parking.
Things start to go wrong in a domino effect for Chris, one after another. His car is towed. His wife walks out on him, he insists on keeping his five-year-old son, Christopher. He is arrested for unpaid traffic tickets. Then when he has no more machines to sell to raise cash, the "taxman" empties his bank account leaving them homeless. All the while, he must appear for work daily in a suit and tie, as an unpaid intern in the competitive world of stocks ready to charm some of the wealthiest and most powerful people in the San Francisco Bay Area. These people take wealth so much for granted that two of them stiff him for cab fare.
He never complained. He fixed the one broken machine he recovered from a homeless man who had stolen it from him, sold his blood for cash to feed his son and did in six hours what his competitors at work did in nine. He studied and watched how the successful ones did it, emulating their good traits while being true to his own values all the time keeping his eye on the goal for six months never knowing if he would be the only intern out of twenty who will be hired for a salary.
Will Smith's performance as the father trying to protect his son from their circumstances of becoming homeless earned him a well-deserved OSCAR nomination. At his lowest point, we watch him create an imaginary game with his young son making an adventure of having to spend a night in the subway washroom. Once safely "away from the dinosaurs" locked in "the cave", he cries silently while his son sleeps on his lap. Each night they run for buses, line up outside the shelter to get a bed, he bathes his son and washes his clothes at the sink, and tenderly tucks him in. After "lights out" using stairway lighting he repairs the last broken machine to sell, and by the street lamp shining through the window he studies for his eventual internship examination while his son sleeps.
The moment when he tells his son, with tears in his eyes "Hey. Don't ever let somebody tell you... You can't do something. Not even me. All right? You got a dream... You gotta protect it. People can't do somethin' themselves, they wanna tell you you can't do it. If you want somethin', go get it. Period!" is what inspired me to write this post. This man not only never gave up, he got the one and only paying position out of that group of twenty interns and when the boss asked him if it was as easy as it looked, through eyes at full-brim, he simply said "No Sir, it wasn't!"
Chris Gardner didn't ramble on about his struggles, he never let on to anyone his true circumstances, he just did whatever was necessary to clear each hurdle, went on to form his own successful stock brokerage and eventually sold a minority share of it for millions of dollars.
So do you have food and shelter? Do you have your health? Do you have a computer? Do you have access to the Internet? So what's stopping you from achieving your dreams?
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