Meaning of REAL ‘Happyness’
For many, Chris Gardner was not a well known name until his struggle to become a stockbroker was captured in the 2006 motion picture ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’.
#1 Chris Gardner
Chris faced troubles and turmoils starting from childhood. Below is a short preview* of what happened in the early years of his life to the point he became a father:
Chris was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He has never seen his real father in childhood and his stepfather was very disturbed man physically abusing his mother and him during his childhood. Chris along with his three sisters went through lot of turmoil in his childhood. Any other kid may have turned hostile as a response to such circumstances but Chris decided that he ‘would never become like his stepfather, no matter what’.
Chris worked as a medical research assistant to Dr. Robert Ellis. He had enough experience and inside contacts in the field to start a career in Medical arena but this would take about 10 years of training and by the time he ended his training for 10 years the field may undergo lot of changes. After marrying Sherry, he decided to quit Medical field and find some other profession. This decision and difference in attitudes between Sherry and Chris caused turmoil in their relationship. Right around this time Chris got into a romantic relationship with Jackie, who got pregnant with his child. After 3 years in to marriage he moved in with his girlfriend to prepare himself for the father role. He had to find a new profession as a medical equipment salesman to support his new family. After few years sales went down as the new equipment was taking over the market share, this meant that Chris had to find another profession and he had to do that soon.
#2 Chris and his son
One day, while passing by a red Ferrari- Chris asked the owner what he did for living and the man said that he was a stock broker. That’s when Chris decided to become a stock broker. Competition was intense at that time to become a stock broker. Sharpest students from most elite institutes competed for training positions. With the help of the broker who owned red Ferrari, Chris succeeds to get an interview for the stock brokerage training program. Before attending the interview, he was arrested for not paying parking tickets, after being released he comes to his apartment to find it empty, his girl friend & son had left him. Having no choice, he went to the interview in the same dress while he was arrested. He got the position in the stock brokerage training program at Dean Witter Reynolds. He left his sales job to concentrate on the training and the stipend was not enough to make his ends meet.
Chris’s hard work and perseverance pays off when he secures the job as a stock broker amidst of all the competition. These were the moments of ‘Happyness’ for Chris which no words could ever describe.
Jackie left his son with him for custody but at the time Chris’s housing arrangement did not allow him to have his son stay with him in his room. Gardner often scrambled to place his child in daycare, stood in soup lines and slept wherever he and his son could find safety—in his office after hours, at flophouses, at parks, and even in a locked bathroom at the train station. After going through this struggle and pain, Chris finally moves into a better place where he could stay with his son.
After working as a stock broker for Dean Witter, Chris went on to found the investment firm Gardner Rich in 1987.
Chris went through a tough life, he did not have the luxuries most of us have during our childhood or when we became adults. All he had was the wisdom his mother shared with him, he profoundly remember what his mother told him when he was a kid, “Chris Calvery ain’t coming”, which is to say you have to take the responsibility of your life, no one will do that for you. This message stuck with him and he decided to become a better person and he continues to become a better person than what he was yesterday. To him, Money is the least important factor in the equation of wealth and he is true. To him, real wealth is health, his family, dreams to pursue and ability to always moving forward, even if he is taking the baby steps.
Chris is also author of books: ‘Start where you are’ and ‘The pursuit of happyness’ (co-authored by Quincy Troupe).
Chris’s message to the entire world is that ‘in the midst of universal problem one faces like alcoholism, child abuse, domestic violence, illiteracy, we all have a choice, to walk a different road, make that choice and pursue it with all your heart’. He says ‘always take steps to go forward, your baby steps count because when you add all your baby steps you will be amazed at the progress you make’.
#3 Will & Chris - Reel and Real
For Chris, life is all about moving forward. He is now working with Nelson Mandela on a project which can create jobs for people in South Africa. He often spends his time giving motivational speeches to inspire others to move forward. Chris values his choices, for example, he was noticeably absent from the movie’s premiere, he chose, instead, to be the guest inspirational speaker at a Christmas party. His story is being shown to poverty stricken groups to inspire them to make better choices.
We all have a choice is what Chris truly believes in and is a living testimony of the choices he made. Did you consider your choices?, Did you choose the path you want to walk on? If you have already chosen the path then pursuit it with all your heart. That is the real Happyness.
P.S. if you have not already watched ‘Pursuit of Happyness’, do yourself a favor, watch it. You will know the reason for happiness being spelled as “Happyness” in the movie.
#1 Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/65193799@N00/1136824072
#2 Photo Credit: http://kenixloh.wordpress.com/2007/03/07/pursuit-of-happyness/
#3 Photo Credit: http://www.chrisgardnermedia.com/photos/C1/