Many of us have that one movie or television show that no matter how long it has been since we watched it, the story still holds a special place in our hearts and its lessons still inspire us today. By presenting captivating stories and relatable characters, movies are able to convey powerful messages that resonate deeply, sometimes offering valuable insights into important aspects of life even when we don’t expect them to.
Arguably one of the best Will Smith movies ever released is the 2006 timeless classic, ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’. This movie has managed to touch the hearts of many all around the world and remains a must-watch for every entrepreneur.
It tells the story of Chris Gardner, an American Businessman and founder of Gardner Rich & Co, who rose from the plethora of hardships he experienced early on in life to becoming a successful businessman who founded his own brokerage firm. His tipping point began when he looked at the lives of other successful people around him and asked, “What do I need to do to be as happy as the others?”
‘The Pursuit of Happyness’ is based on a true story and is a potent source of inspiration to go after our dreams while also learning some important leadership and entrepreneurship lessons on perseverance, agility, and working towards a vision.
Here are some lessons from the movie and how they can play out in your own reality:
Success will not be handed out on a platter of gold until we align the little pieces of advantages we have and persevere long enough to succeed at our goals.
Perseverance is key to success
This soul-stirring film shows countless examples of times when Chris Gardner failed or was put in difficult situations, but despite all the odds against him, he found a way to keep pursuing his goals.
When Chris wanted an internship at Dean Witter, rather than kill his ambition because of the many obstacles on his path, he lined up all the leverage that he had – his personal connections, his strengths – and made something out of it.
Success will not be handed out on a platter of gold until we align the little pieces of advantages we have and persevere long enough to succeed at our goals. For Chris, the end goal was to be able to give his son a better life. And it was this dream that kept him working persistently, even when conditions around him were unfavorable.
Work smart and work hard
In the end, what’s going to matter is not just how long and hard you work, but how well you can leverage your core skills within the limits of the time and opportunity that you have. Chris was extremely smart and he knew it. He also knew that people who weren’t half as smart as he was were in higher positions, achieving greater things with their lives.
So what did he do? He took his shot when he had the opportunity to display just how exceptional he was with numbers. And, it paid off in the end; he got the interview he wanted so badly and eventually got accepted into his dream role.
When he took up this role, he also knew that he needed to balance the demands of the job with the other aspects of his life. To manage his time better, he cut down on water intake, and shaved a few seconds off phone calls, all in a bid to complete tasks faster.
Remain agile and recognize the right opportunities
One of the best traits any entrepreneur or leader can have is the ability to recognize veiled opportunities when they show up. It’s one thing to recognize an opportunity, it’s another to be agile enough to grab it and make the most of it.
For Gardner, despite the fact that his internship with Dean Witter was for an unpaid position and didn’t seem wise considering his financial situation, he saw it as an opportunity to take a step back to make a huge leap forward. He picked up the right knowledge and skills, built relevant connections, and gained practical experience to progress in the pursuit of his career as a stockbroker.
He showed his willingness to learn and adapt to situations as necessary and it paid off in the end.
It’s been almost two decades since the release of ‘Pursuit of Happyness’, but there’s a reason it continues to resonate with leaders, entrepreneurs, and professionals all over the world. The lessons it presents are still relevant in today’s business landscape and its moving story remains a timeless inspiration for anyone who has a dream and seeks to fulfill it despite the obstacles they may face along the way.