Will Smith as Chris Gardner in the :”Pursuit of Happyness” is pure beauty. Anytime Will Smith is on the screen he commands attention but playing Gardner, he grabbed my heart strings and gave them a huge pull. By now you are realizing that any underdog story of someone who has had hard luck but turned it into their winning strength has got my stamp of approval. There is a reason for that and I am sure it is not that hard to figure out why by now. Chris Gardner’s story of struggle and triumph is all of what we have been talking about…it’s resilience wrapped in a warm blanket of happiness all over the place. While the movie is a bit Hollywood, the roots of the story are true. This scene from the end of the movie wasn’t just a moment in time. It was the moment when hard luck and hard work turned into payback from the Universe. Anything you will find on the internet about Gardner now will tell you about his entrepreneurial spirit, his financial success and his book by the same title. He credits his resilience to his mother who was very spiritual. Which reminds me of our discussionIf I Can Can, You Can Can where we discussed some of the key factors that increase resiliency. One of the main factors is connection and community: in particular with an energy or being greater than ourselves. This can be a God like figure or simply the feeling of being part of the larger Universal collective. It is clear that Chris Gardner’s mother gave her son something he could refer back to when the going got tough because he was able to get going when it did.
One of the things that has been a motivator in building my own resiliency has been the people that have been placed in my life as mentors. As I reflect back on the dozens of people who have influenced me, I see that the Universe was trying to give me the same message over and over through different spiritual bodies at different times in my life. The faces were different but the message has always been the same. The message was motivational in spirit but deep and profound in love. “You got this. Keep up the good work. You can do whatever you put your mind to. I believe in you. You are going to do great things. I look forward to hearing about what you are doing in the future” are just a handful of the messages I received along the way. Along the yellow brick road there have been people placed at pit stops along the way that have been influential in helping me get to the next pit stop. They were supportive supervisors/mentors at work, friends/work colleagues, or people that were passing through my life in some shape or fashion. As we chat I can see the movie reel in my mind’s eye as if I was watching an episode of “This is your Life.” Wow, if I only knew then what I can so clearly see now, I would have saved myself a lot of needless time worrying! It’s like the famous line in Steve Job’s Stanford University speech “You can’t connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in the future. You have to trust in something – you gut, destiny, karma whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect somewhere down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well worn path , and that will make all the difference.” Ah don’t we love that quote? It’s like a breath of fresh air on a spring day to wash away our fears. A pivotal and motivational moment in the above movie is when Will Smith as Gardner speaks to his son after having told him that he couldn’t do something. He notices his son’s hopes deflate and then states “Don’t ever let someone tell you can’t do something, not even me. If you have a dream protect it. People can’t do something themselves they want to tell you that you can’t do it. You want something go get it period.” YES! Well said, Bravo.
If your heart is aching for something more, you need to pay attention and then do something about it. People can be placed on your path to help point to windows and doors but it is you that needs to walk through them when you are ready to choose to. If you never become ready, then the opportunity for happiness will surely pass you by. We call this resentments and then blame others for them but it is us that had the opportunity to choose a different path at some point but we chose to stay stuck in fear. In the movie the Gardner character cites Thomas Jefferson’s line in Declaration of Independence stating that we should have the freedom of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” When Gardner’s character was feeling more down trodden he wondered if we were to just have the opportunity of the pursuit without the happiness. I say no. The possibility for happiness is always there in each moment we just have to see it and choose it. How will you bring awareness into the moment today to help you choose happiness? What things will you do for yourself today that will help you along the path that leads you towards embracing the love and happiness your heart longs for? Today, I will speak with a special person who is dear to my heart who helps guide me along that path and afterwards I will go for a walk to feel the fresh air on my face, knowing that happiness is always there for me if I so choose it.