10 Inspiring Lessons From “The Pursuit Of Happyness” Movie

The title “10 Things” for this month is inspired by the movie “10 Things I Hate About You”. I was planning to write a review about it, but did not see it in Netflix so I googled self development movies instead and “The Pursuit Of Happyness” is recommended. I have seen the movie way back, and I do not remember much about it except that I did not like it, so I watched it again.

1. Knowing one’s options is important. I have always been a fan of making lists (as shown by August’s theme). In the beginning of the movie, Chris Jr tells his father that he is making a list of what he wants for his birthday. Knowing that he is not going to get everything in it does not matter, he wants to look and study it so he can choose better.

2. With patience and concentration, not even a Rubik’s cube is too complicated to decode. I remember trying to solve one when I was younger. I am not proud of it, but I used to disassemble tiles (or the stickers if the cube is new) and manually put them back together. I guess I am not as smart as Chris Gardner eh? I know there is a step by step guide on how to solve it, but I suppose it is not like riding a bike. Shall I try again and maybe show Sophia she can do it too if she puts her mind to it and not give up?

3. Support of partner may or may not be indispensable. Without a doubt, a lot easier to succeed if available, but it is not impossible otherwise. The relationship between husband and wife is not one of the highlights of the movie. But when Chris tells Linda he wants to be a stock broker, she asks him why not an astronaut? They are having a difficult time, she is taking double shifts at work so it is not surprising that she left. Chris lost his wife and had to sleep with his 5 year old in a train station’s public restroom and with the right attitude and determination, he was able to get through. What is my excuse?

4. All one needs is an encounter that gives one hope. On one faithful day, Chris sees a stockbroker driving a red Ferrari and is bold enough to ask what he does for a living and is told all he needs is to be good with numbers and people, skills Chris apparently do not lack. He looks at the people in that place and they appear happy to him, and a dream is born. Maybe this movie is what I may just need right now.

5. When the heart is determined, it does not matter if one is wearing garbage. Chris has waited for Jay Twistle outside of the building and in his office (in a jacket and tie) for a month to get an interview. And when he finally got the chance, he comes dressed casually with paint smeared all over. I was so afraid of commitment, my past “relationships” never lasted for more than a couple of months, and the one time I tossed caution to the wind, I got my heart broken. Unfortunately for me, my engagement did not end happily like Chris’s interview.

6. It is ok not to have the answers. Chris is the type of person who admits he does not know the answer to a question but will never stop until he finds it. I do not know exactly what I want right now and sad to say, but I am not even sure where to start looking for the answers. I suppose that is one of the objectives of this blog, so maybe I am not that lost after all.

7. Manage time well. Being a single father and homeless, Chris does not have the luxury of time. They need to line up at the shelter before 5pm to get a room so he learns not hang up the phone in between calls to save 8 min and not drink a lot of water to eliminate the need to go to the toilet. I practically have the whole day to make my sales calls, and I do not take advantage.

8. Expectations vs reality are two different things. Getting an A on a history exam (or whatever), he would get this good feeling about all the things that he could be and then he never became any of them. Do not we all have aspirations when we were younger? Somewhere along the way, however, life happens. And then somehow, we find ourselves doing something entirely different from what we originally planned. I certainly did not see myself being broke at 36 with a 7 year old daughter.

9. There are different chapters in our lives. Chris’s includes (at least in the movie) riding the bus, being stupid, running, internship, paying taxes and happiness. Conversely, I suppose I am in between running and internship. Pretty soon I will pay taxes and (hopefully) ultimately, find happiness. For is not that what all of us are looking for at the end of the day?

10. Single parents rock! There are few things worse than father and son’s situation in the movie. Chris Jr has to suffer a lot at a very young age. He should have been playing but instead has to go through getting evicted twice and is dragged and had to sleep with several men in a crowded room. In his eyes, however, his father is his hero. The scene were he (Chris Jr) tells him (Chris) he is a good papa is very heartwarming. I see (and can feel) how his father must have felt incompetent. Everyday, I struggle and feel like I am a failure as a mother, and everyday, my daughter tells me she loves me. And occasionally, I also get the “you are the best Mommy in the whole wide world” compliment.

Is happiness really something we have to pursue? In my opinion, the ending is a bit anti-climactic. Or at least young people (maybe fresh graduates or something) who has not really experienced life yet, might get the wrong idea. For there is definitely more to happiness than getting a job. I had to Google after watching to find out whether Chris and his wife got back together and it turns out not. He also has not remarried. He became very rich though. I do not want to argue about it, but maybe that is his idea of happiness.

My greatest take away in the movie is to protect my dream. A few months ago, I made a list (lesson #1) of my short, mid and long term goals, and I am going to do it. I will not let someone tell me I cannot. Not even me, with all of my self-doubts and insecurities.

How are you pursuing your happiness today?

#ToABetterSarah #RaisingSophia #FindingSarah #

CTTO

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