In the movie The Pursuit of Happy-ness Will Smith plays Chris Gardner, a man who is catapulted into one crisis after another as he attempts to attain his dream job and secure a stable and prosperous future for himself and his son. Always a half step away from homelessness Gardner, nonetheless, forges ahead, relentlessly pursuing.
To me, Chris Gardner epitomizes resilience and this movie based on his real life story has inspired me not to quit.
I am awe struck by the manner in which Gardner maintains his drive and determination in spite of what seem to be insurmountable odds. I am gripped by the image of this man, in full sprint, sweat pouring from him, as he feverishly chases after the impossible and improbable.
The odds were against him and his stakes were much higher than mine. Yet he never quit.
I say that writing is my passion, but when I observe the passion with which Chris Gardner pursued his dream, I realize that I have not pushed hard enough. I’ve given in to discouragement too easily. I’ve allowed those little voices in my head to tell me my time has passed; there’s nothing that I can contribute to the publishing world that hasn’t already been done–nothing to say that hasn’t already been said.
But, then there’s that scene in the movie when Gardner discourages his son from pursuing his love of basketball. “It’s not in you” Gardner tells him. “So don’t waste your time with NBA dreams.” The little boy drops his head and packs away his ball. How many times have I been that boy? Feeling like the world is shutting me down, telling me “don’t waste your time” and so I’ve packed away my pens and paper.
But then Gardner catches himself. Realizing the power of his words to either bring life–or death –to a son whose whole existence depends on his father–Gardner recants: “Hey,” he calls his son back. “Don’t ever let anybody tell you you can’t do something, that you can’t achieve your dreams…not even me.”
And so, I return again to the writing desk. With no less sweat and tears than the man in full pursuit, I clamor for that prize–and so should you. Don’t let anyone–even you–tell you that you can’t. Let’s be like Chris Gardner and feverishly chase after the impossible and improbable. Because the real lesson of resilience is that happiness is in the pursuit!