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In pursuit of “happy”ness

December 23, 2007 Leave a comment Go to comments

I watched this movie (The Pursuit Of Happyness) a long while ago. However, this movie keeps coming to my mind at fairly regular intervals. Understandably, movies never get down to affecting me emotionally barring a few and this movie is in the latter group. And when I get frustrated at everything around me… right from work to my flight delays, my thought goes for just a few seconds to this guy, Chris Gardner – his pursuit to keep himself and his son happy in the worst of circumstances.

Before I go futher, this movie is highly recommended by me… on the same lines as “Life is Beautiful”!

Happy or SadNow, I wouldn’t delve into the definition of happiness… coz am sure it won’t go down well with 80% of the people no matter what line of thought I take. Nevertheless, something I can say with good confidence is how our actions on various aspects in life translates into happiness.

A. Education
Even though I am not sure how much I benefited from the 18yrs of education, I know that it caused a lot of stress on my family who had dreams for me, caused a lot of anxiety amongst my frends for they wanted me to reach out to their dreams, caused a lot of apprehension to yet another group of people for all my actions were based on this one pillar.

B. Health
I never took and still never take my health seriously… but now in my late 20s, I have realized its worth. With the sedentary job I am in, dieting and exercising should have been on my priority list but alas, I never found time for it until recently. Right now, I feel quite good about my health but I do wonder what it would have been like if I would have taken my health more seriously earlier as well.

C. Religion
I feel like I used to take religion too seriously. Not that, it shouldn’t be… But, the point is that religion should become an inherent part of oneself… and should reflect naturally in one’s actions! I was brought up semi-religious where we thank God for everything we get and all that and all glory goes to God. But I left way too many things up to God when I should have been doing them myself. I mean I actually thought if I prayed hard enough for tests and work stuff I would pass them or not get fired. Religion teaches right discipline, right way of life, right attitude, right character… and all those ingredients that make a good human being.

D. Self-worth
I have always been put in the war-zone by my parents and somewhere it helped me in realizing my own potential and then working towards exercising that. I am sure that had my parents not bothered about my education and my upbringing in terms of deeper evaluation, I would have been just another-average-guy. When I targeted level 2, they pushed me to reach level 4… and that made me stretch myself. It is important for each of us to understand our self-worth and then direct all our energies in demonstrating that to realize our goals.

And coming back to the movie, I found these 5 lessons of life that came out strongly:
1. Never put all of your money in one basket
The character, Chris Gardner, spent all of his money buying a bunch of portable bone scanners that he was convinced would make him rich. He made the mistake of risking everything he had financially in the hopes of becoming rich. There are lots of “bone scanners” in the world offering the lure of riches for a “minor investment”. Don’t bet the whole farm, and do your homework. Remember, most people don’t get rich overnight and if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
2. Never give up and remain fixed on the goal
Chris Gardner never gave up. He decided what he wanted to do and went for it. Even though his motivations for being in the stock market weren’t the correct ones, it did end up working out for him. Chris’ story proves that if you remain fixed on a goal, and attack it with passion, you can reach that goal. This is true for saving millions, getting out of debt, owning your own company, etc. Remember though, it generally requires a great deal of hard work and can take a long time.
3. Motivation and attitude go a long way
Chris had motivation, he had to feed and care for his child. Having to feed your child is probably about the strongest motivation I can think of. Chris’ son reminded him daily of his need to succeed and get control of his life. Not only did Chris have motivation, he had an incredible attitude and was confident in himself. If not for his confidence and attitude he most likely would have never become the successful stock broker he ended up being, much less even made it into the internship.
4. Sacrifice in the short term to gain in the long run
The movie showed Chris staying up all night fixing broken medical machines, studying and watching over his son. He slept little, but did what he had to do. Chris knew that sacrificing in the short term would lead to a long term reward. It did. The same holds true in our personal finance lives, we must sacrifice in the short term to gain in the long. As Dave Ramsey would say, we must “live like no one else so we can live like no one else”. Live on less than you earn, get out of debt, and begin saving. These are all short term sacrifices for the promise of being wealthy later. Chris knew this.
5. Never think you can’t do something
In one of the most powerful scenes of the movie, Chris tells his son that he can’t do something. After a few moments reflecting, he again looks at his son and says “Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do something, not even me.” If we think we can’t do something, chances are we won’t; however if we believe that we can, the chances of us succeeding go way up. The more you believe, the higher your chances.

Do you believe you can be wealthy? Retire early? Get out of Debt? Start your own business? Do something you never got the courage to do? Maybe you should.

  1. farhz
    December 25, 2007 at 10:51 am

    hmm Mr.MO. gud 1 .
    liked it very much.
    and learnt alot [:p]
    by the way u getting much more intelligent buddy .[:o]
    newayz just wanna say [:)]
    tk cr

  2. Shakir
    January 6, 2008 at 10:52 pm

    Insightful as always Moid!!!

    I saw this movie quite late, actually after reading a story on Gardener in Reader’s Digest. But had moist eyes thru it.

    It does show what hard work and intensity can do!!!

    If I may also add, Will Smith and his sone were amazing!!!

  1. March 21, 2010 at 12:10 pm

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