Pursuit of Goals: What You Can Learn About Swimming Against the Tide

Business Communication 22nd December 2016 Workbetter Team

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We have all watched The Pursuit of Happyness it countless times and yet become moist-eyed at various points when a struggling salesman, Chris Gardner (Will Smith) is distressed by the challenging situations he finds himself in. However, never once does he give up. Instead, he stands for his dreams when no one’s there to back him up. You may say it’s just a movie, but did you know that it’s inspired by a true story? You see what the power of determination, persistence and self-belief in one man who won’t let go off his pursuit of goals and the will to chase big dreams!

Never stop believing

Every downfall was a blow on Chris’ determination, but he was willing to keep going forward. He continued to see doctors who he knew wouldn’t ever buy his bone density machine despite it being a leap over standard X-rays. He ended up being homeless with a son to take care of and also slept in night shelters, but he never stopped working hard or going any other way that would come in the way of his and his family’s happiness.

Related: Lessons for Professionals from Olympic Legend Karoly Takacs

Don’t give or find excuses

The day before Chris was called for an interview for an unpaid position of an intern at a stock broking firm, he was sent to jail, which somewhat complicated his morning schedule. Despite that, he manages to reach the office on time (no matter the clothes) , and impresses the panel with his skills. He wants that job so bad that he does everything to be on time and never once lets any excuse cloud his judgement. Little did he know that of the 20 unpaid interns, he will be chosen for the job.

Related: Lessons Entrepreneurs Can Learn from Shah Rukh Khan

Make judicious use of time

It’s easy to say ‘I don’t have time’ or ‘I’m too busy to make time for a project’. But when you see Chris making use of time, you get to know you’re wasting yours. He refuses to be discouraged when he is unable to match the long hours of his colleagues. Although he has to leave from office at 5 pm every day to take care of his son, he finds his own ways to save time. He doesn’t hang up the phone between calls. He also proves that your attitude, and not the number of hours at work, determine your productivity.

Related: Business Lessons and Advice from the Inmates of Orange Is the New Black

Haters gonna hate

No matter how ridiculous your vision may look to others, if you have conviction in it, then go for it. Chris’ wife thought his unpaid internship was a sheer waste of time. In fact, she doesn’t think he’s cut to become a stock broker in the first place and rebukes him saying, “You sure you don’t want to be an astronaut?” It’s painful when your own folks don’t have faith in you, but you must keep going forward. Chris believed in himself and made it to becoming a stock broker, and later even started his own brokerage company!

Now is as good as any other time

How many times have you heard that it’s never too late? Chris is already in his 40s when he begins interning at the stock brokerage firm. Was he ashamed of it? No. He gave everything he had to start there. There’s a point in the movie where he even admits to not knowing an answer but says that “I know how to find the answer and I will find it.” He’s a man who’s never scared of learning.

Related: 5 Career Lessons from Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar

To sign off let’s remind you of a quote from the movie: “I am not what happened to me; I am what I chose to become.”

Good luck to new beginnings!


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