Based on the real-life story of Chris Gardner (American entrepreneur, stock broker and motivational speaker); The Pursuit of Happyness is inspiration exemplified. Will Smith, a fine actor, brings Chris Gardner to life on celluloid. Based on the facts shown in the film, one can just wonder in awe of the resilient positivism in Chris as he is propelled down the chain with one obstacle after another. We need to appreciate that if one can pull himself and his child out of such lows, we hardly deserve any right to complain. The epitome of his struggle is the scene when he fabricates a story for his son, to occupy a toilet in a metro station to spend the night in. The film is also as much about hope, as it depicts how good things happen just when it seems all is lost.
I am driven to draw a connection between the personality traits of Chris and what Malcolm Gladwell derived in his path-breaking work : “Outliers” . Gladwell stressed on two important dimensions of the many required for a success to be classified a genius : analytic intelligence and practical intelligence. He mentions that just scoring high on the IQ scale ain’t enough. A genius needs to concoct her analytic intelligence with good public skills – simply put, knowing how to work your way out among people. And that is what Chris did, which was shown through two occurrences: the analytic part being portrayed through his ‘genius’ of solving the Rubik puzzle, and his practical intelligence displayed through securing a seat in the box for a soccer match, thereby gaining hold of crucial ‘visiting cards’. Practical intelligence requires or stems from being creative and imaginative in identifying the path through the social labyrinth. This can be attributed to the ‘right’ side of the brain. Analytic intelligence is pure ‘left’ side. Thus, the construct holds valid against the hemispheric lateralization theory too.
Biopics, despite being a tad dramatized, do serve to remind us not to hide behind the usual pretexts of circumstances, abilities and opportunities to justify our ‘not there’ state of life. To the tenacious is delivered the sweetest fruit of success. A must watch for EVERYONE.
Chris Gardner is now rejuvenating thousands with his talks. Besides his autobiography of the same name, Chris has also penned another book – Start Where You Are. As he rightly says: If Chris Gardner can do it, so can you.