The Pursuit of Happiness: 8 Lessons From this Great Movie

Lacking inspiration? "The Pursuit of Happiness" is the movie for you. It's a story that contains many lessons about perseverance, self-improvement, and fighting for your dreams.
The Pursuit of Happiness: 8 Lessons From this Great Movie
Elena Sanz

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist Elena Sanz.

Last update: 15 December, 2022

The Pursuit of Happiness is a movie based on true events that tells the story of Chris Gardner. It’s about a man who’s left destitute and is kicked out of his home along with his son. The protagonist fights to get a position in a prestigious stock market firm in order to improve both of their lives.

This film directed by Gabriele Muccino and Fabricio Samaniego and is starring Will Smith, who plays the role of Chris Gardner. Jaden Smith played his son. Thandie Newton and Brian Howe also participated in the film.

In turn, self-improvement, patience, and perseverance are values that are present in this feature film through morals that serve as inspiration. In this article, you’ll learn some of the lessons from The Pursuit of Happiness.

1. Never give up

Perseverance is the key to overcome the problems in your life and achieve everything you want.

Despite all the obstacles Chris Gardner has to face, such as having to sleep in motels, hostels, trains, and even in public bathrooms with his son, he never gives up. Instead, he becomes an example of overcoming obstacles.

In this sense, the film has a clear teaching: when an obstacle presents itself, you must look for solutions and face it. You have to keep going because it’s in your hands to change the situation.

Superar los obstáculos.
Overcoming difficulties speaks of perseverance. Life will always present us with challenges.

2. If you want to, you can achieve anything you set your mind to

Gardner believes in his knowledge, in the skills he has, and in the talent he possesses, which is essential to his path to success. Therefore, start believing in yourself, in what you are capable of doing, and that your dreams are possible to achieve. This way, the possibilities will be endless!

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3. Don’t let anyone limit your life

Throughout your life, you will meet people with complexes in the personal or work environment who will try to make you believe that you’re just like them. That is, they may try to convince you that you aren’t capable of doing what you want.

However, In Pursuit of Happiness has a very important lesson and that is not to allow anyone to tell you that you can’t do something. Only you can determine whether what you want to do is possible or not.

“If people aren’t capable of doing something, they’ll want to tell you that you can’t to do it, either. If you want something, go for it. Period.” –The Pursuit of Happiness

4. You have to look for opportunities

Chris Gardner’s opportunity to become a stockbroker didn’t come on its own. He had to work, study, and fight for his dream every day.

Therefore, it’s extremely important that if you want something, you look for the opportunities to make it happen. Don’t wait for them go away without any effort.

5. Use resources to your advantage

The movie The Pursuit of Happiness also demonstrates that, if you have the necessary ingenuity, you can use resources as basic as a Rubik’s cube to a great effect. An example of this is that, just as Gardner does in the movie, you have the ability to showcase your skills and that leads you closer to your goals.

6. Don’t get discouraged by receiving a “no”

There’s a scene in the movie in which Gardner wants to meet a very important client at a soccer game. However, his plans don’t go as expected and he gets a “no” for an answer.

Although it may seem unfortunate, it’s thanks to that game that he has the opportunity to meet not just one, but several people who later became his clients. In other words, in case you don’t get what you expected, you don’t have to be discouraged; you may get something better than what you were looking for.

It’s just like the saying goes: “when one door closes, another one opens.”

7. You have to work to achieve your goals

Although you may receive support from other people on the road to your dreams, only you can achieve what you want in the end. This is only possible when you work hard.

That’s why, following the lessons from The Pursuit of Happiness, you have to guide your daily actions towards what you want.

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8. The pursuit of happiness: Always give your best

Try to give 100% of yourself and your effort on all occasions. You probably don’t want to live with the regret that you could have given more and did not. That’s why it’s better to be satisfied and know that you gave your best.

Goals are achieved with hard work. There are no magic formulas and you must be willing to put yourself on the path.

It’s a true and inspiring story

After learning the lessons of The Pursuit of Happiness, it’s a movie you’ll definitely want to enjoy for inspiration. It can help you see life differently.

Today, Gardner is a speaker, writer, and the owner of his own company, Gardner Rich LLC. In turn, he helps families who are going through a similar situation to the one he went through.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Maxwell J. El Mapa para alcanzar el éxito. Estados Unidos: Editorial Caribe, Inc. 2003.
  • Montoya L, Portilla L, Villa C. El desarrollo personal en el proceso de crecimiento individual. Scientia et Technica. 2008; (40): 117-119.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.