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The Real Inspirational Story Behind a Hollywood Movie - Celebrating Our Failures

Updated on January 9, 2018

Most of the people never heard about Chris Gardner. However, you probably watched his life story on the screen. With the American blockbuster “The Pursuit of Happyness”, this life story became alive for all the future generations who struggle with everyday remedies and try to follow their dreams. Noticed the “y” in the title? No, actually this letter is not misspelled. This title was written on the wall of a daycare center where Gardner’s son once went during some of their worst days. But the word somehow came to signify Gardner’s own pursuit of happiness.

So how did he become the man who celebrated his own failures? He didn’t have a happy childhood, he was a child of divorced parents so he grew up in a foster home. However, he didn’t succumb to the odds, even though he was experiencing some hard times. After marrying and the birth of his son, he started to sell some medical equipment. He decided to invest all the money that was left to start this business. And here is where his celebrated failure starts to happen.

This investment became a huge financial burden to him and his family. His wife left him and he needed to take care of his son. After failing to pay his income taxes, he lost his home. He and his son became homeless. They slept in public toilets, airports, parks, and hotels. It seemed that there was no light at the end of the tunnel.

Was it worth of risk? It seems that failure is inevitable in some phase of our life. However, you have to think big and push forward. Everyone who succeeded in life, great businessmen, inventors, and leaders accepted failure as a necessary step to great success. We actually need to accept the idea that attempts are always accompanied by failures and mistakes. You should learn to practice failures. Always expose yourself to various ideas and approaches, bearing in mind that failure is the most natural thing in the world. When we "grow up" we assure ourselves that we should not be wrong anymore. But life teaches us differently. Success is almost always a series of failures with a happy ending. If you already have to experience them, try to choose the right time and space. The truth will release you - literally.

That's actually what Chris did. He embraced the failure and let it go with the flow. He continued to sell the equipment and his failures didn’t stop. The equipment was stolen from him several times, and there were days when he didn’t have a single cent in his pocket. However, one day, he met a man who would eventually change his life. While experiencing one of his bad days at work, he saw a man walking out of a red Ferrari. He stopped by, asked a man what he does for a living and the man pointed out to a piece of paper hanging on the door of a huge building. That was a call for an internship. He actually encountered a twist of fate and met the manager of Dean Witter, a huge brokerage company with the incomes of several millions of dollars.

It seems like this was just another failure, another step backward in his career. When he told his wife that he would become an intern for a stoke broker, and work without a salary, she decided to leave him. He failed as a husband and a father.

Despite all the odds, he evaluated the viability of the idea that he could pass the internship test and become one of his best employees. When the manager saw that Chris’s methods are really clever and engaging and, while the manager struggled to solve the Rubik’s cube, Chris did it in a few minutes; they knew they shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. After passing the entrance exam, he became a full-time employee. He earned his first million when he was 34 and eventually established his own company, Gardner Rich & Co. To reward himself for making a huge business success, one of the first things he bought was a red Ferrari. He became a living example that dreams do come true.

So what’s his major secret? The only thing that was repeated constantly in his life was the failure. He failed as a husband, as a father, as a son, and as a businessman. However, he decided to face the facts as they are. And he resisted the temptation to blame others for his failures. He failed over and over again and that’s why he succeeded. By raising above the failures and embracing them, he triumphed.


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