Blog post cover featuring one of the last scenes from The Pursuit of Happyness

What Every Business Owner Can Learn from The Pursuit of Happyness

The Pursuit of Happyness. This movie is so enjoyable to watch, and it has a lot of replay value. From the score to the acting to the dialogue and then to know that this isn't just Hollywood pushing your emotional buttons. Well, it is, but there's more to it.

They often do pull your heartstrings in Hollywood, but there's more to this movie than cheap emotional tricks.

A Few Lessons from the Pursuit of Happyness

This is real. This happened. This is possible.

You can do what you set your mind to. But will you? That's the real question.

I know I've failed time and time again but I get up again and I tweak my approach I try something slightly different and then I see progress. You have to be willing to work at it and you have to be able to put your ego aside to be flexible.

1 You Need a "Why"

You gotta have a motive. In the movie, the motive is the kid. That is the why.

The "why" has to be bigger than one's self. It has to be something that motivates you, a bigger purpose. It's easy to say my why is to make more money because I can't pay my bills. That's not going to work. Why do you need to pay your bills? What's the next step? What's the bigger purpose? It needs to be a higher-purpose reason.

2 You Need Desire

You gotta have desire, it's one thing to have a why and have it be your rock, your cornerstone. The one thing that drives you to get up in the morning. But what happens when you have your why? What then?

You also need a desire, something that helps you drive just a little harder and drives you to win, not just to make it and cross the finish line, but to do it with pizazz like Tony Montana would say.

3 Find and Make the Opportunity

Some people call it luck, others point to the law of attraction as the culprit when things we've been longing for materialize.

No matter how you come to have an opportunity, you need to seize that opportunity and do everything you can to capitalize on it.

In the movie, this happens twice. Once when he goes to the football game and the second time when he gets the job and then has to beat everyone else.

The first lesson in this regard, create your opportunities. Ring that doorbell!

Then the rest is simple and straightforward, when an opportunity reveals itself, take it.

Grab it, chase it, do everything you can to make the outcome of that opportunity be favorable to you. It is by these kinds of advances that we often have a chance to make outstanding leaps forward in a short period of time.

4 Pursue "Hapyness" at All Costs and Don't Let Others Tell You What You Can't Do

This is a good lesson that lots of people shout from the rooftops but few entrepreneurs follow.

The time when Chris Gardner (Will Smith) is shooting hoops with his kid and he denies him. He crushes the kids dream in an instant, with one sentence.

He tells him that he probably won't become a pro basketball player, instead he tells him he'll be just average at basketball so he better pursue other things.

Then the scene turns and Chris notices what he has just done, probably the same thing people have done to him his whole life.

He is devastated that his son just accepts that and ends up telling him to protect his dream and pursue it.

Don't let anyone tell you, you can't have that, is what he says. That's the lesson that we need to burn into our heads too. If your why is solid, if you have the desire, if you're working for it, and someone tells you that you can't have it. Fuck 'em.

5 Hard Work Pays Off

In the end, one of the last scenes always gets to me.

When the guy passes by and tells Chris, "come" and beckons him to the office with the bigwigs.

Spoiler alert -- if you haven't watched the movie (first, what's wrong with you!?) you should stop reading now. When Chris is told to "wear a shirt tomorrow" for his first day.

Then he's asked if it was as easy as it looked, and Chris' answer was "no sir."

You see, after all the sacrifices, all the embarrassment, all the family leaving and lack of supporting friends (if there were any, to begin with) after seemingly everyone deserting him, he still pulled through.

As they say, where there's a will, there's a way.

Hard work pays off in the pursuit of happyness.

Do you like this movie? What do you think of the lessons I extracted from it? What other ones have I missed? Let me know in the comments.

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