For 2 extremely successful films Will Smith wore only a black suit. Later in his career, he took on a role in which he wore a suit for a very different reason. The Pursuit of Happyness is the true story of a homeless single father, Chris Gardner (Will Smith). In this film, Smith’s character wore the suit so none of his coworkers would suspect he was homeless. Gardner’s success story offers some great lessons, and Smith’s portrayal in the film is extremely moving.

Advice on Overcoming Obstacles

Starting out as a medical equipment salesman, Gardner runs into an extremely successful businessman. Curiosity piqued, he asks him about his profession, and discovers the man is a stock broker. Hoping to find success and improve his lifestyle for his son, Gardner seeks out getting into the profession. Since his wife left him, he has been struggling to make sales and support his son. This lack of income leads to Gardner being evicted, and trying to land a job without a place to call home. Throughout the course of the film, Gardner overcomes multiple obstacles to land a job at the company. This leads to our first lesson learned.

Never let anything hold you back, and don’t make excuses for yourself. Gardner was in a position where it would’ve been extremely easy to give up. He had no place to call home, and also was jailed the day before an interview because of unpaid parking tickets. Despite all these challenges, he persisted, and was able to land an internship and eventually secure a job.

What Is the ‘Dream Job’?

More importantly, it would’ve been easy for Gardner to tell himself it simply wasn’t possible. He had enough reasons to excuse the possibility. It’s extremely easy to fall into this trap. When a minor obstacle or snag in our plans comes up, it’s easy to give up. Gardner could’ve easily blamed it on his lack of financial back up. However, he held himself personally accountable, and made no excuses.

Some viewers will watch this movie and believe the ultimate lesson is that money=happiness. At the end of the film, Chris has a high paying job, and is finally happy. However, it’s not that simple. The entire movie, he is trying to provide his son Christopher with a better future. This job and the salary that goes with it are a means to an end. This is why Gardner is so overjoyed when he lands the position. A job is just as much about why you do it as it is how you do it. Doing a job for the right reasons is extremely rewarding, and more fulfilling than doing a job just for the salary. Finding a job where you can do something you believe in, and do it for the right reasons is worth much more than just its salary.