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“Also, the walk didn’t have to be long strides: baby steps counted too. Go forward”. Famed financier Chris Gardner’s rules of success

“Also, the walk didn't have to be long strides: baby steps counted too. Go forward". Famed financier Chris Gardner's rules of success
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“Do you want, dad, to listen to a funny story? One old man was fishing in a storm, a ship sailed up to him, the captain asked, “Can I help you?” He answered, “The Lord will help me”. The old man drowned, went to heaven and said, “Lord, why didn’t you help me?” And he answered, “Fool, I sent a ship for you”.

It is a dialogue from the movie The Pursuit of Happyness directed by Gabriele Muccino. The film is the real life story of Chris Gardner, the founder of Gardner Rich & Co, famous financier, entrepreneur and philanthropist who was homeless in the 80s.

Now he is a classic self-made man, owns his own brokerage firm, often appears on TV screens, is a producer and writer.

During the times shown in the film, Gardner and his son had to wander the streets, worked for a penny, and often even without pay, gaining experience, often spent the night in public latrines, church shelters, and shelters next to dubious people.

Through perseverance and hard work, Chris Gardner will become a successful entrepreneur, not only an investor, but also a philanthropist. He will meet the mighty of this world, find a friend in the person of Nelson Mandela and publish memoirs that will form the basis of the film.

Will Smith and his son play the main roles in the film about the American Dream, and Chris Gardner himself played in an episode of the last scene. He also became a co-producer of the picture.

“If you want, then you can earn a million dollars” is a quote from the film and its main leitmotif. And one more: “If you go to your goal, then you will become a rescue ship for yourself”.

In 1954, a boy appeared in a dysfunctional American family in Milwaukee. The boy had a hard time – he never saw his father, and his mother was in prison. The stepfather who raised little Chris was also not the best person.


Don’t ever let somebody tell you that you can’t do something. Not even me. All right? If you have a dream, take care of it.


Quote from the movie The Pursuit of Happyness


However, Chris Gardner learned from his childhood the most important lesson – a phrase once uttered by his mother, “Rely only on yourself. The cavalry will not come”. Perhaps it was this truth that became decisive for his entire subsequent life, helped to move forward and win in difficult life situations.

Chris often ran away from home, saw different people and different companies. He firmly decided to be someone significant in this life, and after school he went to serve in the US Navy. He worked as an assistant at a laboratory in a medical center, took his first steps as a scientist and even published in specialized publications.


“Also, the walk didn't have to be long strides: baby steps counted too. Go forward". Famed financier Chris Gardner's rules of success
A still from the movie The Pursuit of Happyness. Photo: Zade Rosenthal /


When Chris Gardner had a family, money was sorely lacking. To stay afloat, he came up with the idea of ​​selling densitometers – clever devices for monitoring the quality of X-rays.

“To cover rent and kindergarten, I had to sell two of them a month. Plus one more to cover all penalty slips. The problem was that lately they had not been taken. I spent all my savings on this revolution in medical technology, but it turned out that clinics did not need them at all,” the main character of the movie The Pursuit of Happyness lamented.

One day, pondering how he could make money, Chris Gardner met stockbroker Bob Bridges. He struck the mind of the young father. Well dressed, smelling good, in a beautiful red Ferrari, Bridges was an absolute visualization of our hero’s dream.


Can I say something? Um, I am the type of person that if you ask me a question and I don’t know the answer, I’m gonna tell you that I don’t know. But I bet you what, I know how to find the answer and I will find the answer. 


Quote from the movie The Pursuit of Happyness


And Chris Gardner decided that in order to become successful and rich, you needed to learn how to work on the stock exchange at any cost. Bob Bridges opened the world of finance for his acquaintance and pointed out the right people, whose companies were engaged in trading.

According to Gardner, he felt in this environment like a young man on an inflatable ring on the high seas among motor boats. Any confusion could immediately send him to the bottom.

The position of the future financier at that time was precarious: the family broke up, his financial accounts were empty, there was only enough money for food, and there was no question of renting an apartment with his son. Nevertheless, he expresses a strong desire to get an internship in one of the trading firms, even without a special education.


“Also, the walk didn't have to be long strides: baby steps counted too. Go forward". Famed financier Chris Gardner's rules of success
A still from the movie The Pursuit of Happyness. Photo: Zade Rosenthal /


Chris worked part-time as a sales representative and handyman, and at night he studied the basics of stock trading. Finally he was invited for an interview at Dean Witter Reynolds.

Surprisingly, he went there in an untidy state – straight from the prison cell in which he had served for not paying a parking fine. Realizing that he was facing a fight for a place that a dozen more people were claiming, Gardner used all his wit and emotional intelligence to get it. And he got his way.

However, the main battle was ahead. Now he had to become the best in his department, and then in the company.

Chris Gardner made his own schedule – he worked as fast as he could. When his colleagues made 20-30 calls per shift, he managed to make two hundred, sacrificing smoke breaks, chatter and even lunch. The little son, for whom he stood in long lines for social meals and who also believed in him, greatly motivated Gardner.


You got a dream… You gotta protect it. People can’t do something themselves, they wanna tell you that you can’t do it. If you want something, go get it. Period.


Quote from the movie The Pursuit of Happyness


“Also, the walk didn’t have to be long strides: baby steps counted too. Go forward,” this is how he will write about this period in his book.

He carefully prepared for his exam at the Bear Stearns brokerage in San Francisco and was finally hired. Gardner founded his own company, Gardner Rich & Co, five years later, in Chicago. He saved up $ 10 thousand for it and bought the cheapest table.

That very million-dollar deal was made at this table. A dozen years later, Chris Gardner’s firm has become one of the most successful futures companies with a worldwide reputation. Inspired, he sold his stake for a fabulous price and founded a new chain – Christopher Gardner International Holdings.

The famous financier achieved everything he wanted, and was already holding the keys to that red dream car in his hand, but suddenly changed his mind. Chris Gardner decided that his success story could help someone rethink and drastically change their life.

He started doing charity work, found his calling in the field of motivational speaking, and began publishing books. When asked why he changed his life again, he answered with a short phrase, “Everyone deserves to be happy”.

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