The Pursuit of Happyness: A Movie About Tenacity

Chris Gardner's story is an example of overcoming difficulty. In fact, his tenacity led him to understand the true meaning of happiness.
The Pursuit of Happyness: A Movie About Tenacity
Gema Sánchez Cuevas

Written and verified by the psychologist Gema Sánchez Cuevas.

Last update: 08 February, 2022

Back in the 80s, Chris Gardner was bankrupt. Nevertheless, his story is one of tenacity. Perhaps this is the reason that Gabriele Muccino chose to make his life into a film in 2006, starring Will Smith. As well as the subject in the title, the film addresses other interesting questions. For example, is it possible to achieve  happiness  after losing everything? Or is happiness something you’re destined to seek, but never find?

Synopsis of The Pursuit of Happyness

The scene is San Francisco in 1981. Chris Gardner (Will Smith) is a salesman who, to take a step forward in his career, decides to invest his savings in portable medical scanners. However, his investment leaves him in an extremely precarious position. As a matter of fact, he can’t even cover the most basic of his expenses, because he can’t sell the machines. To complicate the situation, Linda, his wife, is fed up with him building castles in the air and decides to abandon him. She leaves him in charge of their 5-year-old son.

On one of his trips to the city center to try and sell his equipment, Chris meets a manager. He encourages Chris to do an internship at a prestigious stock brokerage firm. This ultimately changes his life forever. Nevertheless, he first must face many other adversities in pursuit of his dream of a better life. In fact, we know that, in real life, Chris Gardner went on to create his own successful stock brokerage company.

Decide what you want


What was his secret?


What does tenacity mean?

They say that a great majority of famous people are famous for their tenacity. This, together with their intelligence, allows them to achieve their goals.

Others suggest that tenacity is a characteristic of the human being. A characteristic that allows you to draw up an action plan to achieve a goal, and to overcome any obstacles and difficulties. In other words, the ability to decide what you want and to persevere until you achieve it. Tenacity is a human strength and we all possess it to a greater or lesser extent.

The best thing about tenacity is that you can increase it. The most important thing is to know what you want and to set yourself a realistic plan of action and a strategy to follow.

Unfortunately, you often set goals that are too complex to achieve in one fell swoop. Or, you give yourself inflexible time frames. For this reason, you might abandon projects halfway through. This makes you feel frustrated and discouraged, which prevents you from moving forward.

Perseverance and patience

These two characteristics go hand in hand with tenacity. Indeed, you should persevere and be patient in everything you do. In addition, value every little step and don’t despair if success is slow to arrive.

After all, the character of Gardner had to lose everything first, to be able to succeed later. To do this, he had to reinvent himself.

What if happiness demands a drastic change in your life?

Nowadays, there are many people who, like the protagonist of the film, have reoriented their working life with good results.

Einstein saw crisis as an opportunity for change and progress

Sometimes, you have to make a decision to either stay anchored in a past that’s making you suffer or to create a new present with meaningful goals.

Either way, you must always celebrate every little step along the way. Furthermore, you need to be flexible and not despair when the results aren’t exactly what you expected. That’s because, to continue moving forward, you must keep learning. We’re not saying that it’ll necessarily be easy. However, if you trust in the benefits of tenacity, you’ll find that, sometimes, the impossible can become possible.


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