Focus & The Pursuit of Happyness

Last Update: October 25, 2019

Are you focusing on things you can control?

On Wednesday night, I watched the movie "In Pursuit of Happyness" for the second time.

The first time in my life I watched it , I must have been at a point in life where I was comfortable. I recalled the movie as a somewhat motivational, feel good movie about someone that beat the odds and succeeded despite a lot of hardships.

My life has changed a lot since the movie first came out. Without going into the gory details, let us just say that I am no longer comfortable and content.

So, this time, I watched the movie from a different vantage point. This time, I found it to be extremley educational and motivational. This time, I noticed that the movie is full of lessons for those of us that are struggling to succeed. These lessons are especially applicable to person that are starting or growing any type of business that involves sales.

The movie shows what is possible IF:

1. You focus on what is most important at any given moment.

2. You focus on what you can control.

3. You manage your time


The main character is Chris Gardener. He is played by Will Smith. He has a LOT of challenges. His problems get progressively worse throughout most of the movie. Yet, if we watch closely we will see that the way he responds to his challenges changes. His focus changes.

In the first half of the movie, Chris Gardener is focusing on things that he can not control. He is focusing on things that are not that important.

For example, one of the things that bothered him a lot at the beginning of the movie "Happiness" is misspelled on the sign outside of his son's daycare.

On the sign, happiness is spelled with a Y. It is spelled, "Happyness."

I think there were at least three scenes that show him talking about being frustrated about the way happiness is spelled on that sign.

I had never noticed it before, but the movie's title is spelled the way it was shown on the sign. The movie's title is "IN PURSUIT of HAPPYNESS."

As the movie progresses, he stops focusing on what he can not control. He starts focusing on getting a job where the people seem to be happy. Happiness is what he wants for himself and his son.

He starts focusing on what he can control. By the end of the movie, he doesn't even look at the sign anymore. His focus shifted to his pursuit of happiness.

He focused on what he needed to be doing to become happier. More successful.

He sought to:

1. Be as productive with his time as possible. For example, when he is at the office calling prospects, he does not hang up the phone between calls. He figured that saved him 8 minutes each day.

2. He did not drink water or coffee while at the office because that saved him from unnecessary trips to the bathroom. He needed every minute at the office to count since he could not spend as much time there as the others because he had a young son to care for.

3. He was still willing to help others, without complaining, because he knew that relationships count. Especially in sales. He was reliable.

4. He stopped wasting time feeling sorry for himself. He stopped regretting what happened in the past. He stopped worrying about the sign outside the day care.

5. He didn't let his circumstances dictate his actions. He focused on what was most important at any given moment.

  • He still went to his interview even though he was not dressed appropriately because he had to spend the night in jail.
  • When he lost a shoe, he still returned to work.
  • Even though he was poor, broke and homeless; he was still willing to help the "rich people" to the best of his ability.

In the end, he succeeded. This movie made me realize that I have not been trying hard enough. My focus is off. I am not managing my time properly.

What about you?

Are you focusing on what is important? The things that you can control? Are you doing things that will make you happy?

Alternatively, are you wasting your time being aggravated that someone else made a spelling mistake?

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EHozubin Premium
SondraM - Very good post and a good reminder to all. Wishing you the best on your restart.
SondraM Premium
Thank you Edward. I hope you have a great, productive weekend.
David960 Premium
I have struggled reading posts, I tend to focus on spelling errors and grammar mistakes. Now I just read through them looking at the message presented. I can't control the mistakes, but I can learn from the message.

Yes, great movie. I might need to watch it again. The message maybe different now, many years since I watched it.

SondraM Premium
It is hard to over look the errors sometimes.

I hope that you get a chance to re-watch the movie. When the going gets tough, It could possibly help keep you motivated with your online business.

Best wishes.
Twack Premium
I have recently watched this also. Gritty with plenty for us all to take from it. Excellent reminder.
SondraM Premium
Well said Twack!

Had I had the challenges that he had, I would have failed with my current mindset. No, I can't go into an interview dressed like this..... No, I can't go to work missing a shoe....

I hope that you have a great weekend.
Twack Premium
Thank you Sondra, you too.
One last thing that struck me about the character, was his humility. No matter how down trodden he was.
SondraM Premium
Very true!
RHattaway Premium
Very timely and inspiring!
SondraM Premium
I am glad that it was a timely message for you also. I hope you have a great weekend.
udaraduminda Premium
Thank you for sharing nice idea.
SondraM Premium
You are very welcome. I hope that you are able to achieve much success in all that you do.