21 October, 2008
The Pursuit of Happyness
The long weekend (Including Kenyatta day on 20 October) gave me an opportunity to catch up on movies that i hardly get time to see.I must say of all Will Smith's movies none has captured my attention and emotions such as Will Smith's 2006 movie entitled "The Pursuit of Happyness"(I haven't misspelled the title!).
The movie is inspired by the life story of Chris Gardner(Gardner Rich & Co.Stock Brokers)...a real person and self made millionaire,entrepreneur,motivational speaker and Philanthropist who struggled against all odds to set up his own brokerage firm.(Chris Gardner)
His life mirrors that of many of us in third world countries who face uneven odds against them and have to tirelessly work out sometimes taking up jobs that are not worth our education or potential just to make ends meet!
My heart goes out to the more than 300,000 secondary students who are beginning their Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education(KCSE) and of whom only 10,000 will manage to secure places in the public universities .A majority of those who will attend universities will end up doing courses that they did not choose or have no interest in pursuing! A first degree in Kenya in many instances is much more like an identity card serves no purpose except as a basic requirement for consideration of a job vacancy.Many banks hire graduate as clerks or interns notwithstanding the course they have done and often on minimum salary!
In the movie Chris Gardner(played by Will Smith) is inherently a smart guy but ends up being thrown off his house alongside his son Christopher Jnr(played by will Smiths son Jaden Smith....quite an impressive actor!) because of non failure of paying rent thereby becoming homeless but not hopeless.Chris Garner was forced to secure daily shelter at Glide Memorial United Methodist Church Shelter while attending a non paid internship.His big break comes when he is recruited for a non paid internship at Dean Witter Reynolds, a stock brokerage firm where his impressive performance, determination and sale skills earns him his first well paying job!He arrived at the office early and stayed late each day, persistently making calls to prospective clients with his goal being 200 calls/day,he avoided taking office coffee thus spent less time going to the Gents. His perseverance paid off when, in 1982, Gardner passed his licensing exam on the first try and came into the full employ of the firm. What a movie !
The things that some of us have to do in pursuit of happiness are just enthralling.Reminds me of my dad who left his village on the shores of lake Victoria with the knowledge that he was coming to look for work and the only person he knew in Nairobi was a distant cousin.His first night he had to spend outside in the cold and woke up early the next day to go to the labour bureau. Against all odds he got work as Government clerk and worked his way up until he was a Chief Executive Officer at the Kenyan Treasury .His desire to excel saw him attending a number of courses at Harvard and i find that to be quite impressive.At my age he had much more than i have and i am moved to reflect on what i can do to be more than i am ! 'In pursuit of happiness 'im sure most of us have gone through a lot to be where we are and the stories may just be so touching and interesting.....determination and zeal are worthy qualities along that road!