Wednesday, 8 February 2017

The Pursuit of Happyness

My recent posts have had the strong theme of self improvement and in particular, taking control of your own life; realising that we can achieve great things if we make a bigger effort. We live in an age where it's never been easier to make money, become successful and do whatever we want with our lives. Most of you reading this will be living in a democratic (roughly), developed nation with freedom for its citizens and access to the internet and so there is no excuse for not being able to attain what you desire. If you read that and thought "You can't say that, you don't know me, you don't know my circumstances, you don't know how hard that is for me" then I urge you to watch the film "The Pursuit of Happyness" starring Will Smith.

I'm not a film buff and very rarely will I sit through an entire two hour movie, as the vast majority that come out of Hollywood are, in my opinion, terrible. But occasionally, once every year or two, I see something that resonates with me on a deep level and none more so than "The Pursuit of Happyness". Yeah I know, it's 10 years old and you've probably already seen it - as I said, hardly ever watch them! But for those of you thinking that what I have said about having "no excuse" is bullshit, I suggest you re-visit this film and re-evaluate your life.

The film is based on the real life story of American Chris Gardner, who decided to give up his job as a struggling salesman to train to become a stock-broker at one of America's biggest stock-brokerage firms, Dean Witter (which eventually merged into Morgan Stanley). I won't spoil the story for you but basically, he trained for no pay in the hope he'd be taken on, whilst at the same time having to look after his toddler son by himself. They ended up homeless yet he still went to work for no pay every day. You can guess what eventually happened - it's Hollywood, it's a happy ending! But more than was shown in the film, he became a multi-millionaire, building his own brokerage empire and is now a world re-knowned speaker and philanthropist. What Chris had to go through with his son and the effort he put in to get what he wanted are a lesson in what can be achieved when you want something badly enough and take action.


I was recommended this film by a guy I barely know who, having heard about my trading experiences, thought I would enjoy it. Little did I realise what an effect it would have on me. I don't mind admitting that I was blubbing my eyes out! I occasionally get a little wet around the eyes during emotional dramas but this was NEXT  LEVEL water-works! Once the tears started, I couldn't shut them off, no matter how hard I tried! Luckily, I was watching alone, it was quite an embarrassing sight. Something about this movie really got to me, really struck a chord. I think the fact Chris was a stock-broker (so a similar line of work to trading) and that we both were struggling financially but just took a chance, knowing we might fail - well, you can see the similarities.  Knowing that we had to take a risk and that we could be in more trouble but believing that we would succeed. Working over and above what the average person would do and then to be rewarded in excess of what we ever expected. Of course, I'm not trying to say I'm anywhere near to the level of distress Chris was in, having a child to take care of and being out on the street, but it still resonated with me. It bought up a lot of memories of my own struggle to pay bills and the sincere threat that I might not be able to pay the rent and those emotions needed to come out, I think.

What this man showed, and what he talks about in his speeches around the world, is that no matter what your current circumstances, there is always a way out. If you take responsibility and stop blaming others or feeling sorry for yourself or complaining that you don't have enough time or enough money or resources to get the life you want, then you can achieve anything.  "The Pursuit of Happyness" shows what it means to be a REAL man. And besides the grim reality of homelessness and how sad it is that even in the richest nation on Earth, so many people have no roof over their head, the film has a message of hope at its core. I wish I'd seen it years ago when I was almost down and out. What I take from it now is that I can achieve even more with my life, which is why this year, I'm really stepping it up with my non-trading projects to create multiple income streams. Long term readers will know that trading has never been a passion of mine but I'm now venturing into areas which genuinely make me smile when I get up in the morning. None of them would have been possible if it weren't for me taking that chance on tennis trading though - just as Chris Gardner took a chance with stock-brokering.

If there's one thing I want to leave this blog with, it's the knowledge that if you want something badly enough, if you take a risk and go for it, if you have faith that it will work out and if you push yourself to the limit of your capabilities, you have the power within you to achieve an incredible life. The universe has a strange way of providing you with what you want when you really apply yourself. More and more people are waking up to this now (just have a search around YouTube if you don't believe me), particularly the younger generation. If someone had told me 6 years ago when I started this blog that I would have the life I have now, I would have spat my Ben and Jerrys right back in their face! But I kept going, mostly through fear and trial and error! It doesn't have to be that way though. Fear motivates you like nothing else but it's much better to start from a good place and don't do it alone; get help any way you can (books, videos, guides, mentors), be patient, create good habits, work on yourself and NEVER GIVE UP. Then true happiness won't be too far away.