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RESILIENCE: “People can't do something themselves, they want to tell you that you can't do it. You want something? Go get it.”

Movie quote from: The Pursuit of Happyness (2006) – Chris Gardner (Will Smith)

HappynessThe Pursuit of Happyness is a film about the value of resilience.  While playing basketball with his son, Chris Gardner (as played by Will Smith) tells his son to forget basketball and do something useful.  Realizing the mistake of what he just said, Chris tells his son, “Don't ever let someone tell you, you can't do something. Not even me.”  He wants his son to know what he knows, that a persistent pursuit of your own dreams is the best way to bring a sense of happiness to your life.

Resilience is the ability to keep going when things get difficult.  It is the ability to ‘bounce back’ when faced with life’s difficulties.  Resilient people persist when others pack it in.  It is the key skill to success – good old grunt work.  You differentiate yourself when you’re tough and committed to whatever you have set out to accomplish.  You’re the last person standing.  The majority hope to achieve independence by purchasing lottery tickets.  Resilient people create their own freedom.

Will Smith portrays resilience without glamorizing it.  His character isn’t perfect; he struggles with his continuous failures.  But he is mentally tough.  He gets up every morning and starts again.  The most powerful metaphor for his resilience is his dogged commitment to selling a bunch of high priced scanners that he has pre-purchased with his life savings.  Faced with selling a Cadillac product into a VW market, Gardner persists in a sea of rejection until he finds a buyer for every one of the machines.  This is the cold truth that grain-fed people don’t want to hear – in most cases, financial and emotional success is earned one hard day at a time.   

Every one of us has been told by someone that our dreams were unattainable, inappropriate, or just plain silly.  Some of us believed those people and went another way.  Others were more committed to their personal goals.  Gardner’s advice to his son is something we all ought to remember, “You got a dream, you got to protect it.  People can’t do something themselves, they want to tell you that you can’t do it.  You want something?  Go get it.”  

You cannot know if your dream life can be attained.  You have to pursue it to find out.  It is the resilient pursuit of a meaningful dream that sets the table for those moments of great “happy-ness” when they arrive.  A resilient approach to life is something everyone can do.  It just takes a deeper need to succeed.  Is it in you?

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