Chris Gardner, Homeless to Millionaire
Unhappy with your life? Stuck in a rut? Feeling sorry for yourself? Well, continue to feel these emotions and you will discover that your life will endure the misery. Your life will only change once you make a conscious decision to dig yourself out of your hole. Your present circumstances do not have to equal your future. Change occurs the moment you decide to choose alternative options. You do however, have to be committed to wanting positive change and insist on a better future for you!
Chris Gardner, the Early Years
Chris Gardner as a child lived in poverty, sexual abuse and domestic violence were prevalent alongside alcoholism and family illiteracy. He never knew his biological father and as his mother was unable to support him and his siblings, Gardner was often shuffled between foster homes and relatives. Despite doing well in school, he continued to struggle in life. He enlisted with the US navy for four years, after which time he became employed as a clinical research assistant, the salary however was insufficient to sustain his family. Gardner had a young son and was he determined that he would not desert his son, irrespective of the challenges he had to overcome. Gardner later managed to secure a job as a salesman selling medical equipment.
“It’s ok to fail, it’s not ok to quit.” Chris Gardner
The Turning Point
Gardner still craved more, he aspired to be and do more. The turning point for Gardner came when he saw a man driving a Ferrari. It transpired that the gentleman, Bob Bridges was a stockbroker, earning $80,000 per month. This lifestyle inspired Gardner that he too wanted to become a stockbroker and live the high life. The brief encounter with Bob Bridges was the catalyst for change. Gardner applied to numerous brokerage firms, eventually securing an internship with Dean Witter Reynolds.
The subsequent years still posed unrelenting struggles as Gardner no longer with his partner became homeless, sought food and shelter for his two year old son Christopher and juggled his unpaid internship at Dean Witter Reynolds. During his internship, Gardner found refuge in train station bathrooms or church shelters. He survived selling medical equipment and yet his colleagues were completely unaware of his struggles.
“I was homeless but I wasn’t hopeless. I knew a better day was coming.” Chris Gardner
Nevertheless, despite Gardner’s lack of the basic necessities, he put in the hours at his internship, making 200 calls each day and eventually passed the required exams securing a position as an employee at Dean Witter Reynolds. Gardner later obtained employment as a stockbroker with the San Francisco based organisation, Bear Stearns and Company where he became the top earner.
A New Future
In 1987 Gardner started his own business Gardner Rich and Co with a small investment of $10,000 dollars, working from his apartment. The decision paid off and in 2006, Gardner sold his business for several million dollars. Despite his early struggles and being a single parent for 25 years, Gardner is now a millionaire, successful entrepreneur, motivational speaker and supports various charities and initiatives assisting with the well-being of children. Gardner’s story of being homeless to successful stockbroker became a Hollywood movie, ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’ in which Will Smith starred as Chris Gardner.
Gardner never let go of his dream of a fulfilling career and was willing to do whatever it took, even if it meant sleeping in train station bathrooms, being penniless. He found his passion and persevered. With every decision the foundation was being established for monumental change, however at the time, his future was unknown, yet he endured until success was at his doorstep.