Chris Gardner, Real Life Star Of ‘Pursuit Of Happyness Visits Bowie State


The pursuit of Wisdom from Chris Gardner


The name Chris Gardner should ring a bell from the classic film ‘Pursuit Of Happyness starring Will Smith who played Mr. Gardner. He stopped by Maryland HBCU and spoke words of wisdom to the crowd. His background story was a little different from the film but nether-less his inspiring trails and tribulations to go along with class had the audience in awe. He spoke about extended family. “You have no choice of your blood family but choice of extended family. You’re a product of your environment.You either perpetuate abuse or halt it,” Gardner said has he went to bring awareness to the crowd that we are who we surround ourselves with. 

We can not be the best us with having the right people around us.  Choices were another key point in tonight’s speech. “Choices for your 20-30s are made during your childhood,” he said and the audience was speechless. A simple friendship made as a kid could benefit you down the road twenty years later.  He also spoke about a new book he is writing, ‘New vision of the american dream: The other 1 percent.’ The premise of the book is other 1 percent who he stated as “folks who got the generational transfer of the american dream – you can do or be anything (permission to dream).” He is a incredible author and now we have a preview for is next book. However, he spoke of the book ‘Pursuit of Happyness, which the film was based off. 

Scene he showed the audience from the film ‘Pursuit Of Happyness’

It was not his idea to write the book pursuit of happyness due to open honesty. One night ten years ago, he was  getting a award, and multiple people were citing problems with generational wealth that he did not agree with because he came from the struggle. No positive outcomes. Gardner accepted his award and spoke his mind about this issue while accepting the award. James Earl Jones approached him after and told him “yes a lot of it is” Then he wrote the book and it became world famous.

Maya Angelou helped with the process of his current journey and left him with this quote, (Which I paraphrased) “Mr Gardner, do you understand that book wasn’t about you and it wasn’t about, it was about every father that wasn’t about to be a mother and vice versa. It was about the dreamer out there doing whatever it takes to achieve a dream.” 


His mother word at his current age of  63 years old,  inspires him this day! her name was Betty Jean Triplett, and just her smile alone would make him feel wonderful. “Son had had to so so much for so little for so long! I can do anything,” she told him and those words motivated him to triumph all the struggles he has been through in life. She taught him that love was more important than money and being strong for his children, In his own words, “Never about money but a love story! About being a father to his son,” has the crowd clapping vigorously. His mother also instilled work ethic into him. 

“If you want to own the team, go to the library. If you want to go make the team, go to the gym,” she said to him one night as he was watching basketball wishing to be an athlete. he never thought he could be a millionaire until she told him he can do anything he sets his mind to. In his own words, “Quincy Jones said best singing he ever heard he ever heard at practice! Practice builds champions.” Another motivation he has is being the best him he can be and number one in his filed. “MLK  said whatever you go do in your life, you should to become the best at it. Become world class at whatever you do with your life ! If your not mentioned the best in your business, you got work to do. Understand that the ultimate validation of your work effort is when somebody who doesn’t like you says you’re the best in your filed,” said Mr. Gardner. 


Will Smith even told him that playing him was harder than playing Ali. Will Smith literally studied Gardner tirelessly until he got the role down perfect. The film was shot with the end scene first when Chris got the job and that is when Will really picked up on Chris’s mannerisms. Chris had praise for Will Smith’s performance.

He also said stick with plan and A and have passion for your craft. he was adamant that you can have all of the talent, expertise, and skill in the world but if you don’t have passion, you won’t make it. He said, “Start where you are at because the best plan As are clear, concise, compelling, consistent, and committed. Be so committed to your dream plan A. Realize that your Plan B sucks and you have to reach plan A no matter what.” he inspires us to dream and in his words “Permission to dream – you can do and be anything.” He graced Bowie State with many gems and I’m personally grateful! He told me “Be the best you!” Inspiring me to build my legacy even more, and he told me he’ll see me again one day. I’m more inspired now and it was a pleasure to cover the event and speak with him. 

Chris Gardner greets me, TheDMVDaily CEO Livengoodlivin and we have a discussion

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