“The future was uncertain, absolutely, and there were many hurdles, twists, and turns to come, but as long as I kept moving forward, one foot in front of the other, the voices of fear and shame, the messages from those who wanted me to believe that I wasn’t good enough, would be stilled.”
– Chris Gardner, The Pursuit of Happyness
I made it halfway through the second week of my fourth term for graduate school at Walden University. I think I’m back into the groove of things (i.e., reading chapters from text books and articles and watching video segments per class; writing online discussion posts, responses to classmates’ discussion posts, and 3 to 4 page application assignments per class). I can’t believe that my one year anniversary of enrolling at Walden to pursue my master’s degree in mental health counseling will arrive in December. I am so proud of my decision to change careers and it has been an enlightening experience. I’m having so much fun learning and studying counseling. I wish I could have gone back in time and to
change my undergraduate major from accounting to counseling because I really missed out. If only I weren’t obsessed with being Gordon Gekko almost twenty-five years ago, but what’s done is done. There’s no need to complain and I’m moving forward with my life.
I’m taking two courses online this term: Lifespan Development and Assessments in
Counseling and Education. The former is somewhat challenge since it focuses more upon learning about psychology than counseling. Last week, I had to write a discussion post assignment where I had to select a famous person and compose a brief biography and discuss psychological constructs about his or her development. I chose Chris Gardner, founder and CEO of Gardner Rich, LLC, and the author of The Pursuit of Happyness. I
saw the film adaptation of The Pursuit of Happyness starring Will Smith five years ago. I read the book afterwards and felt fortunate that I did not do so before I saw the movie. The movie did not do Mr. Gardner’s memoir justice, which I find to be the case with most films
adapted from print.
I reread Mr. Gardner’s memoir and felt amazed about the tremendous odds he overcame to achieve financial prosperity and entrepreneurship through his determination to be successful like I did five years ago. His encounter with a stockbroker inspires him to pursue similar aspirations without having the proper training and education in his late twenties. Also, he faces the added pressures of being a homeless, single parent to his son, Chris, Jr., as he attempts to raise his child and find temporary shelter without being able to afford to do so. How many individuals would be able to succeed in this task given Mr. Gardner’s circumstances? Maybe it’s the avid reader in me that loved learning about and feeling inspired about the tremendous odds he overcame from his difficult childhood, which was filled with negative circumstances like poverty, domestic violence, alcoholism, and abuse from his stepfather? Maybe it’s the enthusiastic writer in me that enjoyed studying his writing style about how he was able to recall and put into words his experiences and memories to hold someone’s interest?
I wish I had read The Pursuit of Happyness last year when I was writing the first draft of my memoir, In the End. It’s one of those books that, in my opinion, should be required reading for individuals to study if they desire to pursue their dreams. Sometimes people encounter adversity that makes them want to throw their hands up and quit when things get tough. Believe me, I’ve been there myself. Rereading Mr. Gardner’s memoir made me reflect upon some negative circumstances in my life that prohibited me from accomplishing my goals. Most importantly, it also made me think about moments when I felt uncertain about pursuing my literary endeavors and ready to abandon them due to fear. There are some sentences and paragraphs that are inspirational like the one above. I don’t think Mr. Gardner intended for this to happen, but I do recognize inspiration when I see it. I added this one to my journal along with some of my personal favorite quotes
from other individuals that inspire and motivate me. Hmmm, maybe one day I’ll share some of them in a future blog. That’s not a bad idea, but that may take a minute or an hour since I have so many to choose from!
Take care and be blessed!