Is ‘Happyness’ correct?
The word ‘happyness’ is the line of difference between being happy, and the state of happyness — in the first scenes of the movie, we see that the grammatically incorrect (yet deliberate) title comes from the wall of a daycare center. Chris Gardner, our protagonist, tries to correct it to avoid his son from learning the wrong spellings.
However, there truly is no why in happiness.
Based on a true story, Chris Gardner faces life at the apex of it’s difficulty — after being left by his wife, becoming evicted, and working jobs despite being unpaid, we have no choice but to root for him. It seems that through this development, it seems to be one hardship after another; where does the happyness come in?
To the naked eye, the misspelling of the word ‘happyness’ could have been a marketing ploy to stand out, or even an ‘easter egg’ for his son Christopher. Within the direction of this story, every detail counts! The title tells us that a perfect happyness is unattainable, but our pursuit of it is a matter of constant work, effort and strength through times that seem like forever.
What makes this movie stick?
All hard work equates to success.
“Walk that walk and go forward all the time.”
- An old adage tells us that it is our attitude that determines desired outcome; when Chris loses close to everything, he finds necessity in working his way out. The challenges we face, irrespective of what they will do to us, will only waver when we do something about it.
We receive everything we want when we do everything we can.
“I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.”
- No movie feels complete without a happy ending, and this one contains an ending that is well-earned. Once accepted at his paid brokerage job, he finally has something to return to — only that he does not question his efforts, and allows it to speak volumes for itself.
Protect your dreams! The failure of others shouldn’t lead to yours.
“When people can’t do something themselves, they’re gonna tell you that you can’t do it.”
- Coming to our peers with the promises of ‘going pro’ or going after my dreams’ may result in gut-wrenching discouragement. In the movie, Chris’ wife thought his internships were a waste of time. Not only does he stay unfazed, but manages to make it out!
Life is hard, but it is not always about hardship.
“Probably means there’s a good chance. Possibly means we might or we might not.”
- Most of Chris’ appeal lies to his constant pursuit for a better life; a patient approach to our challenges earns a rightful break. Once all you can do is done, there is no other choice but for us to wait. The future is ambiguous, so doing our part and letting the rest fall into place is the best we can do.
This part is called…
After tasting the bitter humiliation life throws at him, Chris finds his share of the ‘American Dream’ — it becomes his share of happiness.
Contrary from what the title shows us, happiness does not happen without ‘I’. Under a state of absolute bliss, your happiness is only dependent on what you have done to achieve it. Life can suck us down to the bottom and make us stay there — what matters does not lie in how the rest of the world believes in you, but how you believe in you.
Happiness is spelled with an ‘I’.
Choices to make
Happiness and fulfillment comes to us in the blink of an eye, and we only experience it as such. Therefore, the way we encounter the remaining portions of our lives determine how we handle happiness as well. Just like Chris, we will eventually encounter:
- Losing what we hold dear
- Being unable to live the way we wanted to
- Falling short of expectations
The high-paying jobs and flashy homes mean nothing without the time and effort it takes to reach them — Chris Gardner goes through one struggle after another, and it is the choice to keep going that allows him to make it. Just because we haven’t got it all figured out, it doesn’t mean we never will!
For the rest of how we get through the road ahead of us, we chase after it.
- “The Pursuit of Happyness (2006).” IMDb, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0454921/mediaviewer/rm350946304/.
- “The Pursuit of Happyness Trailer [HQ].” Youtube, MoviemanTrailers, 25 Aug. 2013, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89Kq8SDyvfg.