How does a homeless father of a son in diapers without a college education go from homeless to a lucrative finance career? Because he put one foot in front of the other, even if it was just a baby step, says Chris.
Chris is physically and emotionally larger than life, yet so humble and real - and laugh-out-loud funny, too. While most would see his circumstances as limiting, he saw things differently. "I chose to embrace the light I saw in my mom, not the darkness I saw in my stepfather," he explains. Although he could have been another statistic, he chose to break the cycle of men who haven't there for their children. "You can't choose your eye color, but you can choose your spirit - the person you want to become."
His discussion was much more than his own story. It was about overcoming adversity of all kinds, tapping into the power within yourself, and writing your own story. He briefly touches on white collar homelessness: about 12% of homeless people have jobs - and in some areas it's as high as 30%. He also says people asked why he didn't give his son to his mother to raise. "That wasn't her baby, that was my baby.
Among his proudest moments: Chris describes how when asked about those early years, his son said, "All I remember was every time I looked up, my father was there." A lot of kids who grew up in mansions can't say that.
Even if you're not a parent, hearing Chris Gardner talk about how to lift yourself up was nothing short of inspiring. And if you have seen "The Pursuit of Happyness," you'll admire him that much more. Either way, do yourself a favor and get to know this incredible man better. View his session here. (Sorry - session isn't up yet - we'll update with a link as soon as it is!)
Chris's latest book is Start Where You Are..."A collection of the essential life lessons I've gathered as I've pursued and realized my goals. It's my attempt to 'pay it forward' to the thousands of people all over the world who have asked me how to achieve their own happyness." Keep an eye out on AARP.org for more from AARP Ambassador Chris Gardner.
Post by Deb Silverberg.
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