No life is ever perfect. Everyone goes through all kinds of hardships. These hardships come to people through circumstance, chance, and mistakes. No one can ever avoid having problems, although some people seem to have a relatively easier time handling them.
Others, however, seem like their life is perfectly imperfect, never having a moment’s respite from all the suffering. Whenever a motivational speaker says “you can do anything if you set your mind to it”, these are the people who immediately question the validity of that statement. Of course you can, provided you have some money and people to help you. How about the ones without any of those? How about the ones who were born into poor, broken families in poverty-stricken areas, the ones who have never had access to large amounts of money or high quality education? It would be very hard to listen to a motivational speaker talk about rising from poverty without experiencing it to an extreme degree.
It’s a good thing people like Chris Gardner exist.
Born in 1954 to a broken family, Chris Gardner is a very fine example of the rags-to-riches trope that is all the rage in motivational speaking.
His childhood was difficult from the start. His father was living far away from them, and his stepfather was an abusive man who took to beating up his mother and his siblings. He’s been to foster care several times, both times because his mother had been in jail. During that time though, he met and became close with his uncle Henry. Henry became the much-needed father figure in Chris’s life, but apparently even that was too much of a good thing because after a year, Henry died from drowning.
Once again left without a father figure, Chris took his mother’s advice to heart, and he adapted a lifestyle of self-reliance because, according to his mother, “You can only depend on yourself.”
Not only did he experience a traumatizing childhood along with discrimination, he also went through marital problems, and it resulted in an affair, an illegitimate son, and a divorce.
He became a research lab assistant, which was decent but was not paying enough for him to support his girlfriend and his son. He took a job selling medical equipment, and life for Chris became good for a while. He was determined to succeed, and when a man with a red Ferrari told him about being a stockbroker, Chris put his sales aside to try and become one. He got accepted to a training program with E.F. Hutton, and he quit his sales job to focus on that.
Once again, that was too good to be true for Chris because when he showed up for work, he discovered that the manager who hired him had gotten fired, which meant that his job acceptance was invalidated. Things just went downhill from there. His girlfriend left him and took their son, and he was jailed for having a debt of $1,200 due to unpaid parking tickets. He became a trainee with no experience, no salary, and no family.
Then came the homelessness. Chris was only starting to piece his life back together with a job and a small salary when his ex-girlfriend came back and left their son with him. The rooming house he was staying in did not allow children, leaving him and his son without a home.
The most amazing thing about Chris is that he did not let that stop him. He did not abandon his son, and instead he worked his head off trying to constantly find new places in which they could stay, even just for a night at a time. He didn’t allow the poverty, the injustice of his life and his unfortunate circumstances to ruin his life and his son’s chance for a future, and look where he is now.
CEO, stockbroker, motivational speaker. He is also a philanthropist, an author and an investor. His life even became the basis of a movie!
A lot of people think that rags-to-riches stories are exaggerated, or too farfetched to be real. That’s not true. Yes, it is hard, but like Chris Gardner has proven, you don’t really need money or education or supporters to start. All you need to do is become a motivational speaker to yourself, and maybe someday you could be motivating millions of people too.
When selecting your motivational speaker, consider that you are not only paying for the time the speaker is on the platform but also for the hours spent researching, preparing and customizing the presentation, and you will get this at motivational-speaker-success.com.