Episode 015- Chris Gardner, His Pursuit of Happyness


SHOW NOTES- Chris Gardner and His Pursuit of Happyness


60 sec pre show roll: Jayson Narag Debt-Free Coaching


15 sec pre show roll: Audible

NaRagstoRiches Show Episode 15 is brought to you by Audible! Get a FREE audiobook download and a FREE 30-day membership at naragstoriches.com/audible. Audible has over 180,000 titles to choose from for your iPhone, Android, Kindle or mp3 player.



  • Welcome to the NaRagsToRICHES Show! Inspiring you to start writing your own rags to riches story, do work you love and make more money!
  • This is Jayson Narag, your host, broadcasting from the NaRagstoRiches Studios.
  • Thank you so much for hanging out today! I’m glad you’re listening.
  • Is life going the way you want it to go?
  • If it is, that’s great! Good job! If not, I have another question for you? What are you doing to make it go the way you want it to? If you’re in a job you hate or there’s something you want to do in the future, let me give you some hope on the show today.
  • Today, I’m going to talk about someone who I’m very excited to talk about. I was really excited to learn about him and his story. His name is Chris Gardner.
  • If his name doesn’t ring a bell, he’s the person the movie, “The Pursuit of Happyness” is based on.
  • If you haven’t seen that movie, it’s very inspirational and a tear jerker at times. I’m not going to admit that I cried watching that movie because I’m a dude! Dudes don’t cry!
  • I remember when I watched the movie, a lot of it was taped in San Francisco, where I’m from originally, I knew the exact places in the background like the BART subway station where they were running and the shelter, one of the motels they stayed at was directly across from my first church, Calvary Baptist Church.
  • If this guy, Chris Gardner can make it, you can too and I can too!
  • You can do this! You don’t have to feel stuck in a job!
  • You can do what you want to do professionally, whether it’s a job you want or a business you want to get into. You can do it!
  • I don’t buy into people saying you have to stick with what you’re doing because you have to pay your bills and you have to wait for your opportunities to come.
  • Look, opportunities come up for people who are doing something not for people who are waiting on them.
  • Are you waiting for your opportunity? You’re going to waiting a long time, my friend! It’s not going to come up just by chance.
  • Go out there and do something and the opportunities will come.
  • Look, I’m afraid to fail and so is everyone else. What is it that makes some people take chances and other people not? It’s called, “Fear.”
  • Fear will stop you from trying and you’ll always be average.
  • The people that have rags to riches stories like Chris Gardner are those who punch fear in the face and if they fail, they’re ok with it. They just move on to the next thing; the next project.
  • That’s the thing with being an entrepreneur, yes you’re scared to fail, but more than being afraid to fail, you should be more afraid NOT to try.
  • If you fail, what’s the worst thing that happens, nothing. You learn some lessons and you move on.
  • Look, you just have to be successful at one thing.
  • You can fail at a hundred different things, but people don’t remember the failures, they remember the success. If you can be successful at one thing, you’re successful!
  • Forget about the money part of things, it’s not about the money. Money comes and goes. Money will come with success.
  • Ultimately, God is the One that decides who becomes wealthy and who doesn’t.
  • I’m going to work hard, make a difference in people’s lives the best way I know how and if I become successful and wealthy in business, great! If I don’t, great!
  • You can be successful doing work that matters to you. Find what you’re interested in. Something you’d do for free. See if you can make a business out of it on the side by learning how to sell, then go do it.
  • At the end of your life, when you look back, will it matter what your job was? No matter how high-paying your job may be, you’re going to leave it behind. Your current employer is going to give that job to someone else.
  • What about a business? You’re going to leave that one behind too, but the difference is, your family will benefit from a business.
  • You get to pass a business on to another generation. If your children don’t want to run it, they can sell it and be in a good place financially.
  • The last few people I’ve talked about on this show and Truett Cathy, Sam Walton and now Chris Gardner, they all get to pass either the business they started or the money they were able to save up.
  • A business is a cash cow, my friends!
  • As long as you do the work upfront and build it up to a certain point. If you can get it to be profitable, it’ll produce cash for you and others, It’ll provide jobs. You may or may not have to work in it. Whatever you choose.
  • If it’s a self-employed business, it’s really a job you own.
  • A true business is one where you can hire out every position and after all salaries and after all operational expenses are paid, there’s still money left over.


  • Please sign up for the NaRagstoRiches Newsletter by filling out the form on naragstoriches.com. This newsletter will be of value to you. I will be giving my best tips to support you on your journey to be debt-free, increase your income and start your own rags to riches story.
  • Please complete a review of the NaRagstoRiches Show on iTunes or any of the podcast platforms you listen on. Your reviews will help me to know what I’m doing that you like and to continue improving as a podcaster.
  • If you’re deep in debt and you want to get out of debt without paying thousands to a debt settlement company or to a bankruptcy lawyer, email me at jndebtfreecoach@gmail.com to see if debt free coaching may be the right fit for you.


“Baby steps count as long as you’re going forward.”

-Chris Gardner



The person whose rags to riches story we’re talking about today is… Chris Gardner

(Quick facts)

  • He has a current net worth of $60 million.
  • We’re going to talk about his story because it is so inspirational.
  • He’s still very active in his community and among non-profit organizations serving communities around the United States.
  • Today, he assists homeless families in keeping them together and homeless people who are employed. He’s dedicated his career as a motivational speaker traveling everywhere to inspire people to reach their full potential.

Facts about Chris Gardner

  • Born on February 9, 1954 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
  • Chris Gardner never knew his dad as a child and his childhood was marked by poverty, domestic violence, illiteracy and other very negative experiences that no child should ever have to face in their childhood.
  • He credits his mother, Bettye Jean Triplett with his success because at a very early age, she instilled in him that no matter what his upbringing and background, he can take a different direction and reach whatever goals he set. That’s exactly the message of the NaRagstoRiches Show!
  • Gardner joined the Navy where he met a cardiac surgeon, who offered him a job assisting him in clinical research in San Francisco.
  • After serving his country, he moved to San Francisco and found some success in the medical field as a lab assistant with a dream of becoming a physician.
  • After four years he quit that job and went into medical sales which doubled his salary.
  • Later, Gardner decided to give up his dream of being a physician to pursue a career   that would not only be lucrative, but fulfilling to him.
  • This is where a lot of people go wrong.
  • Most people, even poor people do jobs and careers just for the money.
  • They’re solely motivated by money and it shouldn’t be that way.
  • Earning a lot of money makes life a little easier, but in the long run, if you don’t like what you do for a living, one day you’re going to look back at your life and most of it would’ve been used doing something you didn’t even like. What a waste of a life.
  • Most people will have regret when it comes to their career choices because our time is the most valuable, not money. Money will come and go, but once you use up your time, it’s gone forever. You can’t get more time.
  • Money controls a lot of people.
  • It makes it to where you can’t do what you want to do with your life and you’ll waste money on a lot of different things sometimes to cope with how much you don’t like how your life is going.
  • Before long you’re deep in debt and you’re stuck working a job you don’t like.
  • Your options become limited in what you do with your life and career path.
  • Story: I was reading in the book Cash Flow Quadrant that Robert Kiyosaki was talking to an old friend at a reunion. The person was very bitter and hated his job. When Kiyosaki asked him why he didn’t do something else, his response was, “My daughter is going to start college soon.” His reason was that he had to earn a guaranteed amount of money to pay for his daughter’s tuition. The guy died a few short years later before his daughter graduated from college.
  • Hey, it’s possible he died sooner than he should have because he was so miserable in his career choice and his financial situation made it to where he felt like he could not make a career change. That’s what he thought. That’s what he felt.
  • The point is, life choices and career choices can affect your life very positively or negatively.
  • In the end, you only have one life, so your decisions have to be that much more important to you.
  • Gardner worked a couple jobs in the medical supply industry before deciding to get into the finance industry.

The Turning Point

  • The turning point for Gardner came when he was on a sales call to San Francisco General Hospital where he met a well-dressed professional driving a Ferrari. He asked the man what he did for a living and the man said that he was a stockbroker.
  • Later in his life, Gardner went on to buy a Ferrari from none other than Michael Jordan.
  • Gardner later met with the man in the Ferrari. The man introduced him to the world of finance and branch managers from stock brokerage firms that offered training programs.
  • Without a college degree or a masters in business, a training program was his way in.
  • The thing is these training programs paid little to nothing.
  • So, he gets accepted to a training program at E.F. Hutton. He quits his job and shows up for his first day to find out the hiring manager that hired him had gotten fired the week before.
  • In this process, his child’s mother left him. Gardner fought to keep his son. Gardner said,  “I made up my mind as a young kid that when I had children they were going to know who their father is, and that he isn’t going anywhere.”
  • He then earns a spot in Dean Witter Reynolds training program, but became homeless as the program offered no salary resulting in him not being able to meet his living expenses.
  • This was the year he and his toddler son were homeless. His son said that he never realized he was homeless. He thought they were just always on the move. They stayed in cheap motels, on the streets, on a park benches, subway station bathrooms, a church shelter wherever they could to survive.
  • After the training program, he was able to pass the Series 7 exam on his first try and became a stockbroker.
  • He was then recruited by Bear Stearns, an investment banking company from 1983-1987 becoming a top salesperson.
  • In 1987, Gardner left Bear Stearns and took the risk of going out on his own to start Gardner Rich LLC out of his home for $10,000.
  • That business is a broker-dealer specializing in servicing public pension funds and Taft-Hartley plans. It’s also expanded in a couple other areas in the markets.
  • If you’re asking what all that is, I have no idea. I would think the pension funds, that’s the government employee-type pensions, which are very abundant.
  • He has a net worth of $60 million, so it had to have been a profitable business.
  • Because of his story becoming a movie, I’m sure he gets a small cut there.
  • When you have a story, books are part of the deal as well. He has an autobiography with the same title as the movie, The Pursuit of Happyness, which became a New York Times and Washington Post bestseller spending 20 weeks as a New York Times Bestseller and translated into over 40 languages. There you go!
  • That’s simply inspirational!
  • Here’s a guy who pays the price. Worked some jobs, was a failure in people’s eyes, changed his life by using the brain God gave him.
  • He works hard, some opportunities come up, he takes them, gets a couple high-paying jobs, leaves Corporate America to go out on his own and that business becomes ultra successful with offices in Chicago, New York and San Francisco. That’s a great story! It doesn’t end there.
  • As a single father for over 25 years, he has shown his concern for the wellbeing of children. He’s very active in several organizations and Glide Memorial Church where he and his son received assistance in the 80’s being a regular giver to these organizations.
  • Gardner speaks regularly and does media projects with the goal of helping people to reach their full potential. His hard work professionally, his overall inspirational life story and practical guidance have snowballed his success making him a frequent guest on all the major media outlets.
  • Can we do what Chris Gardner did to have a story like he has? The answer is YES! WE CAN!
  • We can have a story just like that if we want it. If you want a story just like his, let me ask you some questions and I’m asking myself these questions as well.
    • Are you willing to do the work he did? I mean are you willing to work as hard as he worked?
    • Are you willing to make next to nothing to get the education and training you need to make it in your next career?
    • Are you willing to become homeless in the process?
    • Are you willing to take opportunities as they come?
    • Are you willing to be deserted by loved ones?
    • Are you willing to leave a high-paying job with no guarantees of success?
  • If you’re not, you probably don’t have what it takes to have a story like Chris Gardner’s.
  • Those are hard questions and I’ll tell you how average people will answer those questions. I’m willing to work hard… BUT I have to earn some money. I am not willing to become homeless, I’m not willing to be left by my loved ones. I can’t leave my job.
  • The thing is all of these things could happen to you without you deciding any of it, so what do you have to lose by deciding to be willing?
  • You’re just acknowledging the possibility and you’re willing to deal with it in the worst case-type of scenario.
  • I’m not saying at all that you have to do these things to be successful, but it’s possible that these things may be part of the journey. They can make you, like it did Chris Gardner or they can break you. like it does average people.
  • I think many people stay average because they’re not willing to go through hard times. It’s scary!
  • I don’t want to go through hard times, but I understand they’re part of this journey and I’m willing to face those hard times.


Based on 350 interviews of rich and poor people by Tom Corley.

Rich habit for today is: No excuses

Poor habit for today is: Jack of All Trades



  • I’m still reading the book, “CashFlow Quadrant: Guide to Financial Freedom by Robert Kiyosaki.”
  • I’m not going to recommend it until I’m done reading it, but that’s what I’m reading right now.
  • It’s not a hard read. I’m enjoying it and I’m taking my time reading it, so sorry for no book recommendation again today.


  • Please sign up for the NaRagstoRiches Newsletter by filling out the form on naragstoriches.com. This newsletter will be of value to you. I will be giving my best tips to support you on your journey to be debt-free, increase your income and start your own rags to riches story.
  • Please complete a review of the NaRagstoRiches Show on iTunes or any of the podcast platforms. Your reviews will help me to know what I’m doing that you like and to continue improving as a podcaster.
  • If you’re deep in debt, you want to get out of debt and not pay thousands to a debt settlement company or to a lawyer in bankruptcy, email me at jndebtfreecoach@gmail.com to see if debt free coaching is the right option for your.


  • That’s our show for now. Thanks again for hanging out with me today! I hope you were inspired by something that was said in the show today. Take that bit of inspiration and write another sentence of your rags to riches story.
  • Let’s improve our lives and the lives of others! I’m Jayson Narag, your host! Thank you all for listening.








Categories: NaRagstoRiches Show

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *