Breakthrough and Career Success

Chris Gardner’s life story is an extraordinary testament to resilience, determination, and the power of the human spirit. From a period of homelessness to becoming a successful hedge fund manager, Gardner’s journey is an inspiration to millions around the world. This article delves into the incredible story of Chris Gardner, highlighting his struggles, triumphs, and the valuable lessons he has imparted along the way.

Early Life and Challenges:

Chris Gardner was born on February 9, 1954, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His childhood was marked by numerous challenges, including an absent father and a turbulent home environment. Despite these obstacles, Gardner displayed early entrepreneurial aspirations, selling snacks and magazines to earn money.

Homelessness and Pursuit of Success:

After serving in the Navy and various odd jobs, Gardner faced financial hardships that led him to homelessness. He struggled to find stable employment while taking care of his young son, Christopher. Gardner’s determination to provide a better life for his son motivated him to pursue a career in the competitive world of finance.

Stockbroker Training Program and Pursuit of Happiness:

Gardner’s life took a significant turn when he secured a spot in a stockbroker training program at Dean Witter Reynolds (now part of Morgan Stanley). Despite facing immense challenges, including limited financial resources and being homeless, Gardner remained committed to completing the program. He persevered through long hours of studying, often sleeping in parks or homeless shelters.

During this period, Gardner’s life became the inspiration for the critically acclaimed movie “The Pursuit of Happyness” starring Will Smith, which portrayed his struggles and determination to succeed.

Breakthrough and Career Success:

Gardner’s dedication paid off when he successfully completed the training program and became a full-time employee at Dean Witter Reynolds. He later moved to Bear Stearns, where he became a top earner and established his reputation as a talented and successful stockbroker.

Founding Gardner Rich & Co.:

In 1987, Gardner started his own brokerage firm, Gardner Rich & Co., where he focused on institutional trading and investment management. The company became a respected player in the financial industry, specializing in pension fund management.

Philanthropy and Inspiration:

Gardner’s success did not make him forget his humble beginnings. He has become a prominent philanthropist, supporting organizations and initiatives that help the homeless, provide education opportunities, and empower individuals to overcome obstacles. Gardner’s inspiring story and motivational speeches have touched the lives of countless individuals, encouraging them to pursue their dreams and overcome adversity.

Lessons Learned:

Chris Gardner’s journey offers valuable lessons for anyone facing challenges:

  1. Perseverance: Gardner’s unwavering determination and refusal to give up despite daunting circumstances are a testament to the power of perseverance.
  2. Belief in Self: Gardner’s self-belief and unwavering confidence in his abilities allowed him to push through barriers and achieve success.
  3. Embracing Opportunity: Gardner seized the opportunity to join the stockbroker training program, recognizing it as a pathway to a better future.
  4. Hard Work and Sacrifice: Gardner’s story highlights the importance of hard work, long hours of dedication, and a willingness to make sacrifices to achieve one’s goals.
  5. Paying It Forward: Gardner’s commitment to giving back and helping others reflects the impact one can make in society by sharing their success and resources.


From homelessness to becoming a successful hedge fund manager, Chris Gardner’s remarkable story exemplifies the indomitable spirit of human will. His journey serves as an inspiration to those facing adversity, emphasizing the importance of perseverance, self-belief, seizing opportunities, hard work, and giving back. Gardner’s life is a powerful reminder that with determination and resilience, even the most challenging circumstances can be overcome.