This video features Chris Gardener giving the 2009 UC Berkley Commencement Keynote. (If you aren’t familiar with Chris Gardener, he’s the character Will Smith portrays in The Pursuit of Happyness – one of the most inspiring movies of all time!)

Prior to making it big on the silver screen, the amazing story of Gardner’s life was published as an autobiography, The Pursuit of Happyness, in May 2006, and became a New York Times and Washington Post #1 bestseller.

After conquering numerous challenges to become a successful entrepreneur, Gardner became an avid motivational and aspirational speaker, know for his ability to teach techniques for overcoming obstacles and breaking cycles.

He kept his commencement speech under 9 minutes but gave away TONS of inspiring lessons for a real-life pursuit of happyness. Here are 10 of my favorites…

1. Always, always, ALWAYS be true to yourself.

Chris is spot on when he talks about having ‘people’ after you reach a certain level of success. I LOVE the fact that he ripped up the speech his ‘people’ wrote for him and said exactly what he wanted to say….

2. Show gratitude to the people who always believed in you.

The people who believe in you give you the foundation to believe in yourself which is an extraordinary gift. Be sure to take time to thank them in person because they deserve it!

3. When you write ANYTHING for an audience, consider what your audience wants (and needs) to hear before you start speaking or writing.

This commencement speech is legendary because Chris obviously considered his audience before he went on stage. Properly considering your audience in advance will allow you to bring an enormous amount of value to their lives.

4. The current economic situation is irrelevant to your future.

I love this quote from Barry Asmus: “Economists are pessimists: they’ve predicted 8 of the last 3 depressions.”

In all reality, the current economic situation is irrelevant to the success you will experience in the future so stop reading into the negative, ‘doom and gloom’ reports you see on TV or read on the internet. The only determining factor of your future is YOU!

5. Economic downturns are actually an opportunity for YOU to re-create the American dream.

Historically, after every economic downturn there is a period of record-breaking economic growth that produce legendary success stories. Whether you see it or not, there is currently a tremendous opportunity to create a success story that is so legendary that it changes the American dream as a whole. What steps are you taking today to ensure that you and your family will experience the American dream of tomorrow?

6. The balance in your life is more important than the balance in your checking account.

The best and most important things in life are given to us for free – our mind, our body, our soul, our ability to express love and kindness… And unlike money and material things, the best things in life can never be replaced. Do NOT neglect the best things in life for things that are replaceable!

7. Appreciation is greater than expectation.

I was blessed to learn this lesson in my early years as an entrepreneur. Tony Robbins explains the importance of appreciation flawlessly in this quote: “When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears.”

8. Do NOT confuse your net worth with your self worth.

Any self-made millionaire would agree that they developed their net worth after they developed their self-worth. Self-worth is the single most important component of living a rich life.

If you need help developing or maintaining your self-worth, incorporate these last two lessons into your life on a daily basis:

9. Whatever you do, always pursue happyness.

10. Start where you are.

What was your favorite lesson for the pursuit of happiness? I’d love to hear your answer below in the comments section!

Matt Morris is a best selling author of the book “The Unemployed Millionaire“. His story is a very inspirational one. Take the time to visit his website to find out more about him.

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