Chris Gardner is an American entrepreneur, single parent, motivational speaker and the author of the ‘Pursuit of Happyness.’

Born in 1954, Chris did not have many positive male role models when he was growing up as his biological father was away from him and his step father was physically abusive to both his mother and his sisters.

At the age of 8, Chris and his sisters returned to foster care when their mother tried to kill his step-father by burning down the house with his step-father inside.

Chris decided to enlist in the U.S. Navy when he finished secondary schooling as he was inspired by his Uncle Henry who had the most profound influence on him at a time when he most needed a positive father figure. He was stationed at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina for four years, where he was assigned as a hospital corpsman.

In 1974, Chris moved to San Francisco after he was discharged from service in the U.S. Navy to work with Dr. Robert Ellis to assist him with innovative clinical research. By 1976, Chris had been given full responsibility for a laboratory and had co-authored several articles with Dr. Ellis that were published in medical journals.

In 1977, Chris married Sherry Dyson, a Virginia native and an educational expert in mathematics. Chris has made his medical career plans already laid out but due to the changes in health care he realized that the medical profession would be vastly different by the time he could practice medicine. He was advised to consider more profitable career options and he informed his wife a few days before his 26th birthday that he will no longer pursue his dreams of becoming a physician.

Because of Chris’ decision, his relationship with Sherry was detached. He began an affair with a dental student named Jackie Medina, and she became pregnant with his child only a few months into the affair. Chris moves in with Jackie to prepare for fatherhood.

Chris worked as a research lab assistant at UCSF and at the Veterans’ Hospital after leaving the service but his salary was not enough for him to support a live-in girlfriend and a child. He  quit his job as a research lab assistant after four years and took a job as a medical equipment salesman to double his salary.

Chris’ career path was decided when he saw a dressed man in a red Ferrari. He asked the man about his career and the man told him that he was a stockbroker. Chris quit his current job to dedicate his time training as a stockbroker only to discover that his hiring manager was fired a week before. Also his relationship with Jackie was falling apart. 

Chris was taken to jail and stayed for ten days after the police witnessed an incident in which Jackie was running away with Chris Jr. and he attempted to take back his son that resulted in Jackie being pushed down the garden bushes. Because of what happened the police discover that Chris is not paying for parking fines.

Charles returns from jail to find his apartment empty. He gained a position in Dean Witter Reynolds’ stock brokerage training program without salary. In 1982 Chris worked to become a top trainee. His perseverance paid off when he passed his Series 7 Exam on the first try and became a full employee of the firm.

After four months Jackie returned and left their son to Chris, though he is earning a small salary he willingly accepted sole custody of his child. They were homeless for about a year, after Chris had found a home he continued in contact with Jackie and had a second child but he did not agree to get back together in a relationship.

In 1987, Chris established the brokerage firm, Gardner Rich & Co which specialized in  the execution of debt, equity, and derivative products transactions for some of the nation’s largest institutions, public pension plans, and unions. He sold the company for a multimillion-dollar deal in 2006 and became the CEO and founder of Christopher Gardner International Holdings with offices in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco.

Below are some of Chris Gardner quotes that will make you push your dreams and follow the path of success.

Best Chris Gardner Quotes

“Her stillness defeated his storm.” – Chris Gardner

“Every time he came back, apologetic, contrite, he’d start off being real nice. But he was as predictable as rain. Nobody knew when he’d go off, but at some point everybody knew he would.” – Chris Gardner

“As long as you have a plan for how you’ll live, don’t let jealous people turn their insecurities into yours. ” – Chris Gardner

“We can all learn something from people we admire.” – Chris Gardner

“Just remember, you’re never too old to have a hero.” – Chris Gardner

“Your net worth can fluctuate, but your self-worth should only appreciate.” – Chris Gardner

“You’re never too old to do something new.” – Chris Gardner

“When someone says, ‘You can’t,’ what it really means is that they can’t – so why should you get to?” – Chris Gardner

“You can blame outside factors or make excuses about why things didn’t work out, but that doesn’t change anything.” – Chris Gardner

“Nine times out of 10, extenuating circumstances aside, I believe that people are where they are by some kind of choice on their part. You need to acknowledge that, ‘Hey, I’m here because I steered my horse in this direction.’” – Chris Gardner

Chris Gardner Motivational Quotes

“I was Chris Gardner, father of a son who deserved better than what my daddy could do for me, son of Betty Jean Gardner who said that if I wanted to win I could win.” – Chris Gardner

“This is a work of nonfiction. I have rendered the events faithfully and truthfully just as I have recalled them. Some names and descriptions of individuals have been changed in order to respect their privacy.” – Chris Gardner

“I had never gone to college. I was not from a politically connected family. I had no money of my own. Who is going to do business with you?” – Chris Gardner

“Probably the hardest question I get asked is, ‘How do I choose between passion and practicality?’ I can’t answer that. I had to do both. I was passionate about pursuing a career in financial services. But I was also passionate about feeding my child.” – Chris Gardner

“Baby steps count, too, as long as you’re moving forward.” – Chris Gardner

“Will Smith played Chris Gardner better than Chris Gardner ever did.” – Chris Gardner

“I cut grass, I did yard work, I did roofing, I cleaned basements to take care of my family.” – Chris Gardner

“I didn’t grow up in a household where dinner conversation was, ‘How did the market do today?’” – Chris Gardner

“I had spent years in the United States military. Specifically in the U.S. Navy.” – Chris Gardner

“No matter what you accomplish, when you’re doing something you’re truly passionate about… the opportunities are always going to be bigger.” – Chris Gardner

“Passion is the thing that won’t let you sleep at night because you want to get up in the morning and go do your thing.” – Chris Gardner

“If you’re passionate about something, you can develop the abilities.” – Chris Gardner

“I’ve never been big on sports coats and pants. I’m a suit guy. It makes it clear who’s in charge.” – Chris Gardner

“I’m a Levi’s guy.” – Chris Gardner

“I do one thing – I don’t do it on purpose – but I always make other guys look underdressed.” – Chris Gardner

“One time, I was going to be in L.A. for 10 days for a business conference, and I took eight different pairs of sandals.” – Chris Gardner

“The people who care the most about the folks in your community are living in the community. They don’t live in Washington, D.C.” – Chris Gardner

“Salespeople are the most important people in any organization. Until a salesperson gets an order, nobody in the company has a job.” – Chris Gardner

“I’ve never considered selling anything other than profession, but it’s more than that. It’s one of the highest callings that you can aspire to. Not everyone can do it.” – Chris Gardner

“Business school professors don’t take selling seriously because they don’t know how to sell. It’s easy to talk about business theory and production time and just-in-time development. Selling is much more difficult.” – Chris Gardner

Chris Gardner Inspirational Quotes

“I’ve been talking to a lot of young people, especially here in America. I let them know that the people who they’re competing with for opportunities live all over the place. They’re probably not in your city, state, or country; they are hungry, and they are grinding! Some of the things that a lot of us take for granted, these people don’t.” – Chris Gardner

“You want to be young and have fun, that’s great. But while you’re having fun, someone you don’t see is studying and preparing. You might end up working for that person. No one wants to hear that! But I try to tell young people: You want to be the one signing the front of the check, not the back.” – Chris Gardner

“I am very, very conscious of time. I always wear two watches. People ask me, ‘Why do you do that?’ Because I was late once,and it cost me a huge opportunity.” – Chris Gardner

“I’m known to be aggressively early.” – Chris Gardner

“I made a decision as a five-year-old boy that my kids will know who their father is.” – Chris Gardner

“I went through pain as a child so my children wouldn’t have to.” – Chris Gardner

“I have one of those old-fashioned mothers who told me every single day, ‘Son, you can do or be anything that you want to do or be.’ And I believed it. I bought into it 100%.” – Chris Gardner

“I’ve said that if you’re not doing something that you’re passionate about, you’re compromising yourself every single day.” – Chris Gardner

“So many men have holes in their souls the shape of their fathers. You can pass that on to your kid, or you can do something about it, and I’m seeing a lot of men doing something about it.” – Chris Gardner

“I’m encouraged by what I see of men trying to be there for their children.” – Chris Gardner

“Finding gainful employment to pay for housing is hard for any veteran experiencing homelessness. It’s even more difficult for veterans who’ve also had encounters with police and stints in jail.” – Chris Gardner

“Passion is everything. In fact, you’ve got to be borderline fanatical about what you do.” – Chris Gardner

“Be bold enough to find the one thing that you are passionate about. It might not be what you were trained to do. But be bold enough to do the one thing. Nobody needs to dig it but you.” – Chris Gardner

“Passion is not something you have to talk about. People feel it.” – Chris Gardner

“I say to people all the time, it is OK to fail. Some of the greatest successes in the history of America started out as failures.” – Chris Gardner

“Sometimes we are so busy helping others that we forget about ourselves. Remember, it’s okay to say no and to ask others to carry their own weight.” – Chris Gardner

“I also often hear people say that the deck is stacked against them because of racism, sexism, or other oppressive ‘isms.’ But once you let go of the blame and excuses, you’ll see that you can alter your position on your own.” – Chris Gardner

“Veterans who are homeless may not have a home, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have diverse skills that could be put to use to meet the needs of an expanding job market.” – Chris Gardner

“Long before I achieved financial success and became the subject of a Hollywood film, I was a veteran, a single father, and a working person who was homeless.” – Chris Gardner

“Too many veterans are poor or near poor and homeless because of it.” – Chris Gardner

Chris Gardner Quotes on Success

“I was homeless but I wasn’t hopeless. I knew a better day was coming.” – Chris Gardner

“Don’t ever let someone tell you, you can’t do something. Not even me.” – Chris Gardner

“People can’t do something themselves, they want to tell you you can’t do it.” – Chris Gardner

“The secret to success: find something you love to do so much, you can’t wait for the sun to rise to do it all over again.” – Chris Gardner

“The world is your oyster. It’s up to you to find the pearls.” – Chris Gardner

“It can be done but you have to make it happen.” – Chris Gardner

“If you believe you can do it, you will.” – Chris Gardner

“Do something that makes you happy and makes you feel good about yourself.” – Chris Gardner

“You want something, go get it. Period.” – Chris Gardner

“There is no plan B for passion.” – Chris Gardner

“Baby steps count, as long as you are going forward. You add them all up, and one day you look back and you’ll be surprised at where you might get to..” – Chris Gardner

“Start where you are.” – Chris Gardner

“It’s okay to fail; it’s not okay to quit.” – Chris Gardner

“Others may question your credentials, your papers, your degrees. Others may look for all kinds of ways to diminish your worth. But what is inside you no one can take from you or tarnish.” – Chris Gardner

“I am strong because I’ve been weak. I am fearless because I’ve been afraid. I am wise because I’ve been foolish.” – Chris Gardner

“Walk the walk and go forward all the time.” – Chris Gardner

“You can only depend on yourself. The cavalry ain’t coming.” – Chris Gardner

“You have to be bold.” – Chris Gardner

“Every finish line is the beginning of a new race.” – Chris Gardner

“The most inspiring leaders are not those who do their job but those who pursue a calling.” – Chris Gardner

“I hold one thing dearer than all else: my commitment to my son” – Chris Gardner

“Ready or not, tell yourself to jump.” – Chris Gardner

“Strong people stand up for themselves, the strongest people stand up for others.” – Chris Gardner

“Do something that you love.” – Chris Gardner

“The future was uncertain, absolutely, and there were many hurdles, twists, and turns to come, but as long as I kept moving forward, one foot in front of the other, the voices of fear and shame, the messages from those who wanted me to believe that I wasn’t good enough, would be stilled.” – Chris Gardner

“Your struggle is not an excuse, it’s your ammunition.” – Chris Gardner

“Always, always pursue happiness.” – Chris Gardner

“One of the things young people always ask me about is what is the secret to success. The secret is there is no secret. It’s the basics. Blocking and tackling.” – Chris Gardner

“You know how mountains get moved? Everyone who can move a couple, move a couple. Those who can move rocks, move rocks. Those who can move boulders, move boulders. That’s how mountains get moved. If every one of us did everything we could, I believe we would be in a different world.” – Chris Gardner

“Make your vision larger than yourself.” – Chris Gardner

“Then again, what seems like nothing in the eyes of the world, when properly valued and put to use, can be among the greatest riches.” – Chris Gardner

“Without that sense of self, no amount of paper, no pedigree, and no credentials can make you legit. No matter what, you have to feel legit inside first.” – Chris Gardner

“As busy as I am wherever I am, I try to get out and walk the streets, to remember how far I’ve come and appreciate every baby step of the way.” – Chris Gardner

“It’s your responsibility to pursue what matters.” – Chris Gardner

“Though my mom had too many of her own dreams denied, deferred and destroyed, she instilled in me that I could have dreams. And not just have dreams but had a responsibility to make them a reality. My mom taught me from a very early age that I could do anything I wanted to do.” – Chris Gardner

“Do something that makes you feel your work is significant and meaningful.” – Chris Gardner

“No matter how much money is involved or no matter how easy it is for you to do, if you’re not happy, you are nothing more than a slave to your talent and money.” – Chris Gardner

“Wealth can also be that attitude of gratitude with which we remind ourselves every day to count our blessings.” – Chris Gardner

Chris Gardner Quotes on The Pursuit of Happyness

“There was a language specific to all things. The ability to learn another language in one arena, whether it was music, medicine, or finance, could be used to accelerate learning and other arenas, too.” – Chris Gardner

“Sizing up succinctly his lack of formal education compared with his determination to learn from others, the author writes, “I went to college with every person I ever met.”” – Chris Gardner

“I was late once and it cost me $50,000. I figure it was cheaper to wear two watches.” – Chris Gardner

“Find something that you love. Something that gets you so excited you can’t wait to get out of bed in the morning. Forget about money. Be happy.” – Chris Gardner

“Walk that walk and go forward all the time. Don’t just talk that talk, walk it and go forward. Also, the walk didn’t have to be long strides; baby steps counted too. Go forward.” – Chris Gardner

“I just wanted to make a million dollars. But I couldn’t sing and I couldn’t play ball, so I said to my mother, ‘How am I going to make a million dollars?’ And she said to me, ‘Son, if you believe you can do it, you will.’” – Chris Gardner

“Do something that you love. Whatever you’re going to do is going to be tough enough. Find something that gets you so excited that the sun can’t come up early enough in the morning because you want to go do your thing.” – Chris Gardner

“The money thing will come. I know so many people who have so much more money than I. They are miserable. It is so important to be happy.” – Chris Gardner

“Do something that makes you feel your work is significant and meaningful. If you just want to make money, that’s a whole different trip. I can’t help you with that.” – Chris Gardner

“Hunker down, strap in, and hold on. Hold on baby!” – Chris Gardner

“We all understand genetics. You get your eyes from your dad, your mom’s nose, there’s nothing you can do about that. But your spiritual genetics you can choose, pick, embrace and commit to. That’s what I did.” – Chris Gardner

“This is your worth, who you really are, your degree that can go with you wherever you go, that you bring with you the moment you come into a room, that can’t be manipulated or shaken.” – Chris Gardner

“You have to be bold because there will be folks who will say, “You can’t” or “You shouldn’t” or “Why?” There is a certain boldness to saying, “Well, I really don’t want to be a high-powered corporate lawyer. I’m really passionate about painting.”” – Chris Gardner

Chris Gardner Quotes on Dreams

“It was right then that I started thinking about Thomas Jefferson on the Declaration of Independence and the part about our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And I remember thinking how did he know to put the pursuit part in there? That maybe happiness is something that we can only pursue and maybe we can actually never have it. No matter what. How did he know that?” – Chris Gardner

“No one ever laid out the sequence of events that led to my mother being prosecuted and imprisoned for alleged welfare fraud.” – Chris Gardner

“What I love about AT&T is that they are just as passionate as I am about rebooting the American dream.” – Chris Gardner

“Everybody got a dream. What’s the plan?” – Chris Gardner

“I chose to embrace the spirit of my mother, who, though she had too many of her own dreams denied, deferred, and destroyed, she still instilled in me, her child, that I could have dreams and that I did have a responsibility and the power.” – Chris Gardner

“If you have a dream, you’ve gotta protect it.” – Chris Gardner

“Claim ownership of your dreams.” – Chris Gardner

“If you don’t take the necessary steps to make them happen, dreams are just mirages that mess with your head.” – Chris Gardner

“(The movie) is the story of my life, but it’s not about me. It’s about anybody who ever dreamed big and had someone tell them, ‘No, you can’t do it.’ You can.” – Chris Gardner

“Still a dreamer, yet more of a realist than ever before, I knew this was my time to sail. On the horizon I saw the shining future, as before. The difference now was that I felt the wind at my back. I was ready.” – Chris Gardner

Chris Gardner Quotes on Family

“When you tell your kids they can be anything, you’ve got to be careful. I told my kids that, and I ended up with a music producer and an interior designer. But they’re doing it.” – Chris Gardner

“Unfortunately, some of the best fathers are mothers.” – Chris Gardner

“I grew up without a father.” – Chris Gardner

“The hardest thing that I had to do every day as a working single parent was child care, to have to leave my child with people that I did not know and hope everything was OK, that was the most painful part of every day.” – Chris Gardner

“A father is everything in the world.” – Chris Gardner

“My stepfather was fond of letting me know, quote, ‘I ain’t your… damn daddy.’ That was something that was painful, to put it mildly.” – Chris Gardner

“We can all look to our friends, family, and those we admire for inspiration.” – Chris Gardner

“My biggest hero was my mother. She told me every day that I could do or be anything. I knew it, I believed it, and I embraced it.” – Chris Gardner

“My mom had to be resourceful. She grew up dirt poor in rural Louisiana.” – Chris Gardner

“I hold one thing dearer than all else: my commitment to my son.” – Chris Gardner

Chris Gardner Quotes on Life

“Strong people stand up for themselves. Stronger people stand up for others. The irony is that while sleep sometimes brings nightmares, it’s the reality of my waking hours that can cause me the greater fear.” – Chris Gardner

“Everything that I learned in the Navy, I took it with me into the next phase of my life.” – Chris Gardner

“My first ambition in life, I made up my mind I was going to become Miles Davis. I studied music, music theory. I played trumpet for nine years. One day, my mother explained, ‘You can’t be Miles Davis. There’s one, and he’s got that job.’” – Chris Gardner

“What can we be in life? Few figures in history have answered this question with as much clarity and moral authority as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” – Chris Gardner

“Don’t wait for the perfect time to start making changes to your life; the time is now.” – Chris Gardner

“I’ve created the life I wanted.” – Chris Gardner

“This part of my life, this little part is called happiness.” – Chris Gardner

“The balance in your life is more important than the balance in your checking account.” – Chris Gardner

“This part of my life is called running.” – Chris Gardner

“You won’t find magic potions here. No matter how enticing they may seem, promises of quick fixes mostly set us up for failure and do more to deter us than empower us.” – Chris Gardner

Famous Chris Gardner Quotes

“I initially moved to San Francisco to become a research associate for one of the top young heart surgeons in the country. Everything that I learned in that position is that skills, talent, and expertise are transferable.” – Chris Gardner

“Many have forged a path to greatness lit only by a vision in their minds.” – Chris Gardner

“Fortunately, our digital age has created some wonderful tools for finding employers and showing your strengths. But when it comes to discovering or keeping a job, nothing beats good old-fashioned facetime and up-to-date skills.” – Chris Gardner

“Remember: If you don’t schmooze, you lose. Used wisely, a bit of chitchat helps create a personal connection with your boss and colleagues.” – Chris Gardner

“In order for you to find a job, people need to know you’re looking.” – Chris Gardner

“If you’re lucky enough to have a permanent position, don’t feel entitled. Companies value longtime employees’ institutional memory, but to be irreplaceable, you must stay invested. Take the initiative and assume new responsibilities.” – Chris Gardner

“When I was a kid, we played a jump rope game called double Dutch – where you had to jump over two ropes swinging in opposite directions. Picking just the right moment to jump in was a practiced art form.” – Chris Gardner

“Most of us have heard the saying, ‘Cleanliness is next to godliness.’ That’s a sentiment I value, but another virtue has inspired me to revise that saying. As far as I’m concerned, what’s next to godliness is resourcefulness.” – Chris Gardner

“Your skills may not be anything out of the ordinary, but you can do miraculous things with what you’ve got. Maybe it’s your parenting skills, or your compassion. It may be your curiosity, your imagination or unique style of fashion. Even if it seems to be no big deal, the lesson here is we all have unique abilities and talents.” – Chris Gardner

“If you’re having a hard time recognizing your gifts, look to someone else you know who’s been resourceful. You may be surprised by how your own strengths rise to the surface by watching someone else.” – Chris Gardner

“I was blessed to have the guys at Bear Stearns as mentors. They taught me a lot, but most of all, they taught me that there’s nothing wrong with selling if you’re selling the right product to the right person.” – Chris Gardner

“Racism is not new. It was not invented just for you. So get bigger than that stuff.” – Chris Gardner

“Don’t ever be afraid to hire people that are smarter than you. Just because they are smarter than you doesn’t mean they have to make more money.” – Chris Gardner

Chris Gardner Quotes – FAQs

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Chris Gardner is an American entrepreneur, single parent, motivational speaker and the author of the ‘Pursuit of Happyness.’

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