Since the beginning of civilization, there have been men who have been born unfortunate and have lived a major part of their life in misery, but due to their grit determination they have transformed fate and have changed their destiny. ‘Christopher Gardner’ is one such individual who has faced the worst of the adversities and have kept a simple target to achieve, which is to be successful. His story of rags to riches can be acquitted to his never say die attitude and believing in achieving the impossible.
Christopher Paul Gardner was born in the year 1954 and was the second child out of the lot of 4 children. The locality in which Christopher lived in was always considered to be one of the hardest and meanest streets of Milwaukee. Christopher all his years has lived a life full of contrasts. Christopher saw love and hate both together when he was a kid, as he was abused hated by his step father but excessively loved by his mother. His mother had great faith in him and always endorsed the right moral values for him. These values were the one which made him confident and made him supported the idea of achieving anything. In his childhood itself he witnessed a great trauma, when his mother fed up of his step father’s abusive ways decided to burn him inside the house when he was sleeping. Christopher was shifted to relatives and guardians houses after than and it was only father sometime, did he realize that his mother was imprisoned in jail. The thoughts of a family being withered was always in his mind and which is why he turned out to be a loving man for his children in later life.
After completion of his high school education Gardner joined the navy as he idolized his uncle who was a navy man. He finished his stint with navy and was soon out in the open world again. Before he could realize, he had become a salesman for medical equipment, and had a girl friend who was pregnant. Gardner was making his ends meet somehow and was bamboozled by the sight of Bob Bridges and his red Ferrari. He was very impressed with the broker Bob Bridges that the following would shed light on his insistence of knowing the success of others:
‘Gardner posed two simple questions to him: “What do you do?” and “How do you do that?” Over lunch, the bemused Bridges explained how he managed investments for wealthy individuals, and that despite Gardner’s total lack of industry knowledge, he might qualify for a training program at one of the area brokerage. When Gardner learned Bridges was making $80,000 a month — compared to his own $30,000 a year — he was sold’ (A trader)
Gardner got awed by even hearing an amount that he probably would have taken three years to earn and people could earn that amount in one month. This knowledge drew him more towards the line of finance and becoming a broker. As life would have it then Gardner’s girl friend left him and his nineteen year old son and he was still in his pursuit of becoming a trainee broker. Even without having any form of college degree or certificate, Gardner who was just a high school graduate was relentless in proving himself and securing the position of trainee broker, and it didn’t matter to him for which he might have to knock the door of every trading company in the city. What started from then was a series of misfortunate effects till he reached his final destination. After the departure of his wife, Christopher was arrested for having ‘outstanding parking tickets’. He did not have money to pay for the fine and spend little time in jail for it. Once he was out he was left with bare minimum money and no place to reside. Gardner was homeless but not hopeless at heart and somewhere down the line he always knew that he would pass out of it. The biggest phenomenon of his life came when he was admitted as a trainee broker in the firm of Dean Witter, but he still had no place to live or even think of affording a day a care of his son. The gleam of the job and the fright of not having a place to live was very difficult contrast which he had to live with. The problem with the job was it gave meager stipend which could not take care of housing needs of Gardner and it would make him permanent only after becoming the top performer after a year. The following will tell about Gardner’s life during his trainee job days:
‘They slept sometimes in shelters, sometimes in parks, or in the Dean Witter offices, where they would stretch out beneath the desks and wake up before anyone else arrived. They ate in soup kitchens, and occasionally lived out of public bathrooms in San Francisco’s mass transit system’ (CNN)
Christopher became a father to his son, and proved to himself on his mother’s values of goodness and believing in oneself. The nights where he used to lock them in the bathrooms of the public station, he still believed of changing it one day as he had nothing to lose. He had accepted that it couldn’t get worse than this and the only thing that was making him move was his son. The need to be together was always felt by him and which is why he didn’t give away his son at foster care or to anybody, but rather always managed to be with him all the time. After his long hard work in the firm he finally made
it well when he joined Bear Stearns firm and then made an apartment of his own. His troubles of becoming homeless were over and from this stage he started climbing the ladder of success without glancing back once. He began his journey in Bear’s office and rose to become of the top most employees in quick span of years. He understood the concept of investing and became a top notch expert staying in Bear’s company. His pursuit for happiness could had stopped there as he was comfortable with a good pay cut and had an apartment or rather a roof for him and his son, but still he chose to risk it again and in the year 1989 he started ‘Gardner Rich and co’ with $10,000 and made into a multi millionaire co-operation.
Gardner had faced a lot of adversities in his life but somewhere down the line he
always knew that self belief could change things beyond a man’s expectations. He risked his career as a medical salesman and also dropped his dream of ever going to medical school for pursing something which he felt instinctively. There were lot of options available to him, where he could had given his son to foster homes or other places so that he could relax and take care of his career, but his abusive childhood had given him more paternal skills than any father could have, and he strived for giving his child shelter each
passing day. Christopher Gardner even after becoming excessively rich never left his roots and never forgot from where he came, which why he turned out to be a philanthropist and transformed himself into a motivational speaker. He doesn’t have
shame in telling his story to anyone and in fact made sure apart from writing a book it became mega movie for millions to see and understand that there is always hope. Christopher Gardner is actually a hero to many homeless Americans who have a job and want to purist their lives in a better way, he is a hero for people will ill fates and have lost hope to revive again, he is a hero for fathers on parenting their child and always being together and most of all he will always be a hero in his children’s eyes especially his son, for today he might have realized what he did for him as well for his career.
1) A trader, “Christopher Gardner”. http://www.atrader.com/Christopher_Gardner.html
2) CNN, “From sleeping on the streets to wall street”. http://edition.cnn.com/2006/US/12/15/paycheckaway.gardner/index.html