I am participating in an MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) called, ‘The Future of Storytelling’ conducted by iversity, a diverse interdisciplinary team from Berlin, Germany. Anyone who wants to tell a good story (which is everyone) can participate and learn – see if you’d want to. This is my first assignment upon completing chapter 1.
1. Write a summary of your favorite story
My favorite story – The Pursuit of Happyness (Hollywood movie, 2006).
Summary: Will Smith invests all his life savings into portable x-ray machines, which he attempts to sell to doctors. During this time, his family finds it difficult to make ends meet and his wife leaves him. After some effort, Will Smith manages to keep his son with him.
Thereupon, he faces further difficulties and is forced to vacate his house. He also loses one of his portable x-ray machines trying to run away from a taxi driver. Fortunately, he meets an executive working in a stock-brokerage firm and manages to impress him by solving the Rubik’s cube.
Will Smith feels that getting a job in the stock-brokerage firm will solve all his problems and in spite of shabby appearance in the interview, he still manages to get the job as an intern. However, only one out of 20 interns will eventually be selected for the full-time position and hence he needs to prove himself quickly.
In addition to his professional challenges, he is devastated in his personal life as he becomes broke and is homeless. He finds a day-care center for his son after spending several nights in the railway station restroom. He also finds a shared night-shelter, which offers a bed on first-come-first-served basis, daily. In order to reserve his bed, he is forced to leave office early, everyday.
Eventually, in spite of (or because of) his situation, he finds innovative ways to reach and develop new clients. He struggles through the period of internship and faces a lot of difficulties even while going to give his final ‘exam’, but manages to get the coveted job in the end.
He then proceeds to become a (financially) successful man in life and his (economic) problems are solved.
2. What made this story so special and memorable?
Everything. Right from the first moment, I was hooked to the story. The character of Will Smith is relatable (who doesn’t go through financial difficulties and problems with their career?). His sincere efforts to sell his x-ray machines and his innocent conviction that stock brokers are the happiest people creates a kind of sympathy towards him.
His repeated encounter with problems and his confidence/positive attitude throughout those difficult times gives us a lot of inspiration. If he, in his situation can fight and be positive, why can’t we?
His dogged determination in pursuing his dream (of becoming rich and alleviating his financial problems) starting with almost nothing, gives us hope that it can be done by any of us. Even though life kept pushing him back two steps for each step he took forward, he never loses hope.
I almost cried at the end of this movie due to the realization that it was a true story. This was easily the biggest attraction of this story.