The Concepts Of Positive Psychology In The Movie Pursuit Of Happiness

Table of Contents

An opening

Relationship between Positive Psychology and the Movie

Definition of success


Both positive and negative effects

Self-Regulation and Self-Control

The Movie and Positive Psychology Theories: A Linkage

The study of Control Theory involves examining methods of influence, regulation, and guidance of particular systems.

Theory of Self-Discrepancy

In conclusion

This is the beginning

The Pursuit of Happiness a film that inspires you to overcome your hardships and find happiness. The movie centers around Chris Gardener’s journey to make portable density scanners. The scanners are a bit more expensive than traditional Xrays and therefore not worth the expense. Chris is unable to sell his scanners because no one wants them. Chris is faced with severe financial difficulties that leave him in a sham marriage and leaves him without a wife and a child to care for. Due to his large debts, Chris is forced from his home and is sent to prison for a night before his interview. Chris is forced to wear dirty clothes and paint-splattered clothing for his interview. He is able to pass the interview with flying colors, but he soon realizes it’s an unpaid internship.

Chris accepted the stockbroker internship because there was no other option. Chris leaves work at 6:45 am every morning to go to the homeless shelter with his son. This limits Chris’s ability to contact clients and reduces his work hours. Chris developed strategies to increase productivity. For example, Chris only contacted high-value customers and defied protocol. Chris perseveres through many struggles to secure a job at a company that is highly competitive. His success continues when he starts his own brokerage firm worth multimillions of dollars. This movie is about Chris’s climb from poverty and to becoming a millionaire. Relationship between Positive psychology and the Movie. Pursuit of Happiness is a reflection of several concepts of positive psychology.

Definition of success

The movie proves that success is a subjective concept. Linda believes wealth is a key factor in success. This perception may be influenced by her personal circumstances. She was in severe financial distress after working double shifts. Because she believed wealth was linked to happiness, she also associated success with it. Chris, on one hand, was not able to sustain his marriage due to poverty. However, he believed happiness could be found in positive relationships. He tried to maintain his marriage, but it was too difficult. When it became impossible, he left his son alone. His father had divorced him at an early age. He was aware of the importance and tried his best to support his son. He believed he was a successful father, regardless of the difficult circumstances.


Resilience is the ability to overcome setbacks. Chris’ personality demonstrates this trait well. He faced many hardships and remained strong. Chris had spent all of his savings to make high-density bone scanners, but the business plan did not work out. He persevered despite numerous rejections and continued to get up each morning to arrange meetings with clients and try hard for the sale of his scanners. He tried his best to locate the scanners but some were stolen. He was separated from his wife, and he had to spend the night in jail. Even worse, he was responsible for his young son. He never gave up, even though he faced many hardships. He would bounce back quickly from every challenge and go on with his normal life. His resilience was remarkable, as he could quickly bounce back after facing life’s most difficult hurdles.

Both positive and negative effects

This movie shows emotions in vivid detail. Chris shows all kinds of emotions, including anger, frustration and joy.

Fear of his son going to bed hungry motivates him and helps him work harder each day. However, he hides certain negative emotions like the one he felt when his wife abandoned him. He doesn’t want to share these feelings with anyone. Positive affect can be found even in the most difficult moments. Chris presents his son a football for his birthday and they have a wonderful, joyful moment together. Both positive as well as negative affects are seen in this movie. It is an example of how real life can look.

Self-Regulation and Self-Control

Chris demonstrated a high level of self-regulation. He decided to change his mind when he couldn’t sell the high density scanners. He applied for a summer internship as stockbroker in order to reach his goal, which was to earn a lot of money and ensure his son’s financial security. In the same way, he tracked his actions numerous times and identified high-potential clients to help him reach his goal of attracting clients. Chris was also able to manage his emotions well. He didn’t allow his feelings of despair or sadness to hinder his future goals.

The Movie’s Relationship to Positive Psychology Theories. The movie has a strong connection to the theories of positiv psychology discussed in this article:

Control Theory is the science of how to make systems behave in a desired manner. It involves identifying goals and objectives, then using feedback to ensure that the system is operating as desired. It is used in many aspects of engineering, such as robotics, aerospace, and communication systems.

The control theory works on the basis of self-regulation. It consists of four steps: Test, Operate. Test. Exit. Chris used these steps to regulate his emotions, cognitions and help him achieve his goals. Chris began by testing the bone density scanner, then he sold them. He soon realized that these machines could be a source of income. He applied for an internship and began looking for other jobs during the operational phase. The testing phase followed, where he tested his ability to manage both the internship and his job selling bone density scanners. He was able manage the team and succeeded. Then he took on another job to start his multi-million-dollar business.

The concept of Self-Discrepancy Theory suggests that individuals have multiple self-guides which are compared to each other in order to produce an internal discrepancy that can cause emotional distress.

Self-discrepancy theory holds that individuals’ actions are guided by’self guides’. It discusses the relationship between the three types of self: actual, ideal, and ought. In the movie, Chris was able to clearly see each type. Chris wanted to be the best father possible and provide for his children’s needs. His real self was a struggling dad who struggled to make ends satisfy. His ought self required him to fulfill his social obligations, such as providing shelter and food for his child. Similar to at home, his ought self included the social obligations of providing shelter and food for his son. The movie shows how Chris interacts with his different types of self.

In conclusion, …

Pursuit of Happiness has a strong connection to positive psychology. It explicitly highlights the factors that affect Eudaimonic happiness, such as resilience, self-regulation, and self control. It also highlights the importance of self-discrepancy and control theories in directing one’s actions toward success. Pursuit of Happiness is an entertaining movie that captures positive psychology’s essence in a thorough manner. It fails to show the connection between spirituality, life satisfaction and religion. This is a problem because religion is a very important part of the East. So, I recommend that future movies of this nature contain spirituality to make it easier for East Asians to relate to it.


  • jacksonreynolds

    Jackson Reynolds is an educational blogger who specializes in writing about topics such as education, parenting, and technology. He has been writing for over 10 years, and has been published in numerous magazines and newspapers. Jackson lives in Alexandria, Virginia with his wife and two children.