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The significance of motivation, positive attitude, determination, and discipline cannot be overestimated in every working environment and professional sales in particular. All these factors are crucial for the efficient organizational performance and positive outcomes. A professional sale is an extremely competitive sphere, and it requires time and efforts to achieve success. In the following paper, the lessons of success from the movie The Pursuit of Happyness will be characterized and evaluated.
Lessons to be learned
Numerous movies depict ways of becoming successful and accomplishing one’s goals. Although there are different methods of getting what one wants, the primary principles remain the same — one has to be eager to achieve something and never give up. The Pursuit of Happyness is one of the best films that presents a strong will, self-determination, motivation, and discipline as essential constituents of success. It is significant to have insight into the idea of the film for the further evaluation.
The Pursuit of Happyness is a 2006 biographical drama that describes the life of Chris Gardner. The main character is a salesperson who has to take care his five-year-old son. Gardner has nothing, and his aim is to receive necessary financial resources for the upbringing of his child (“The Pursuit of Happyness” par. 1). The story depicts the way Gardner fights for his dream.
It is a challenge to become successful in the sphere of professional sales. Here is a list of the most significant constituents of success according to the story:
- Goal setting;
- Positive attitude;
Peculiarities of the professional sales sphere
As it has been already mentioned, professional sales form an extremely competitive sphere. Sales comprise an integral part of everyday life of all people. The fact is that there are many participants in the field, but only a few of them are winners. Being a professional salesperson requires time and energy. One should always remember that being a salesperson and a sales professional is not the same thing (Jamail 5). According to Jamail, everyone who has a pleasant voice and a beautiful smile can become a salesperson. Nevertheless, the professional development in the domain presupposes constant learning and improvement of skills.
There is a variety of opinions concerning the nature of sales. Some people consider it to be the art of speaking and persuasion. Others believe that a salesmanship is based on the ability to build rapport with people. All these statements are too broad to be useful in practice. As Jamail writes, “Sales is about understanding who we are calling, what are we asking the customer, what energy we are giving, and, most importantly, establishing positions of influence with the prospective customer” (6).
A professional salesperson should possess broad knowledge and skills. Thus, one has to create a particular strategy for sales. Also, a successful salesman has to deal with a variety of external factors such as human emotions, behaviors, and unpredictable situations. Even more, a professional in the sphere should be able to read the body language of others and understand the way they think. The ability to control one’s body language and the effective verbal communication belong to other crucial features of the salesperson.
The apparent distinctive feature of this position is that one’s salary is dependent on sales. No one is going to pay a monthly salary for an employee who has not sold anything. It is what makes professional sales unique and challenging. There is a direct connection between one’s abilities, desire to work and earnings. However, there are cases when even doing one’s best does not help. In such cases, the salesperson has to stay motivated and keep trying.
The first significant aspect of professional sales is goal setting. Goals comprise a substantial ground for one’s motivation. Goals define the objectives that have to be achieved. Consequently, the person focuses on the particular goal and moves towards its accomplishment. This fact has been proved by numerous studies. A person who has exact aims is more likely to demonstrate better performance than the person whose goals are not clear.
However, the goal setting is not just about defining what has to be done. A salesperson should have specific objectives and accept them. Also, these goals have to be attainable (Lunenburg 1-3). The specification of targets directs employee’s performance and energy. In the movie under evaluation, the main character has a particular goal — to become a successful stockbroker. Second, goals have to be difficult, but achievable. Otherwise, the person will not receive an adequate level of satisfaction. Too challenging goals may also lead to negative consequences due to the potential demotivation. Chris Gardner’s goal is difficult because he has only one chance to get the position he wants. At the same time, he knows that he can do it, and this fact makes him improve his performance.
The acceptance of goals leads to the increasing self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is another important aspect of the successful performance. Chris sets a particular aim, and his self-efficacy enhances when he starts to work hard. His self-satisfaction increased, and he became more motivated as a result.
The ability to maintain a positive attitude towards the job is essential for a salesperson. Working with sales can be rather stressful. There are bad periods that do not bring many revenues. Also, workers continually meet different people, and their treatment can be various as well. Some clients are pleasant and polite while others are ready to shout that they do not need anything. Finally, the relationships with superiors require a positive attitude too.
A positive attitude is crucial if one wants to reduce stress and avoid burnouts. It comprises of several constituents including hope, optimism, resiliency, and confidence (Woods 2-5). Hope is the ability to wait for something better in stressful situations. Chris Gardner relies on hope in the movie. The situation in his life is terrible as far as he even does not have a place to live. Nevertheless, his faith is strong, and it leads him. Optimism is another part of a positive attitude. Thus, every salesperson should believe in optimistic results. The importance of optimism should not be underestimated. Metropolitan Life case study proves that fact.
Thus, in the 1980s, the company hired approximately five thousand salespeople and trained them. Organization’s CEO asked psychologists to evaluate the level of optimism in employees and its relation to sales. The psychologists found out that positive people were better sellers in comparison to others. As a result, the company began hiring employees only with high levels of optimism. It led to the substantial increasing of sales (“Optimism = Sales Success” par. 4-6).
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Resiliency, being the third constituent of a positive attitude, deals with the ability to overcome stress and restore strengths. It also means the willingness to go on and try one more time even if it is difficult. Gardner’s resiliency can serve as an example to follow. He always remains devoted to his initial goals regardless of failures and problems. The last part of the positive attitude, confidence, relates to self-efficacy.
Motivation is crucial for the efficient working performance. Motivation is a power that makes people continue fighting for their dreams and accomplish set goals. Two types of motivation are distinguished: extrinsic and intrinsic. An intrinsic motivation refers to the individual interest and commitment to work while the extrinsic motivation concerns material rewards for the job. Depending on circumstances, one type of motivation may be preferred. In most cases, the combination of both kinds is employed. However, the balance between them may differ among different organizations (Frey and Osterloh 3).
Managers have to create effective strategies for the extrinsic motivation of employees. For instance, the manager of Panasonic, Tali Rose, developed a personalized sales incentive platform for the motivation of retail salespeople in New Zeeland. The company faced high competence in the country. The aim of the program was to motivate employees and enhance their working performance. A particular communication program was introduced. Thus, salespeople received personalized notifications of their accomplishments and rewards. As a result, they became highly motived, and the level of their engagement in work increased drastically (“Panasonic: Personalized Sales Incentive Platform Case Study” par. 1-8).
In the movie, Gardner’s motivation is rather different from the described. His intrinsic motivation refers to his desire to become a stockbroker and his belief that he would be happy to have that position. The extrinsic motivation of Chris concerns his son. He wants to earn money, receive rewards to provide his son with a better life and opportunities. It is also necessary to stay motivated in various circumstances. Chris has a dream, and he keeps moving towards it.
The words from the basketball scene serve as a perfect example of Gardner’s attitude towards life and motivation. He says, “Don’t ever let someone tell you, you can’t do something. Not even me. You got a dream, and you got to protect it. People can’t do something themselves, they want to tell you that you can’t do it. You want something, go get it. Period.” (The Pursuit of Happyness).
Discipline, determination, and visualization
Many people do not believe in the power of discipline though the practice shows that it is vital for the efficient performance. Self-discipline allows people to monitor their achievements and do not give up. People tend to pity themselves and have breaks because of too many efforts. In many cases, individuals exaggerate their accomplishments. A self-discipline allows one to control achievements and improve efficacy (Rosso par. 1-3). Gardens’ self-discipline is another example to follow. He decides to call at least two hundred people a day. It is tough but it what makes him unique and gives him hope for the better future.
The determination is of particular importance for professional sales as well. Salespeople know that it is crucial to try one more time and never give up. The determination may be defined as “the act of deciding on the desired outcome and taking action to achieve it” (Lannarino par. 6). The determination is an internal power that makes person continue moving towards the particular goal. In sales, a determination is necessary for success. Salespeople often hear “no”. That is the determination that makes them try again. Persistence allows a seller to believe that there is always a chance of success.
Since the very beginning, Chris Gardner decides to succeed regardless of circumstances. During the story, he faces numerous problems but none of them distracts him from his primary intention. Another feature of Gardner’s determination is that he does not blame anything or anyone for his failures. This fact shows that the need to justify oneself should not be prevailing. It is also a sign of a weak will. Finally, Chris has a vision of what he wants. Visualization is useful technique not only in sales but everyday life too. People have to think about and visualize their dreams to achieve them. The power of visualization is immense, and it helps people to retain their determination.
An extreme competence characterizes the domain of professional sales. One has to possess a set of different skills and abilities to become a successful salesperson. Salespeople should be able to work under various circumstances. A setting of goals is the initial stage of success. Then, it is necessary to have a positive attitude towards the work. One should be optimistic and hope for the better. Nothing can be achieved without proper motivation. Motivation is crucial to the success in any sphere. Self-discipline and determination are of particular significance for sales. The success in this field depends on the ability to try one more time and never give up.
Frey, Bruno and Margit Osterloh. Successful Management by Motivation. Boston, Massachusetts: Springer Science & Business Media, 2013. Print.
Jamail, Nathan. The Sales Professionals Playbook. Henderson, Nevada: Scooter Publishing, Inc., 2013. Print.
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The Pursuit of Happyness. Dir. Gabrielle Muccino. Sony Pictures, 2006. Film.
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Woods, Gae-Lynn. Examples of Positive Attitude. 2014. Web.