“It is okay to fail but not okay to quit,” said Chris Gardner to a packed audience at the 40th Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF), while he laid out the blueprint for actioning a dream into reality.

Discussing his new book, Permission to Dream, with Sally Mousa, the international best-selling author, entrepreneur and award-winning film producer, said: “Failure can be your best friend. You are going to learn things from failure that you cannot from success. The key lies in not making the same mistake twice.”


Sharing lessons of perseverance from his journey as a homeless and penniless parent to his meteoric rise as a successful entrepreneur and investor on Wall Street, the philanthropist revealed: “I am trying to change the trajectory of children’s lives and create the next Chris Gardner – some of them will be girls!”

In Permission to Dream, the motivational speaker delivers the secrets to success and provides the tools to turn dreams into action. The book, inspired by a trip with his then 9-year-old granddaughter, urges readers to achieve their ultimate dreams and become “world-class” at it.

It is not just enough to dream; every dream must also have a plan, emphasised Gardner, urging everyone to ask themselves two questions each morning as they look in the mirror: If you were given a chance to step out into the world tomorrow and do anything that you wanted, what would it be? Second, what have you done today to make that tomorrow possible? “If you have not taken the baby steps towards achieving your dream, it means you still have work to do. If you do not have the passion, maybe you should be doing something else.”

The author also recalled how, as he washed his 14-month-old son in a train station restroom years ago, he was forced to ask himself some hard questions: Why did this happen to me? How did I get here? “My answer - I drove here - hit me hard but was liberating too. I realised that If I drove here, I can drive out of here too. You can’t change something unless you own it.”

Gardner, who plans to work with the youth to supercharge their dreams, said that he is often asked about the odds of another rags-to-riches story ever happening again. “When you are on the journey to your dream, you don’t focus on the odds; you focus on the events.”

Gardener, whose new book also explores the concept of ‘Atomic Time’ – in which every second counts, left his audience with a final word of advice: “The biggest lesson the pandemic has taught us is that time is the ultimate asset. It has taught us all that you can make and lose money, but you cannot change time. So, it is important that we do the things we want to right now.”

By: Delroy Constantine-Simms