Real Life Joy: How this Movie Inspires You

An entrepreneurial journey is not easy, especially when you’re building something big. It can be tough to keep moving forward with confidence and positivity in the face of obstacles, set backs, mistakes, challenges, and adversaries that challenge your resolve. However, those who can, achieve amazing things.

One of these people is Joy Mangano, a broke single mother of two who became an American inventor and entrepreneur and whose rise to success in the 1990s with her self-wringing ‘Miracle Mop’ helped make her a millionaire 50 times over. The award-winning movie about this remarkable woman, called Joy, is a great source of inspiration for anyone pursuing their entrepreneurial dream. It’s a dizzy and recklessly brilliant fairytale of self-empowerment.

The movie creatively and accurately depicts the emotional roller coaster ride that comes with building a company of this magnitude. Viewers are forced to shift back and forth from Joy’s childhood to the present, and even fast-forward to the future and into her dream sequences, as they get a deeper level of understanding about the driving forces and life experiences that make a person like Joy, pursue this unforgiving path. The movie is symbolic of how erratic building an empire can be.

The movie gives viewers a front-row seat on this roller coaster ride, which has them feeling the high highs and low lows of Joy’s journey, as if it was their own. They also get an intimate insight into the focus, commitment and resilience that’s required to build a multi-million dollar empire.

Starting a company requires a lot of grit. Here are a few take home messages from the movie Joy.

Perseverance is Key
Joy perseveres every step of the way. She tolerates her highly dysfunctional family because she needs, loves and cares for them, despite their complicated motives and lackluster support. She also perseveres in the face of rejection, failure, and even defies her own bankruptcy despite it seeming impossible to avoid.

Play By Your Own Rules
On her rise to success, Joy steps out from the shadow of her family and becomes her own person, setting her own rules and playing by them. One example of this is when, after her initial Miracle Mop ‘flop’ on live television, she refuses the TV Network’s stance that the product can’t sell. She takes matters into her own hands and marches in unannounced to see her producer, Neil, and insists that it was the demonstrator – not the product – that had failed; and is successful in getting a second chance.

She also refuses to pay for her manufacturer’s blunders, even when it jeopardises her supply chain and angers her key investor, who is also her father’s rich girlfriend. There is another memorable scene when she is trying on a dress that the TV producer wants her to wear on her TV infomercial, and she opts to change back into her everyday-wear of a blouse and pants, saying “This is Who I Am. I want to go on as me.”

You Can’t Go it Alone
Joy’s countless setbacks would be difficult to stomach, if not for the comic relief that her family affords. Her father, though full of good intentions, is oblivious and has his own problems including a failed long term relationship and subsequently being thrown out of his house and taken in by good-hearted Joy. Meanwhile Joy’s mother, who she supports at home, lies helplessly in her bed all day obsessed with watching soap operas, never having recovered from her divorce. They make archetypal dysfunctional parents. Joy’s ex-husband, who remains in her basement like a half-forgotten pile of magazines, isn’t the hardest working or smartest man, but he’s sweetly committed to Joy and her venture, and offers wisdom at the times that she needs it most. Then there is her passive-aggressive half-sister, Peggy, who becomes jealous of Joy’s new found success and obstructs her endeavours; yet she is the sister she’s grown up with, loves and endures despite her many failings.

Find a Positive Role Model
This movie shows the importance of having a positive role model who believes in you and what you’re capable of – even in times when you don’t believe it yourself. For Joy, her positive role model and biggest supporter is her grandmother, who encourages her to pursue her inventing ambitions and shows her unwavering belief that Joy will become a “strong and successful woman”; even going so far as to say that Joy is a future matriarch. After the heartbreaking and sudden loss of her only positive role model, Joy feels her grandmother’s unrelenting support and belief in her from beyond the grave, which is evident in the funeral scene when Joy thinks she is connecting with her grandmother’s spirit.

This movie is a highly inspiring and accurate depiction of entrepreneurship, and also conveys the powerful personal story that motivates a person like Joy, to strive for such heights. It gets 5 stars from me.