If you can dream it, you can do it.– Walt Disney
Have you ever been to any Disneyland park around the world? If you have been there, you will probably agree that there is something magical about the place. A Disney experience is such an emotional experience. It is like being in a world of imagination where everything is joyful and blissful. It magnifies all your senses. Minus the crowd and the long lines, Disneyland will make you feel like a child again, full of laughter and dreams. Disneyland truly deserves the title as the “happiest place on earth”. But did you know that everything that you see and feel in the Disney parks all started in the imagination of one man? Yes, millions of people around the world can feel and experience the Disney magic today because one man was able to dream it and visualize it. It’s all thanks to Walt Disney. Take some inspiration on some life-changing lessons from Walt Disney.
The Story of Walt Disney
Walter Elias Disney, popularly known as Walt Disney, was born on December 5, 1901 in Chicago, Illinois. He was one of five children. At a tender age of seven, he already started working. To help his family make ends meet, he worked as a newspaper boy. While in high school, he attended the night classes of the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. At 16 years of age, he joined the American Red Cross as an ambulance driver in France, after being rejected by the army for being underage during the first World War.
After the war, he became a night watchman. While working he began drawing animals at night. Although he wanted to become an actor at first because of his love for Charlie Chaplin, he opted to become a newspaper cartoonist instead. After his own cartoon “Laugh-O-Gram” became popular, he was able to acquire his own studio that produced a seven-minute live action and animation called Alice in Cartoonland. However, the studio went bankrupt after a few years in operation.
After some time, Walt, and his brother Roy decided to move to Hollywood to start anew. There, they created a character called Oswald the Lucky Rabbit together with cartoonist, Ub Iwerks. They were then able to strike a deal to have their cartoons distributed. Unfortunately, the rights to their cartoons were stolen by the New York Distributor.
The Birth Of Mickey Mouse
Out of desperation, they produced a new cartoon based on a character named Mickey Mouse. The audience was not impressed but the team did not give up. On the third animated film, Steamboat Willie, Mickey Mouse became an instant hit!
In 1929, Disney introduced Mickey’s friends – Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy and Pluto. In 1937, the first full-length animated film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was shown in movie theatres. The movie earned $8 million dollars despite the Great Depression happening at that time. The film made Walt Disney a millionaire.
The Birth of Disneyland
Despite the financial success brought about by the film production company, in Walt Disney’s mind, he still envisions an imaginary world of fairy tales. Unfortunately, investors were wary. Even his brother Roy, did not support him with his new idea. Still, Walt Disney persisted. After being turned down 302 times, he finally got financing for his dream in creating the Walt Disney World.
In 1955, the first Disneyland Theme Park opened in Anaheim, California. Today, there are 14 Disney Theme Parks around the world: 2 in California, 4 Disney parks and 2 water parks in Florida, 2 in Tokyo, 2 in Paris, 1 in Hong Kong and 1 in Shanghai. As of 2018, about 726 million accumulated visitors were recorded to have visited the Disney parks since they opened.
Life-Changing Lessons from Walt Disney
Walt Disney’s life story is so inspiring that there are so many life-changing lessons the we can learn and apply in our lives:
1.Nothing is Impossible
Walt Disney grew up in poverty but this did not stopped him from reaching his dreams. If he just accepted his circumstances back then, then he would have not been able to inspire millions of people around the world today.
If you are born poor, it’s not your mistake, but if you die poor it’s your mistake.– Bill Gates
2.Stand Up After Failure
Walt Disney did not just fail once or twice. He failed multiple times on his businesses. He also was rejected 302 times before he was able to secure funding for Disneyland. What is inspiring is how he was able to stand up despite all the failures and rejections. How about you? Did you give up the first time? The second time? How about after 50 failures and rejections? How about 100? 200? Will you be able to go on? It takes a lot of courage and perseverance to be able to do what he did.
Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fall.– Confucius
3. Do What You Love
One of the reasons why Walt Disney stayed motivated and did not give up was because he followed his passion. It will be very difficult to continue doing what you are doing if you do not love what you are doing. Passion is your key to success. Why do you think the likes of Bill Gates, Kobe Bryant and BTS are so successful in their own fields? What’s the rule of success that these people followed?
4. Believe in Yourself
Although the odds were not on his favor, Walt Disney believed that he can do it. During that time, the first world war had just ended. And remember that it was also the time of the Great Depression. It is quite similar to what is happening right now. People lost their jobs and the world economy was in recession. They just emerged from the flu pandemic that affected one third of the world’s population. Yet, he believed in the power of his dreams.
5. Visualization Works
Everything that you see and experience in Disneyland today started on Walt Disney’s imagination. He was able to imagine a whole new world on his mind. In fact, every man-made thing that you see around you started on one’s person’s imagination. That’s how powerful the mind is. As what Walt Disney believed, if you can see it in your mind, you can do it. Pursue your dreams and turn them into reality.
All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.-Walt Disney
Updated version. First published in Pinoy Smart Living on 09.06.2018.