Walt Disney's road to creativity
Walt Disney was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1901. He moved with his family to Marceline, Missouri in 1906. Walt credited Marceline with such great influence in his life that he believed nothing more influential was likely to happen to him in the future. For a five year old, the family farm provided opportunities to explore the natural world and be creative.
Walt was known not only for his hijinks that included using tar to draw on the family barn, but also for his skits and drawings that he would do for the local barber shop. People would pay him for his drawings and praise his creativity.
For Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, Walt dressed up as the 16th president. The principal was so impressed with Walt’s outfit and memorization of Lincoln’s that he took Walt to all of the school’s classrooms to play Lincoln for the day. It was this type of encouragement from the small town of Marceline that sent Walt on his way.
Walt once described himself as a bee. He would go from workspace to workspace and help his employees by making ideas better – kind of like pollinating flowers. He would dog ideas until they became workable and rarely forgot anything.
People would often think that Walt was distracted, but Walt’s mind moved so fast that he could remember everything that happened and what people said, even when he appeared not to be paying attention.
Walt was not only dogged in his pursuit of ideas. He was implacable when it came to confronting naysayers and barriers. He did not let lack of money stop him. Fortunately, he was able to share power with his brother Roy, who was able to provide the financial expertise that Walt may have lacked. It was through this partnership that Walt and Roy were able to build the Disney Empire.
Walt had several obstacles that he had to overcome. His company Laugh-O-Grams failed, and he moved out to Hollywood with $40 in his pocket and a reel of the Alice comedies. People doubted Walt Disney more than they supported him with both the first animated feature film, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” called Disney’s folly, and Disneyland. The eternal optimist, Walt knew when he was right and went ahead.
While Walt accomplished many things in his life including Mickey Mouse, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the forerunner to stereo and Disneyland, what he would be most proud of is creating an organization that continues to provide happiness and innovation. Walt was a man whose undying enthusiasm has its expression in the Walt Disney Company. Happiness is truly what Walt wanted to bring to people.
Walt believed that “the way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” While many people believe that creativity comes from long periods of introspection and quick inspiration, it is more often provided in the action of doing things aimed toward a goal that is larger than one can reasonably expect to reach.
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