If you can dream it, you can do it.
As you read Walt Disney’s life, you get a strong sense of someone who was not prepared to say no and would follow what he wanted to do. Firstly, Disney dropped out of school to join the army but the army wouldn’t accept him, as he was under age. Disney then decided to join the Red Cross where he drove the ambulance truck until the end of WWI. From here, he returned home and decided that he wanted to draw political characters for the newspaper; yet, no one would hire him. So, he got a job creating newspaper ads and met and formed a small company with Ubbe Iwerks. Through lack of experience they were unable to run the company themselves and were forced to join another company. However, this company didn’t last long and they were soon without their support and therefore their own company: out of a job once again.
Ever determined they formed a small company in their own right securing a deal with the local theatre and this was their first big break. Their popularity escalated and they were soon so popular that they were able to form their own studio employing many people to carry out character design and creation. Alas, neither of them were good with money and they were rapidly unable to afford their wages and they were declared bankrupt losing their staff and finding themselves once more on the dole queue.
Amazingly, they pooled what resources they had and, rather than settle for something small and reliable, moved to Hollywood and set up their own studio where they were finally able to have published Alice’s Wonderland: something that they had written earlier in their careers but were denied the opportunities through bankruptcy.
You would think that Disney’s troubles would be over but far from it. To cut a long story short, Ozwald: a character that had been hugely successful, was in fact not their intellectual property but Universal’s once more bringing Disney to his knees and once more losing his precious staff in the bargain. Yet, it was this adversity that fuelled the dreaming juices to flow. A mouse, who was to become the most famous character of them all, by the name of Micky, was created. (Mind you, he was originally named Mortimer. Mortimer Mouse doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it? It was his wife, Lillian who suggested ‘Micky’. Proof, if it were needed, that behind every great man is a great woman.)
Disney’s constant rejections and failures throughout his life: be it from employers, companies, employees and colleagues seemed to result in a ‘what next?’ approach; not one created out of the fear of impending disaster but one created out of the situation of opportunity. At any time, Disney could have given up. I imagine that it was during those times that he put his own quotation into practice. He dreamt that it could happen: that he could do the many varied things detailed in his wonderfully eclectic life.
He realised his dreams. They weren’t just ‘up-in-the-air’ whims: they were determined dreams. Dreams that one day he would have his studio and he would be doing what he clearly loved to do: to draw characters.
What are you dreaming at the moment? What steps can you take to live your dreams. You can, you know…