Monday, November 19, 2007

It's a Small World...With Big Possibilities


"All the adversity I've had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me... You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you."
Walt Disney

I am presently reading a biography on the Life of Walt Disney. I like to read about People who have accomplished a great deal in their lives. It gives me great inspiration. Some may have called Walt an eccentric. Some may have called him a dreamer. Many would never have gotten up as many times as Walt Disney did, after being , not only knocked down, but taken advantage of, and the truth be told--failing. Yes, he did fail many, many times on the road to becoming one of the most recognized names in American History. So, he had great courage in the face of defeat, and pushed forward as he was driven not only by excellence, but also by novelty itself. He did not only want to improve on an existing concept--he wanted to create new concepts all together.

Walt's family moved numerous times in his youth, but what left the most indelible mark on him was living in a small idyllic town in Kansas City. As the child of a father who would not settle for mediocrity, he was expected to work from a very young age delivering newspapers there for the family paper route. This allowed him little time to be a child, yet every spare moment he did have was spent in an imaginary world created by his own pencil. He created characters and visions all through out his school days, and there were people along the way who encouraged young Walt--People whose comments, Walt says supported his great passion--Like his High School Principal who honored him at graduation with an award-- "the Artist" and a local shop keeper who would display his drawings on his shop window, eventually paying Walt to create an ongoing series, which his customers looked forward to seeing each week.

It wasn't until Walt was able to successfully create animation with audio--on the heels of Al Jolsen's The Jazz Singer, that Walt Finally seemed to make it--but the demands he placed on himself and his colleagues for excellence and novelty strained his family life, business life and his own mental health --eventually suffering a breakdown, realizing at last the need to balance work with leisure. He did come back stronger, but continued to struggle with a need not only to outdo himself, but ultimately, whether he realized it or not at the time, with a desire to create leisure for the common man. Very Interesting, indeed, that what Disney World represents today is Leisure itself, fantasy, and family.

"The more you like yourself, the less you are like anyone else, which makes you unique."
-Walt Disney

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