One would never think that the "Wonderful World of Disney" and all that it entails - theme parks, films, television and merchandise to name a few - was eventually achieved by the never-ending, fearless strength of a single man - the entrepreneur and genius, Walt Disney himself.
A story published in Life Magazine' by 'Time Inc Specials' tells a story of this man's dream.
His is truly a story of sheer will....
Here are the Top 10 + things from Walt's life that we're gonna live by if the going gets tough.
1. Growing up poor in Kansas City, Missouri. He delivered papers in the deep snow to help his unsuccessful father who - many historians say, was violent and abused Walt Disney and his siblings.
2. In contrast to his stern, dour, abusive father, "Walt Disney remained energetic and above all, optimistic" says Michael Barrier, author of The Animated Man: A Life of Walt Disney. "Walt loved attention, briefly flirting with the idea of being an actor, but he was increasingly obsessed with drawing - in part because it provided an escape from his grim home life."
3. Walt Disney found a job at the Kansas City Slide Company. They produced live-action and cartoon advertisements. Sparked by his work, the ambitious Walt Disney, talked his boss into loaning him a camera.
4. Walt started making his own animated films in his father's garage on nights and weekends. "Long after everyone was in bed, Walt was out there still, puttering away, working away, experimenting, trying this and that." his older brother Roy Disney later said.
5. Walt Disney's first attempt at an iconic cartoon character was named "Oswald the Lucky Rabbit". However, the character was legally taken from him by another animator. He was devastated by this loss.
6. Still determined however - after his loss, Walt Disney and his team researched and researched magazines, advertisements and films for inspiration. He came up with a new character that he first named 'Mortimer Mouse'. Later, Walt's wife suggested calling the character "Mickey". "Mickey Mouse" was born.
7. (Can you believe?!) No one wanted his Mickey Mouse cartoons at first - but he kept on trying. He kept on asking...
8. Walt Disney struggled with bankruptcy, borrowing money and subsisting on beans from a can for YEARS until he had a hit with the Mickey Mouse cartoons in the late 1920's.
9. His now famous movies: Pinocchio, Fantasia and Bambi were a bomb at the box-office when they first came out.
10. Walt was committed to "plussing". His word for constant improvement.
11. Walt Disney was driven by the fear of financial insecurity. 'His drive to achieve the success and financial security he craved (and was obsessed with) - stemmed from his childhood insecurities'.
12. Following two devastating losses in his personal life - Walt Disney - in his words - had a "a helluva breakdown". He got very irritable and things got to a point that he couldn't talk on the phone without crying.
13. Walt Disney himself - was often either 'riding high' or suffering from what he called "the D.D.s" (disillusionment and discouragement).
14. On Walt Disney - a colleague once said regarding the public "People thought, 'I'd buy a used car from that man.' But he didn't set out to create that - it happened because he believed in what he was doing and that came through loud and clear."
15. On July 17, 1955 - When Disneyland first opened, people had waited so long and were so excited - that the line to get in was 7 miles long. Desperate to visit the much anticipated new 'Disneyland' - California's 100 degree temperatures did not deter fans.
16. The park was so hot that women's heels sunk into the overheated asphalt. The "Imagineeers" (The team of people who worked to create 'Disneyland') - had not anticipated the length of time the rides would need to run and many of the attractions malfunctioned or quite running all together.
17. However, even through intense crowds, television coverage gaffes, attraction malfunctions etc - Walt's belief and perseverance paid off and Disneyland was a hit and became synonymous with America.
18. Previously, Walt's company struggled through a debilitating strike, a catastrophic war and plenty more box-office-failures until finally.... the astronomical success of 'Disneyland' put the company in the black, erasing decades worth of debt.
19. Walt Disney's boyish enthusiasm was infectious, as was his desire to create a world that existed for one reason: to make people happy.
20. The author says: We tend to think of Walt Disney as going from one success to another, but - like many artists and entrepreneurs - his triumphs were punctuated by failure. Perseverance seems to be his key to success.
If the going gets tough... Think "Walt Disney" and Believe and Persevere!
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