As you may already know from my post, 5 Overlooked Attractions, I love the Carousel of Progress. Many of you, who are a little bit older than me, remember a time when the Carousel of Progress was just a little bit different than it is now, the main difference being the theme song. For decades, the theme song for this attraction was “The Best Time of Your Life”, whereas now, the song is “Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow”. In this post, I would like to ask you an important question: Which philosophy should we live by? Now is the best time of your life or there’s a great big beautiful tomorrow?
Before we get into the “Life lesson” part of this post, allow me to clear something up. I have heard people lament the change of song. Some people do not like ANY change happening in Disney, and I have heard people say that they miss the original song “The Best Time of Your Life”. The truth is, this was not the original song. The Sherman Brothers had originally written “Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow” to be the theme for that attraction, believing that it captured the spirit of the attraction and the spirit of Walt himself. When the sponsors (General Electric) heard the song though, they did not like it and requested a new song to be written for the attraction, fearing that a focus on the future instead of on the “here and now” would encourage people to hold off on buying their products for a later time. The Sherman Brothers then came up with “Best Time of Your Life” to take its place. In 1986, General Electric dropped its sponsorship, which led to a refurbishment in 1994 and a restoration of the original song, the song that Walt originally wanted, “Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow”!
So which philosophy is right? Should we live in the here and now or be focused on the future? I believe that the correct answer to that is BOTH:
Now truly is the best time of your life, and the song puts it very well, “Yesterday’s memories may sparkle and gleam, tomorrow is still but a dream, right here and now you’ve got it made, the world’s forward marching and your in the parade”. The truth is, we look back on yesterday with fond memories, but that is all they are, memories. You are not living in the past, you are living in right now, the present. The song even goes further and explains that even on bad days, now is the best time of your life, “Now is the time, now is the best time, be it a time of joy or strife”. The lesson from this song is simple: Even on bad days, the bad days are still the present and the present is better than living in the past. We are moving forward, and the only way to move forward is by partaking in the present every day. So yes, now is the best time of your life. And the same will be true tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that. There is one downside to living “in the now” though, and that is that what we do “in the now” affects what happens tomorrow. That is why we ought to also live by the philosophy…
There’s a great big beautiful tomorrow. The Hedonist says, “Eat, Drink, and Be Merry. For tomorrow we die,” but the problem with that is that tomorrow you may not die, you could, but you may not. The actions of today have consequences on tomorrow. That is why it is so important to always remember that there is a great big beautiful tomorrow. Walt Disney believed that the future was bright, he believed in the march of progress and he understood that the future was made up of individual days in the present, that was why he was such a man of action. We always talk about how much of a dreamer Walt was, but he was much more than a dreamer, he was a DOER. A dream without actions will forever only be a fantasy.
Here is the big lesson today: Take actions every day that work toward progress. Every day do something that moves you forward. A lot of people wallow in stagnation or dwell on the past, but the world is forward marching and you are in the parade whether you like it or not. Pretty much, I just used a ride at Disney World to say in a round about way something that I have already posted on and a favorite quote of mine from Walt Disney: Keep Moving Forward!
Which of the two is your favorite song on Carousel of Progress? Let me know in the comments! Better yet, answer the poll!
Don’t forget about my self-help book, Level Up!