Walt Disney is credited for saying, “Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” I think there have been very few people who understood this concept of carrying on in the face of adversity than Walt Disney. Some of you who read this blog are Disney Freaks, like me, and already know much about the history and the life of Walt Disney, but some of you may not. Walt Disney was not always a household name, believe it or not. It is hard for us today to imagine a world without Disney. You see the influence of Disney everywhere you go. Try to walk through the grocery store without seeing at least one Disney character, it is practically impossible. Mickey Mouse is one of the most recognizable and beloved characters in the whole world. But it used to not be that way, in fact, if you were to describe Walt in one word, many would have called him a failure. Before Mickey Mouse was created (and this is a VERY abridged version of Walt’s early life!) Walt endured failure after failure. He went through bankruptcy, his characters failed, he made bad, one-sided deals that eventually ruined him; yet with each and every failure, Walt picked himself up, brushed the dirt off of him and KEPT MOVING FORWARD. You may know about the loss of his first big character, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Oswald was a huge success, and Walt thought that he had finally created something that was going to put him in the big time. When Walt went to New York to discuss the terms for Oswald, he was informed by Charles Mintz that he did not own the rights to Oswald and, in fact, Mintz had gone behind Walt and hired practically all of his animators and staff away from Walt. For many people, this would have been the point of giving up. But we know the legendary tale of Walt on the train ride back home to California, drawing sketches of a mouse, that would later become the character that we all know and love: Mickey Mouse. What would have happened it Walt had said, “You know what, I’ve tried this whole animation thing, I have failed too many times. I quit!” We would not have Mickey, Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and the many other things that we do today.
I think the point is pretty simple. You WILL fail. It is important that you fail sometimes. But every time you fail, instead of wallowing on the ground in self pity, get back up and keep moving forward. There have been countless inventions never made and too many ideas never seen made real all because a person did not get back up after failing.
What did Giselle say in Zootopia? Birds don’t just fly, they fall down, then get up.
What did Dory say in Finding Nemo/Dory? Just keep swimming.
Here is a link to my new book, Level Up!