I set this article to post while I’m away in Disneyland with my daughters. Planning this trip made me stop and think about what it is about Disneyland that I love so much. I have many amazing memories of being here, both as a child, and as an adult.
To me, Disneyland is magic, pure magic. I realized there’s a little more to it than that. Disneyland was the vision of one man. Disneyland was the dream of one man. The dream of one man has had the power to bring so many incredible moments and memories to so many people. What if Walt Disney didn’t follow his dream?
I heard many years ago that Walt Disney was turned down over 200 times to obtain financing for Disneyland. I don’t know if the number is accurate, but if you think about it, what financial institution would finance a man’s dream to the tune of $17 million in 1955? Seventeen million dollars is still a lot by most people’s standards today, imagine what it was in 1955? I can only imagine how many times he was laughed at, or told he was crazy for trying to do this. This man risked everything for his dream.
He was criticized along the way, and the first couple weeks Disneyland was open were difficult. There were many challenges and obstacles that Disney had to overcome. There was a heat wave, rides broke down, there was a gas leak, a water leak and people forged tickets. Disneyland was quickly heading towards bankruptcy. But that didn’t stop Disney, he dug in to solve the problems and kept his vision alive, even if no one else could see it. Throughout this process, he kept the vision of creating a fun, clean environment for families that maintained a certain level of quality.
I am in complete awe of this man and his tenacity, commitment and vision. I realize we have a lot to learn from Mr. Disney.
If you have a dream, something you think about every day, don’t let obstacles and nay-sayers discourage you from following your dream. You will absolutely meet challenges and even potentially be seen as a little crazy, but that’s alright, you are not here to please everyone. Keep moving forward and tackling the challenges to find solutions.
Keep quality as one of your priorities. We seem to be a society that is intent on achieving results very quickly, and sometimes shortcuts are taken. Do the work and be proud of your results. It may take a bit longer, but dreams are not born overnight. They take time, effort and commitment.
Don’t make money your ultimate goal. I love money and I 100% completely support having wealth. What I mean by not making money your ultimate goal, is to have a goal based on your values and the money will come. I believe if Disney's goal was only financial wealth, Disneyland would not be the success it is today.
I also truly believe that money represents freedom and opportunity to most people. When I think about my life, I envision having the time and freedom to do what makes my heart sing. Money is absolutely a vehicle for this, but in the end, it won’t give me a sense of fulfillment on its own.
In pondering Disneyland and the journey of Walt Disney what really struck me this past couple of weeks is how much HIS dream benefitted so many people. I can’t imagine the joy he felt when he was able to see the happiness he brought to so many people. If that’s not ultimate fulfillment in life, I don’t know what is.
How does this translate to you and your life? Your dreams, whatever they are, are placed in you for a reason. They are not random, arbitrary or just some wild fantasy. They are unique to you and your experiences here in this lifetime. They are placed within you to be fully realized. None of us knows how our dreams will affect others, as I’m sure Walt Disney didn’t have a clue the impact his would have on so many people.
Write down your dreams. Make plans. Take action steps. Keep going even when it seems tough, when it seems like nobody supports you or believes in you. Believe in yourself. Believe in your vision. Keep moving forward. You deserve your dreams coming to fruition. You deserve to be blissfully happy and fulfilled.