Friday, November 25, 2016

How to Be Like Walt: Capturing the Disney Magic Every Day of Your Life

How to Be Like Walt: Capturing the Disney Magic Every Day of Your LifeHow to Be Like Walt: Capturing the Disney Magic Every Day of Your Life by Pat Williams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is an excellent book. I recommend it to everyone. after you read the quotes below just remember that the book is 400 pages, so there is so much more! Enjoy and be inspired:

“We are all born to be who we are. What was the genetically unique individual who was going to be himself. His job, and ours as well, is to finish the job on earth that we were created for.” ~Ray Bradbury writer

Now more than ever, we need people with the qualities Walt had: optimism, imagination, creativity, leadership, integrity, courage, boldness, perseverance, commitment to excellence, reverence for the past, hope for tomorrow and faith in God.

But that’s just the point of this book. Walt was unique – – and so are you! The attitudes and traits we learn from Walt’s life teach us how to be more uniquely who we are and who we were meant to be. If each of us would dream big dreams, approach life with hope and confidence, and persevere until our dreams come true, then we would not only be more like Walt, but we would become the people God created us to be.

“They called Walt a genius, and he was. But in a real sense, while Walt was just an average man who could relate to other average people. So what is a genius, really? If we could learn the lessons of Walt’s life, maybe we could all be geniuses.” ~John Kimball, son of animator Ward Kimball

When Walt Disney was just a boy, his father put him to work in the harsh conditions of a Kansas City blizzard – – and kept the money Walt earned. Even so, Walt embraced the nostalgia for his early years while dreaming big dreams of the future.

Walt once said, “I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing – that it was all started by a mouse.” In reality, it all started with a boy. Here is that boy’s story.

Walt chose to emulate his father’s best traits: faith in God, faith and his fellow man, a strong work ethic, honesty and integrity, perseverance, a tolerance for risk, compassion for people, love of music, and love for family.

“His parents were plain people who moved from one section of the country to another in fertile search of the American dream. Young Walt showed no brilliance as a student; he daydreamed through his classes. Cartooning proved his major interest, but his drawings were uninspired; as soon as he could hire better cartoonists, he gave up drawing entirely. It seems incredible that the unschooled cartoonist from Kansas City… could have produced works of unmatched imagination. ~Bob Thomas, Disney Biographer

A fourth-grade teacher once scolded Walt for exercising his Disneyesque imagination on a class assignment. The students were shown a bowl of flowers to sketch. Walt drew the flowers with faces – – a foretaste of the humanize flowers in the Silly Symphonies and Alice in Wonderland. “Flowers,” the teacher sternly admonished, “do not have faces!”
The two twenty year-olds, Walt and Ub were the “old men” at Laugh-O- Gram. The other employees were still in their teens. (Two of them, Hugh Harmon and Rudolf Ising, would later create the Looney Tunes and Merry Melodies series for Warner Brothers.)

“Walt was not afraid to surround himself with the best artist he could hire. He was not threatened by having better people around him. Eventually all his old Laugh-O- Gram animators from Kansas City came out to California to work for him.” ~Brian Burnes, co-author, Walt Disney’s Missouri

“Walt’s older brother Roy devoted his life to helping Walt finance his dreams. Outside of Watt’s on personal drive and creativity, Roy O. Disney was the single most important factor in Walt’s ultimate success.” ~Ken Annakin, Disney Movie Director

“Walt was the best salesman in the world because he felt he wasn't selling." Wolfgang Reitherman, Disney Animator

Build these qualities into your life and you can sell like Walt. Those five qualities are honesty, enthusiasm, confidence, courage and persistence. Let's take a closer look:

1. Honesty. The best salesmen are people of integrity. A great salesman lives on repeat business. The key to repeat business is trust, and the key to trust is integrity.

Always tell the truth about your product. Never promised more than you can deliver. It's better to under-promise and over-deliver than the other way around.

2. Enthusiasm. All great salesmen are fired up about their product. Enthusiasm is contagious; it affects everyone around you.

3. Confidence. Great salesmen always brim with confidence, even in tough times.

Selling is all about attitude. You must believe you can sell your product even in a down economy, even in an off-season, even if you've been in a slump. Confidence is not a feeling; it's an attitude choice. Even if you don't feel confident, you can still adopt an attitude of confidence.

You may not be comfortable selling yourself or your product, but so what? Nobody is comfortable selling. Nobody ever became successful by staying within their comfort zone. If you want to succeed, you have to do what Walt did: take a big, confident step outside your comfort zone, and start selling your dreams.

4. Courage. The biggest obstacle every salesman faces the fear of rejection. Psychological studies show that high-achieving, successful people are not overly concerned about what others think.

5. Persistence. The most important part of selling his persistence. Nothing that is worthwhile comes easy.

“Walt Disney worked hard and sold his ideas from the earliest days of his career. He had no MBA, not even a college degree. But Walt had the right idea and the right spirit, and he was willing to go out and sell his ideas. He was a world-class salesman." ~Peter Clark, Retired Disney Executive

“Actually, it’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” ~Walt Disney

“Walt was in the business of believing the impossible,” Lynn told me. “To him, the impossible was always possible. Now, of course, we are getting into the realm of God and faith, because God is in the business of making the impossible possible in our lives. As Jesus once said, ‘All things are possible to him who believes.’

Wendell Warner told me, “I heard Walt say, many times, ‘I’m not interested in what man can’t do. I want to know what he can do.’

"Today, you hear people talk about ‘thinking outside the box.’ But Walt would say, ‘No! Don't think outside the box!’ Once you say that, you've established that there is a box. Walt would refuse to accept the existence of the box.”

Walt chose to respond creatively. He responded with imagination instead of retaliation. He said, in effect, "I'll solve this problem by creating something new, something the world has never seen before." So Walt created Mickey Mouse.

“Mickey was the first cartoon character to stress personality. I thought of him from the first as a distinct individual, not just a cartoon type or symbol going through a comedy routine.” ~Walt Disney.

Creativity is the ability to unleash the imagination so that we can envision what has never existed before.

Some people believe that creativity is a talent that you are either born with or not. I'm convinced that creativity is a skill that can be learned and nurtured. All people are essentially creative because we are all made in the image of a creative God.

Here are some creative insights drawn from Walt’s life:

1. Draw on all of your life experiences. Everything that has ever happened to you is grist for the mill of your imagination. Don’t waste your experiences. Remember them, reflect on them, and let them inspire you.

“Ideas percolated in Walt’s memory for years, from his childhood to the trips he made to South America and Europe. On one European vacation, he bought an arm load of mechanical toys – – birds, poodles, and so forth– – and these toys inspired him to build a system of robotics called Audio-Animatronics. That invention changed entertainment history.” ~Stacia Martin, Disney Artist and Historian

2. Remove the limits from your imagination. Most of our limitations are actually self-imposed. We limit ourselves by worrying about the “right” or “proper” way to do things. The moment we place limits on imagination, creativity shuts down.

Sometimes creative thinking demands that we set aside the rules of logic and make an intuitive leap to a completely new range of ideas.

3. Consider all possible solutions to every problem. Creative people look at the problems and challenges from every angle. They don’t want one solution they want hundreds.

4. Silence your inner critic. We all have that little voice inside us that criticizes our ideas and inhibits our inner creativity. Our inner critic nags at us and warns us not to take chances or color outside the lines. Creative people learn to shut off that critical voice so they can explore the outer limits of their imagination.

5. To be creative, be courageous. “People called Walt a dreamer, and he was,” said Bob Thomas. “But he was so much more, because he dared to risk everything to make his dreams come true.”

6. Work hard. Authentic creativity doesn't just dream; it builds. It turns fairytale dreams into castles. "If you can dream it," Walt said, "you can do it."

7. Ask yourself, “What if –?” Creative people don’t say, “I always do it this way.” They question assumptions. They ask, “what if we could find a better way?”

“There was a moral foundation to Walt’s movies that people tapped into—a basic moral foundation. In Disney films, you see strong values and role models. You see the importance of being kind to others, of serving others, of finding joy even in adversity. All of this reflects the Judeo-Christian worldview that Walt was raised in.” ~Les Perkins, Video Producer and Disney Historian

In the author’s book, “The Paradox of Power,” he distilled the art of leadership down to seven essential components. Walt Disney perfectly exemplifies every one of them: Vision, Communication Skills, People Skills, Good Character, Competence, Boldness, and a Servant’s Heart. Let’s take a closer look at each one:

1. Vision
Great leaders are people of vision. Your vision is your definition of success. Not all visionaries our leaders, but all leaders are visionaries. You can't lead people without a vision of where you are taking them.

“Think beyond your lifetime, if you want to do something truly great. Make a fifty-year master plan. A fifty-year master plan will change how you look at the opportunities in the present.” ~Walt Disney

2. Communication Skills
A great leader is also a great communicator.

What made Walt such an inspiring communicator? He understood that communication is more than words – – we communicate with their eyes, are smile, our hands, our posture and our bearing.

“I was stumped one day when a little boy asked, ‘Do you draw Mickey Mouse?’ And I had to admit I do not draw anymore. ‘Then you think of all the jokes and ideas?’ ‘No,’ I said, ‘I don’t do that.’ Finally he looked up at me and said, ‘Mr. Disney, just what do you do?’ ‘Well’ I said, ‘sometimes I think of myself as a little bee. I go from one area of the studio to another, and I gather pollen. I sort of stimulate everybody. I guess that’s the job I do.’” ~Walt Disney

Walt was a great communicator in part because he listened so well.

3. People Skills
Walt once said, “You can dream, create, design and build the most wonderful place in the world, but it requires people to make that dream a reality.” Everything Walt achieved, he achieved through people. Not one of Walt’s accomplishments was a solo effort. To be a leader, you must have people skills: the ability to delegate; the ability to manage the results; the ability to inspire loyalty; the ability to create an atmosphere of creative freedom and informality; the ability to turn a collection of talented individuals into a team; and the ability to create an atmosphere of teamwork.

"Walt wanted to manage the creative process without intruding on it. So, after work, he would go study the artists’ desk, bulletin boards, and even the wastebaskets. Janitors would say he'd sit there and study at his artists’ work for hours." ~Harriet Burns Disney Imagineer

4. Good Character
A leader must have good character in order to inspire other people with his vision for the future. As leadership guru John Maxwell observed, "people buy into the leader before they buy into the leader’s vision."

“He created Mickey Mouse and produced the first full length animated movie. He invented the theme park and originated the modern multi media corporation. … But the most significant thing Walt Disney made was a good name for himself.” ~Richard Schickel, Film Critic, TIME MAGAZINE

5. Competence
The word competence means “the state or quality of being well-qualified, skilled, knowledgeable, and able to perform a given roll.” Noticed that the first seven letters of the word “confidence” C-O-M-P-E-T-E. Your people need to know that you are a competent and competitive leader. If they know you will fight hard to win, they will follow you anywhere.

6. Boldness
Boldness is courage, confidence, and adventurous spirit, and a willingness to take risks. Bold leaders master their fears, act decisively, and except the consequences of their decisions.

7. A Servants Heart
I believe the ultimate test of leadership is this: Does this person have the heart of a servant? If you don’t have a servants heart, you are not a leader just a boss.

In 1936, Disney’s distribution agreement with United Artist came up for renewal. This time around, the UA attorneys inserted the strange clause in the contract, asking Walt to sign over all rights to exhibit his film on experimental new technology called “television.” Walt refused to sign. “I don’t even know what television is,” he said, “so I’m not going to sign away my rights to something I know nothing about.” After negotiations with UA broke down, Walt cut a deal with RKO Radio Pictures, giving Disney seventy percent of the gross while permitting Disney to retain all television rights. Though no one could have imagined the future importance of television, Walt’s decision to retain TV rights for his films would prove to be a stroke of brilliance.

After three years of work and $2.6 million, Pinocchio premiered in New York City on February 7, 1940. Artistically, it is regarded as one of Disney’s finest productions. Commercially, however, Pinocchio was a flop. The person responsible for undermining Pinocchio’s success was an Australian-born dictator by the name of Adolf Hitler.

Disney’s film budgets were partly based on earnings from European distribution. On September 1, 1939 – – five months before Pinocchio opened – – Hitler sent his Nazi storm troopers into Poland, igniting World War II. The outbreak of war closed the lucrative European markets to Disney’s films and Pinocchio failed to earn back its production cost in its initial release.

“People mistakenly think of Walt as a creator of children’s entertainment. When Walt was at the top of his artistic form, he made movies for everyone, not just children. Snow White and Pinocchio were suitable for children but tremendously sophisticated. It was filmmaking at its best. ~J.B. Kaufman, FILM HISTORIAN, COAUTHOR OF WALT IN WONDERLAND

“My dad would quote Walt Disney: ‘Do a good job. You don’t have to worry about the money; it will take care of itself. Just do your best work then try to trump it.’” ~Don Iwerks, Son of UBS Iwerks, Longtime Disney Employee and Founder of Iwerks entertainment

Walt Disney, Leopold Stokowski, and the Disney engineers broke new ground with Fantasia’s revolutionary Fantasound multi-track sound system. It was not only the first film with stereophonic sound; it was the film that invented stereophonic sound. Though The Sorcerers Apprentice was recorded in California, the rest of the music was recorded by Stokowski's Philadelphia Orchestra in the historic Philadelphia Academy of Music.

Walt Disney teaches us to do what you love. Fall in love and stay in love with and what you’re doing. With Walt, cartoons started it. They said Snow White wouldn’t work, but Walt did it because he loved it. The same with Fantasia—a commercial failure at the time, but what a magnificent failure! Fantasia set the standard. Walt lived his loves. His life shouts to us, ‘Don’t try to please others! Be yourself!’” ~Ray Bradbury, Writer

Walt committed his studio to producing films for the government at cost – – Disney’s contribution to the war effort.

“Walt had a burning desire for excellence in everything he did. He was always thinking, ‘we can do it better’. That’s a common trait of all successful people.” ~Royal “Mickey” Clark, Former Treasurer of WED Enterprises

"Walt Disney was adamant about quality. He always found new ways to ‘plus the experience.’ He wanted to give people more than they anticipated. ~Dan Viets, Disney Historian and Co-author, WALT DISNEY’S MISSOURI

“If Walt made one million from one picture, he didn’t retire to Miami. He’d take that million, borrow another million and make another picture.” ~Charles Shows, Disney Writer-Director

“Walt Disney taught me to always go for the highest quality and never settle for less. Nothing but the best quality products ever left a studio, no matter what it cost.” ~Bob Brunner, Disney Composer

“We make movies that children are not embarrassed to take their parents to.” ~Walt Disney

“Fantasy, if it’s really convincing can’t become dated, for the simple reason that it represents a flight into a dimension that lies beyond the reach of the time.” ~Walt Disney

“Our goal at Disneyland is to always give the people more than they expect. As long as we keep surprising them, they’ll keep coming back. But if they ever stop coming, it’ll cost us ten times that much to get them to come back.”

No matter what business you’re in, your success depends on your commitment to excellence and attention to detail. If you deliver more than people expect, you will turn clients into fans. If you go out of your way to make people feel special, they will go out of their way to buy your product.

“Lillian used to say, ‘But why do you want to build an amusement park? They’re so dirty.’ I told her that was just the point – – mine wouldn’t be.’” ~Walt Disney

“Walt loved the story of Davy Crockett, and he lived by Davey’s motto: ‘Be sure you are right, then go ahead,’ That’s why Walt put Davy Crockett on TV. He made the kind of entertainment he liked to watch.” Stacia Martin, Disney Artist and Historian

The Disneyland opening ceremonies were scheduled for live coverage on the ABC television network. Walt chose his friend, Art Linkletter, to host the show.[It was determined they needed two co-hosts]

Linkletter didn’t hesitate. “I know two fellas who would be the perfect for the job: Bob Cummings and Ronnie Reagan.” So Walt had his broadcast team – – genial TV host Art Linkletter, popular actor Robert Cummings, and future President Ronald Reagan.

Walt’s nephew, Roy E. Disney told me, “If Walt had one great gift, it was that he kept his head down and kept trying.

“When things are going good, I’m afraid something’s going to crack under me any minute. A kick in the pants can be the best thing in the world for you.” ~Walt Disney

“Walt wanted everything done right. He’d walk around the park in old clothes, so that people wouldn’t recognize him. If he saw a carpenter doing careless work, he’d say, ‘You know, that looks a little sloppy. You should take more pride in your work.’ The carpenter would wonder. ‘Who does that guy think he is? Walt Disney?’”   ~John Kimball, son of Ward Kimball and Longtime Disney Employee

“At the opening ceremonies for the Disneyland Monorail, when Richard Nixon attended, Walt and Nixon took a test ride on the Monorail. Round and round they went. Finally, we had to shut the power off to get Walt to stop at the station.”  ~John Catone, Longtime Disneyland Empolyee

Disney produced yet another innovation: the first TV broadcast and simulcast stereo. On January 30, 1959, Disney aired “The Peter to Tchaikovsky Story.” In some cities, the audio portion was broadcast buy a pair radio stations. If you had two radios, you could tune one to receive the right channel and the other to receive the left.         

Walt’s friend, Art Linkletter, shared a memory with me that reveals Walt’s heart for young people. “Walt gave me a gift on my birthday one year,” he said. “It’s a four by six photo of a small boy looking off in the distance. There is a single word across the bottom of the photo – – ‘Priorities’ – – and below that word is this statement: ‘A hundred years from now it will not matter what is in your bank account, or what kind of car you drive. It will only matter that you made a difference in the life of a child.’

“Think beyond your lifetime if you want to accomplish something truly worthwhile.”   ~Walt Disney

He envisioned nothing less than a planned community in which thousands of people would live, work, play and dream. It would be his gift to the human race – – a clean, healthy, crime-free community where new technologies could be tested and showcased.” What I’m talking about,” he said, “is an Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. What does that spell? E-P-C-O-T. And that’s what we we’ll call it: EPCOT!”

He later described his utopian vision. “In EPCOT,” he said, “there will be no slum areas because we won’t let them develop there will be no landowners and therefore no voting control. People will rent houses instead of buying them, and at modest rentals. There will be no retirees; everyone must be employed. One of the requirements is that people who live in EPCOT must keep it alive.” Science-fiction writers have dreamed of such and community only Walt Disney dared to build it.

“Everybody can make their dreams come true. It takes a dream, faith in it, and hard work. Yet, the work isn’t all that hard because it is so much fun you hardly think of it as work.”  ~Walt Disney

“After Walt’s death, the EPCOT project fell apart because no one had the vision to carry it on. The whole company was lost without him.”  ~Randy Thornton, Award-Winning Producer Walt Disney Records

Like his heroes, Abe Lincoln, Thomas Edison, and Charlie Chaplin, Walt was largely a self-education man.  Though Walt’s formal education only went as far as his freshman year in high school, he was a brilliant and well-educated man. At an early age, Walt mastered the art of self-education. While most people view education as something they passively receive from teachers, Walt viewed education as something to be aggressively pursued. He exemplified an important life principal: successful people are those who have learned how to learn.

The genius of Walt Disney, I have boiled it down to six factors:

First, curiosity. Walt was intensely curious about everything life has to offer.

Second, knowledge. Walt had a thirst for knowledge. He tried to impart this level of knowledge to everyone around him.

Third, experimentation. Walt was always pushing the envelope and testing new ideas. He was on a continual quest for discovery, and he encouraged that same spirit in his staff.

Fourth, quality at all cost. His philosophy was, ‘Whatever you do, do it right.’ He was always reaching for perfection, and his eye never missed a detail.

Fifth, control. Walt hired the best people and gave them a lot of creative freedom. But he always had control of the final results.

Sixth, vision. He had a unique sense of what would sell, what the public wanted to see.

On July 17, 1955, Walt unveiled a radically innovative form of three-dimensional art. Some people called it a “theme park,” but it was actually a full-immersion multi-media experience combining motion, light, color, texture, sound, music, taste, smell, story, adventure, thrills, nostalgia, futurism, fact, fantasy, and audience participation. It was, that a time, the world’s largest art object, for it covered 160 acres of California real estate.

“We are not trying to entertain the critics. I’ll take my chances with the public.”   ~Walt Disney

“Once a man has tasted freedom he will never be content to be a slave. That is why I believe that this frightfulness we see everywhere today is only temporary. Tomorrow will be better for as long as America keeps alive the ideals of freedom and a better life. How men will want to be free and share our way of life.   ~Walt Disney March 1, 1941

“I thank God and America for the right to live and raise my family under the flag of tolerance, democracy and freedom.”   ~Walt Disney March 1, 1941

In matters of faith, as is so many other areas of his life, Walt was full of surprises – – and paradoxes. He was a deeply religious man who never went to church. He drank and smoked and swore, but he was also a man of faith and prayer.
Raised in a strongly religious home, the son of a Congregational deacon, Walt got a heavy dose of Christianity in his early years. He was required to attend Sunday school and church every week until he was old enough to leave home. He was named Walter after the Congregational minister Reverend Walter Parr.

Though Walt’s belief in God never wavered from childhood until death, his strict religious upbringing left him with a distaste for institutional religion and sanctimonious churchmen. The fact that Walt’s own father could often be dogmatic, narrow minded, and a severe disciplinarian and was undoubtedly a factory Walt’s alienation from the church. Walt rebelled against his strict religious upbringing – – but he didn’t become a nonbeliever, as many rebels do. Instead he became a non-practicing believer. He had faith in God, he lived Christian principles, but he avoided church involvement.

“I believe firmly in the efficacy of religion, and it’s powerful influence on a person’s home life. It helps immeasurably to meet the storms and stress of life and keep you attuned to the Divine inspiration. Without inspiration, we would perish.”   ~Walt Disney

“He was a very religious man, but he didn’t believe you had to go to church to be religious. . . . He respected every religion. There wasn’t any that he ever criticized. He wouldn’t even tell religious jokes.”   ~Sharon Disney Lund, Walt’s Daughter

Though not a church-goer, Walt was a moral, Christian man who lived out what he believed.

We’ve already looked at Walt’s compassion, his humility and servant-hood, his commitment to being an involved and loving father, and his utopian vision for a better world for all people everywhere. These qualities all spring from Walt’s Judeo-Christian worldview. And there is one more of Walt’s Christian qualities that needs to be mentioned: his Christian view of morality. Walt was a moral and upright man.

“I ask of  myself, ‘Live a good Christian life.’ Towards that objective I bend every effort in shaping my personal, domestic and professional activities and growth.”   ~Walt Disney

“He was also tolerant when an animator was arrested on a homosexual charge. Let's give him a chance; we all make mistakes,’ Walt said. The animator continued at the studio for years afterward.”   ~Bob Thomas Disney Biographer

How to be like Walt – – Lesson 17: Be the Person God Made You to Be

“Walt is ageless and timeless. He just got stopped in time when he died in 1966. I’m over 70 now, and people still think I'm Walt’s brother. My goodness, if I was Walt's brother, I’d have to be a hundred and twelve years old by now.   ~Roy E. Disney, Walt’s Nephew

You have been brought into this world by the grace of God. He has given you irreplaceable gifts and talents, and a personality that is uniquely you. As Ray Bradbury told me, “We are all born to be who we are.”

God has given each of us a mission in life, and the gifts and talents with which to accomplish that mission.

“My dad’s life teaches all of us to dream big dreams and believe in ourselves. When times get tough, don’t be discouraged – – keep working, keep trying. Be fair, generous, and compassionate in your dealings with others. Whatever you do, do it as excellently as you can. Be humble. Love your family. Trust God. And try to leave the world a better place than you found it.”  ~Diane, Walt’s daughter

Be that wonderful, genetically unique individual you were born to be, the person God created you to be – – then go out and change the world

For three decades, Thelma Howard was the cook and house keeper for the Disney family. For Christmas and birthdays, Walt gave her bonuses consisting of shares of Disney stock. He told her, "hang onto the stock, because it's going to grow in value." So Thelma Howard clung to that stock. She lived a modest lifestyle for the rest of her life, and she kept those stock certificates tucked away in a safe place. She died in the early 1980s, seemingly very poor. In her will, she left half of her belongings to her only son Michael who was in a home for the developmentally disabled. The other half she left to help poor and disabled children.

 After her death, as her possessions were being itemized, the executor of Thelma Howard’s estate found the stock certificates. The market value of those certificates was found to be $4.5 million. Thelma Howard died completely unaware that she was a millionaire.

Walt’s life challenges us to dream bigger, reach higher, work harder, risk more, and persevere as long as it takes.

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