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The Inspiring Story Behind the Creator of the Great Fairy Tales

The Inspiring Story Behind the Creator of the Great Fairy Tales

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them” – Walt Disney.

Whenever you think about great individuals who started from very humble beginnings and achieved extraordinary success, who comes to your mind? For me, Walt Disney springs to my mind first.

Walt Disney was a remarkable creative entrepreneur, animator, voice actor and film producer. He was the recipient of 22 Academy Awards and was nominated 59 times for producing iconic cartoons and animated films that we all love and enjoy even today, including Mickey Mouse.

A pioneer of the American animation industry, Disney founded the multi-billion-dollar Walt Disney Company that consists of various associated film production and distribution companies, cable channels, and television stations and networks. He even founded amusement parks for families to enjoy.

Disney’s journey to the top wasn’t as smooth sailing as many people imagine, though. Like many of us, he experienced many challenges along the way and he had to overcome big obstacles to succeed. Here are some facts about Walt Disney that most people don’t know but should.

1. He wasn’t born rich at all.

You might be tempted to think that Walt Disney achieved all he did because he came from a well-off family. He didn’t. For most of his childhood, Disney’s parents had to move the family across different states looking for work and economic security.

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At the age of 19, Disney started drawing cartoons of the creatures from his childhood for sale. But, he got so little money to pay the rent, often being forced to live with friends and go without food.

That Disney rose from this humble background to become a household name is quite inspiring. It demonstrates that you don’t have to be born rich to make your own success.

    2. He was told that he “lacked creativity”.

    Hard to believe, but Walt Disney – the creative genius behind the Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Pluto and many other classic cartoon characters – was written off as lacking in creativity and artistry. When Disney pitched newspaper companies to get his cartoons published, they shut him down saying he “lacked artistic integrity,” But, though rejected, he kept going. He did not stop pitching his ideas.

    People will criticize and even write you off for pursuing your dreams, but keep going. No one knows you better than you know yourself. No one knows your innermost dreams better than you. Listen to your heart and pursue your dreams relentlessly like Disney. It might not be easy, but it will be worth it in the end.

    3. He failed many times (apparently more than 300 times).

    Most people won’t even put 100 attempts toward their dream let alone fail 300 times. But Walt Disney failed over 300, including the heartbreaking period when his first studio that focused on animation called Laugh-O-Gram went bankrupt and shut down. Each time he failed, he learnt his lesson and tried again. When you believe in your dream as much as Disney did, even repeat failure cannot keep you from ultimate success.

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    Rather than focusing on the past, focus instead on the future achievements you want. “When you believe a thing, believe it all the way, implicitly and unquestionably,” Disney said.

      4. He spent his Saturdays with his two daughters.

      Although Walt Disney was an incredibly busy man, he always put family first. And he adored his two daughters, Diane and Sharon Disney. On Saturdays he would always take the girls out for the day, sit and eat peanuts, while watching his girls on the carousel. It was on one such trip that the idea occurred to him that there should be an amusement park for families to enjoy together.

      In July 1955, Disney hosted the world premiere of his new amusement park in California, the legendary Disneyland. Disney said on Disneyland’s opening day that he hoped the park will be “a joy and inspiration to all the world.” It did.

      5. He labored for seven years just to plan out Disneyland.

      Disneyland didn’t just happen overnight. Walt Disney labored long and hard for seven years just to plan out the project. Whereas most people would simply give up after a year or so of trying, Disney was determined to create what he envisioned would be the “happiest place on earth.” Always keep the bigger picture in mind. And be inspired by the greater good for all. As Disney said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.”

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        6. He dropped out of high school to pursue his dream—animation.

        Although education was extremely important to Walt Disney, which explains why he helped create the California Institute of the Arts, he dropped out of high school to pursue his true passion, animation. Disney decided to only pursue work he loved.

        Sometimes we have to weigh our options, circumstances carefully and make bold decisions that will better align us with our truest passion and goals. “A person should set his goals as early as he can and devote all his energy and talent to getting there. With enough effort, he may achieve it. Or he may find something that is even more rewarding,” Disney said. And just because you don’t have a formal education, doesn’t mean you cannot reach your dreams. You can.

        7. He worked other jobs to fund his passion.

        Disney went through a series of odd jobs, including working a summer job selling snacks and newspapers to travelers at a Kansas City railroad that his uncle worked, becoming an ambulance driver in the army during World War I, and taking up a comic artist job in a local newspaper. Whatever money he made, he directed it back to his main love–animation.

        “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing,” he said. Don’t be afraid of humble beginnings. You have to start from somewhere. Remember, great oaks grow from tiny seeds.

          8. He was “scared to death” to introduce Disneyland on television.

          Walt Disney admitted to being “scared to death” when he had to face the camera to introduce episodes of the “Disneyland” television series. But, he went through with it anyway. He never quit in the face of fear; he pushed forward despite of it.

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          Achievers give it a go even when it scares them. They muster courage to introduce their work to the world and do whatever else it takes to succeed–even if it means going against conformity. Don’t let fear stop you from doing what you have to do to make your dreams come true. Just do your best work and keep improving on what your best is every day. You’ll be fine.

          9. He almost didn’t finish the studio production of Snow White.

          When Walt Disney first started to work on the legendary “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves” film, his wife and brother tried to convince him to give it up because of the daunting task it involved. The idea of a technicolor, fully–animated, feature–length film had never been done before. The Snow White project was even dubbed “Disney’s Folly” by industry professionals. And halfway through production Disney ran out of money to continue the work.

          Most people in this situation would just quit and get whatever they can out of what’s left. Disney persevered. He traveled around and showed clips of the raw film to producers in hopes of them funding his project. He even mortgaged his own house to raise additional funds to create the film. In the end this hustle was what enabled him to finish the classic Snow White film and save his studio.

          Never let challenges and naysayers stop you. Be willing to work hard; to stretch yourself; to experiment with new things and produce the very best you can. The results will be worth it in the end.

          10. He reaped the rewards of all his hard work, perseverance and dedication.

          Apart from winning worldwide acclaim throughout his career, when the Snow White film finally hit the silver screen in December 21, 1937, it brought in a then unimaginable $8 million in spite of the Depression. That’s approximately $134 million today. The film was hailed as an “authentic masterpiece” by Time magazine. And By the time Walt Disney died in December 15, 1966, at the age of 65, he had epitomized the truth of his own words that, “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”

            More by this author

            David K. William

            David is a publisher and entrepreneur who tries to help professionals grow their business and careers, and gives advice for entrepreneurs.

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            Published on March 19, 2019

            How Your Attitude Determines Your Success

            How Your Attitude Determines Your Success


            Do you remember the last time you faced a major setback–when you felt so low, that nothing seemed to make you happy? No matter how hard you tried, you just felt like the world was against you. Perhaps it was a bad relationship, or the loss of a loved one… maybe something bad happened at work? Whatever it may be, could you recall how your attitude was towards that situation?

            Often when we’re caught in an unhappy situation, we feel limited and sometimes trapped. We want to get out of it as quickly as we can, but it’s never quite that simple.

            Unfortunately, some people can remain in that terrible situation for weeks, months or even years; while others may come out strong and ready to start over–or continue from where they left off–fairly quickly.

            So what sets these two groups apart?

            The answer is their attitude.

            Attitude is everything when it comes to achieving a goal, and tackling a setback or problem. 

            When you’re able to have a positive mindset, you’ll be able to break free of your limitations that are holding you back.

            A positive attitude also goes a long way in ensuring you come out victorious from whatever limitations that were holding you back before. It transforms not just your mental state, but your physical and emotional well being. It is the key to lasting total transformation.

            Positive Attitude Brings About Positive Health 

            When you’re stuck in a rut, often the first thoughts that run through your head are negative, thus your outlook likely becomes pessimistic. But, if you can transform those thoughts into more positive ones, then you’re on your way to talking yourself out of that rut, which allows you to move forward.

            Of course, positive thinking doesn’t mean ignoring all the bad or unpleasant feelings altogether. It just means that you approach unpleasantness in a more positive and productive way–instead of taking everything as a victim to negative circumstances, you see it as an opportunity to learn and grow.

            Be aware of self talk!

            These automatic thoughts can be positive or negative. Some of your self talk comes from logic and reason, while other self talk may arise from misconceptions that you create. Others could come from external sources such as negative people around you, or messages from the media.

            The key is to surround yourself with positive influences that can help turn those negative thoughts into positive, more productive actions.You’ll not only feel better about the situation, but in the long run, positive thinking can lower your levels of distress and depression and give you better coping skills during hardships.

            Researchers studying the effects of positive thinking and optimism on health have also found that positive thinking may provide increased life span, better cardiovascular health and reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease, and even greater resistance to the common cold!

            It’s unclear why people who engage in positive thinking experience these health benefits, but one theory is that having a positive outlook enables you to cope better with stressful situations, which reduces the harmful health effects of stress on your body.

            It’s also thought that positive and optimistic people tend to live healthier lifestyles — they get more physical activity, follow a healthier diet, and don’t smoke or drink alcohol in excess.

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            Suffering is Inevitable, So It’s Best to Accept It 

            Now, one thing that everyone goes through at some point, is suffering. It’s a harsh reality, yet you can’t actually avoid it. We experience suffering as the result of unhappiness, fear, anger, loss or frustration. In fact, it would be hard to even imagine the feeling of happiness if we never experienced suffering! How would we ever compare it?

            So instead of wallowing in sorrow about the suffering you have endured, take the suffering as an opportunity for change. Did you get laid off from your job? Perhaps this would be a good time to re-assess your career goals.

            Rather than feeling negative and stuck, use your time and energy to find opportunities which will put you ahead. With the right attitude, anything can seem possible.

            This may sound crazy, but suffering is the secret to being successful! 

            Here’s what I mean. It’s impossible to think of new ideas or understand new experiences without stepping outside of your comfort zone. Anyone who has met great successes has also faced many failures, as nobody wins on every try.

            To propel you toward success, find a way to track your progress and to set and celebrate small benchmarks. It may be helpful to conduct a weekly review to assess where you are and acknowledge all of the small wins of the week. Every accomplishment, no matter how small, is an achievement; so, be sure to take note of them.

            Tracking your progress is also a great way to find and mitigate triggers and hindrances that impede your progress. The point is, you’re making progress; even if it feels like suffering, you can see that it’s leading you to joy.

            Remember, don’t compare yourself to others. Only compare yourself to who you were yesterday. Each step you make towards progress is making you a better version of you.

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            Gratitude Goes a Long Way in Shaping Attitude 

            Now, this may seem difficult to do when you’re already feeling down, but having gratitude is a very useful when you’re trying to navigate your way out of a setback. Being grateful for existing accomplishments and the supports in your life will help you see them more clearly, build your own confidence, and give you a better overall outlook on what your limitations really are and what you have to do to overcome them.

            With a grateful attitude, you limit the damage of negative influences, and strengthen the impact of positive ones.

            Being grateful, even during the toughest of times, steers your attitude towards a more positive one, allowing you to get back on your feet much more quickly. Many studies done on gratitude have shown positive results for people who practice regularly, such as improvement in relationships and in mental health. There’s even studies that show higher motivation in work settings due to a simple ‘thank you’ from managers to their subordinates.

            Believe in Yourself and Your Truth

            This is often easier said than done, but is also the most empowering truth to overcoming your setbacks and limitations in life.

            Many people find it hard to keep a positive attitude during tough times because they lack inner confidence. They doubt their abilities because of the ‘failure’ that they’re experiencing, and don’t think that they can rise above again.

            But, confidence doesn’t just come from talent, luck or easy opportunity. Confidence comes from overcoming difficulties and facing your fears head on. 

            Confidence is a result of getting out of your comfort zone. The more you do this, the more confident you’ll be, and the more positive your attitude will be. Confidence will help you see your goals more clearly, find your strengths within, reach your goals and overcome your limitations much more quickly.

            Here’s a quick story about my own struggles helping me get ahead:

            When I first started Lifehack, it took a long time to gain a solid readership. Just getting 100 visitors was a challenge and took a good bit of time. I had great ambitions for this site, yet it seemed like I was doomed to fail. I received plenty of criticism, too. Some people thought that the world didn’t need yet another self help site, others offered the opinion that there was something wrong with the idea itself and I was making a mistake.

            It was hard for me not to listen to them and, at some times, agree. But, persistence is key, and in the end I chose to believe in my truth.

            I worked tirelessly changing the site layout, restructuring articles, and making the site more user friendly. Slowly, I expanded to a team with the hiring of some extremely dynamic and talented people. With each determined effort, the site grew in popularity, and a few years later, we had influenced millions–and continue to do so.

            Pushing myself out of my comfort zone and facing every challenge head on were the greatest contributing factors to increasing my confidence. So welcome the challenges that come; don’t avoid them, as they’re all opportunities in disguise to feed your growth.

            Your Attitude Sets the Tone for Success 

            Do you see the importance of having a positive attitude? It is so much more than a mindset or state of mind. Your attitude sets the tone for every action and behavior that follows after, and that will determine how long it takes for you to break free from your current circumstance.

            So if you’re currently in an unhappy situation, why not give it a try and look at things from a more positive outlook? As mentioned, not only does having a positive attitude bring about favorable outcomes, it also brings about positive health in the long run.

            Embracing hardship as it is, and using it as a learning experience to grow, will also make you stronger. And, whether you’re going through good or bad times, practicing gratitude will no doubt help to limit the damage of negative influences, and strengthen the impact of positive ones.

            Lastly, in any circumstance, you are your greatest barrier to success, which is why it’s important to always believe in yourself!

            You will always have the power to be in control of your situation because your attitude is determined by you. So start harnessing all that positive thinking to turn those limitations into strengths!

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            Featured photo credit: Photo by Jonathan Francisca on Unsplash via unsplash.com

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