Remember the last time you had an unconventional idea that excited you? What happened when you tried to pursue it? All too often, people can discourage those who express innovative ideas, or a lack of opportunities to act on those ideas can disappoint and frustrate them. It’s easy to feel excited by new ideas, but it’s challenging to bring them to fruition. They key to overcome those challenges is persistence. Thankfully, one many who became famous for his unconventional ideas was relentlessly persistent in his efforts to express them: Walt Disney.
Imagine how much less joy there would be in the world without Disney’s pioneering ideas — from beloved animated characters that have entertained generations of children, to the concept of the modern theme park — that have become so popular around the world. I visited the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco, California to learn how Disney succeeded — and what his life can teach all of us about pursuing our own innovative ideas.
One of Disney’s most famous quotes is, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” But he experienced his fair share of obstacles to overcome while trying to pursue his pioneering ideas.
Disney had to start over numerous times during his career when he lost progress that he’d made on a project. He was laid off from his first job as an artist, opened his own company but couldn’t find enough customers so went out of business, then eventually earned enough money to invest in a new business — only to lose his first popular animated character (Oswald the Lucky Rabbit) to a dispute with a film producer. Finally, after much determination and persistence, Disney created the Mickey Mouse character and enjoyed some success.
But despite many years of success after that, Disney still had to overcome challenges to bring his innovative ideas to life. There were always difficult circumstances to work around, such as having to explain fanciful ideas to skeptical people and taking on financial debt for new projects.
In the end, though, Disney pursued his ideas because those ideas made him happy, and he believed they would make other people happy — which they did!
Here’s a challenge: Choose one new idea that’s come to your mind recently, and reflect on why it brings you joy and how it can bring joy to other people. Then plan some specific steps you can take to pursue that idea, even if it doesn’t seem practical. Pray for guidance about it, and ask for help from God to turn it into a reality if it’s meant to be. You’ll never know how much joy you can bring into the world until you try!
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