Don’t Let Naysayers Kill Your Dream

If you are a Disneyland fan, you probably think that everyone automatically knew that Disneyland would be a success. NOT! In planning Disneyland, Walt Disney asked for the opinions of amusement park owners. Amusement parks at that time were similar to the carnivals in county fairs.

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After Walt Disney presented his ideas for Disneyland, the reaction of the amusement park owners was unanimous. It would not work. Their comments:

“The proven moneymakers are missing – no roller coasters, no ferris wheel, no shoot-the-chute, no tunnel of love, no hot dog carts, no beer, and worst of all, no carny games like the baseball throw.”

“Custom rides will never work. They cost too much and will constantly break down. Only stock off-the-shelf rides are cheap enough and reliable enough to do the job. And besides, the public doesn’t know the difference or care.”

“Most of the proposed park produces no revenue and will be expensive to build and maintain. Things like the castle and pirate ship are cute but they aren’t rides so there is no economic reason to build them. There is too much wasteful landscaping. Things like city hall and the fire station are not designed to make money, so that is a poor use of real estate and will not add to the bottom line.”

They felt that Walt’s commitment to little design details was just not warranted. “People will vandalize the ride vehicles and destroy the grounds no matter what you do, so you may as well go cheap.”

Walt wanted the interiors of the buildings to be as highly detailed as the exteriors. “The interior finishing concepts of the restaurants are too expensive, especially since a hot dog and a beer are about all anyone eats at an amusement park. He will lose his shirt by over spending on things the customers never really notice.”

“Most importantly, the lack of barkers is certainly a bad idea. Without barkers along the midway to sell the sideshows, the marks won’t pay to go in. Customers are likely to leave with money left in their pockets.”

“Mr. Disney’s park idea is too expensive to build and too expensive to operate. Tell your boss to save his money. Tell him to stick to what he knows and leave the amusement business to people who know it.”

If you are a Disneyland fan, you will probably agree that the amusement park owners had it all wrong. They knew their business well, but could not think outside their box. It’s hard to convince people to believe in a new idea or something that doesn’t exist yet. They usually want to go with something that’s already ‘known’, something that is already a proven success.

But actually, Walt saw the negative comments as confirmation of his ideas. He wanted to build something better than the run-of-the-mill amusement park, he wanted to build the first ‘theme’ park. So-called ‘experts’ aren’t always right. Your dream may not always succeed, but don’t let naysayers kill your dream before you give it a chance.

Loving Their Work Made Their Work Easy

I was listening to the radio, and heard an interview with two songwriters who wrote the music for Ghost, the Musical. This is a musical stage adaptation of the movie which starred Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore. The songwriters said they loved their work, and because they loved it, it made writing the music easy, but jokingly said that they wouldn’t let the producers know this, because they might want to pay them less. I’ve heard of different people who do great things who said that they love their work. It seems that when you love your work, whatever it is, it makes it easier to do great things.

Make the Most of Your Talents and Abilities

I have a friend who is a good example of someone who realized his talent and made a career out of it.

When Dave was five years old, he climbed up on to the roof of his parent’s house. His parents were surprised and scared that he would climb up onto the roof, but when Dave grew up, he turned his ability to climb into a career.

Dave wasn’t afraid of heights, and he also liked to fix things. He got a job maintaining microwave radio towers, and later started his own business and even bought his own towers, and he loves his work.

Dave’s talent might at first have seemed like something you can’t make a career out of, but he found a way to do it. If you want your dream job, you have to study your own talents and abilities and make something out of it. You may not be able to climb heights like Dave, but there is something special you can do.

“I Think That Can Be Done Better”

If you can say, “I think that can be done better”, then you may have an indication to what your dream job can be.

George Lucas saw the original Star Trek TV series, and thought the special effects could be done better, so he made Star Wars.

Walt Disney saw amusement parks, and thought they could be done better. Walt took his daughters to Griffith Park in Los Angeles, and while sitting on the bench while his daughters rode the merry-go-round, he thought an amusement enterprise could be built where children and parents could have fun together. That was the genesis of the idea to build Disneyland.

My own experience is that I would study Disney characters on merchandise or books and thought they could be drawn better. I loved the Disney movies, but I thought that sometimes the characters on merchandise weren’t drawn as well as in the movies. So I worked to improve my own ability to draw and paint the characters, that’s how I was able to get work from Disney.

So I believe that if you see something related to your career, and can say “I think that can be done better”, and you can figure out a way to make it better, then you have a good chance that you can be successful at your dream job.

Others May Not Believe in Your Dream

Walt Disney had the idea to build Disneyland, but almost no one believed in it. Walt was in the animation film making business, he had no experience with amusement parks.

Walt asked the opinion of amusement park owners, and they all said Disneyland would fail. They said, “You can’t have just one entrance. Nobody would climb stairs to get to a train station. Building custom rides would be too expensive. You have to have carnival games and barkers. Don’t waste your money on things that don’t generate revenue, like theming”. The amusement park owners recommended that Walt stay with what he knows and not risk getting into the amusement business.

Walt Disney’s wife asked him “Why would you want to build an amusement park? They’re so dirty!” Walt answered, “That’s the point, mine wouldn’t be.”

Walt tried to convince his friend, Art Linkletter, who was the host of Disneyland’s opening day telecast, to buy up the land surrounding Disneyland, because he believed it would soon increase in value, but Art turned it down, he thought that Walt was crazy. Art later regretted his decision.

Even Roy Disney, Walt’s brother and business partner, thought the park would fail. He called Disneyland another one of Walt’s ‘screwy ideas’, and it was only when Walt threatened to go with another investor that Roy agreed to partially back the project. Walt even had to borrow money against his own life insurance to get more funds for his park. The leases for Disneyland were written only til 1959, Roy didn’t think that it would last longer than four years. (To Roy’s credit, though, after Walt’s death in 1966, Roy was the driving force behind building Walt Disney World.)

The people closest to Walt didn’t believe in his dream, or at the very least had doubts about it. Just think about that, if no one believes in your dream, it’s very hard to keep saying, “I think it will work”.

But Walt believed in it so much that he went ahead anyway. He had a gut feeling that Disneyland would work, even though nothing like it had been done before, and few people thought he could succeed at it. Not every dream will work out, Walt Disney also had some failures, but in order to make your dream work, you have to really believe in it.

You May Have to Sacrifice Fun to Get Your Dream Job

In order to get your dream job, you may have to be very dedicated to the point of sacrificing other things, like fun. Sports stars like Kobe Bryant are so dedicated that they spend many extra hours training and developing their skills, that’s why they’re so good. I heard Kobe Bryant say something like “I got to this level because I was willing to do the things that others weren’t”.

It actually reminds me of the story of the Three Little Pigs. The first two pigs wanted to play and have fun, so they didn’t put the effort it took to build a strong house, and the Big Bad Wolf just blew the houses down. The third pig didn’t play, but spent his time building a strong brick house, so he was saved.

Of course Kobe Bryant has talent, but the real secret of his success is that he was able to magnify his talent through hard work. He was willing to work when others played and had fun. Most people think that all it takes is talent, but they don’t realize that hard work is necessary too.

Most people are like the first two pigs, they think they can just do the minimum and get by, they don’t want to put in the effort to make something strong. Actually, I was like the two pigs too, I didn’t take my career seriously in the beginning, it’s only when I put less emphasis on goofing off and having fun and more emphasis on improving my work that I was able to get my dream job.

It’s funny, those old stories like the Three Little Pigs have something to teach us, even in this modern day. In order to get your dream job, you might have to study or work when your friends are having fun, but if you really believe in your dream job, it will be worth it in the end.