A story: In 1928, a young Walt Disney suffered a devastating reversal of fortune — a blow so harsh that his budding career seemed about to crash and burn. After a number of failed cartoons, the 26-year-old animator lost his first successful creation, “Oswald the Lucky Rabbit” by unwittingly signing away his ownership rights in a bad production deal.
Did he quit after this disaster — a blow to his creativity and his career? No! Yes, he emerged empty-handed and empty-pocketed from the experience, but he also learned a huge lesson from the disaster. Within a year after his downfall, he bounced back and took the entertainment industry by storm.
Armed with a laser-focused understanding of the intellectual propearth rights he’d given away, he now had the tools to survive and win in an unforgiving industry. And fueled by creativity and a natural gift for creating memorable characters, he went on to build a business empire based on his fantasy worlds.
What a success story! Snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, Walt is a great reminder that when we combine resiliency and persistence with creativity, the sky’s the limit!
We’ve all faced those moments of devastating defeat, haven’t we? You may even be facing one now. While it’s tempting to give in and give up, it helps to remember that other creatives have endured the slings and arrows of fortune and come out stronger and even more focused.
What drove Walt on? What got him up off the mat when he seemed down and out? First, he realized that he had lost his first successful character because he didn’t know the business end of the animation field. So, he made a decision to master its ins and outs.
And second, he realized that there was more in his creative well. He had other ideas, other characters. Other fantasies floating around in his head. So he left his rabbit behind and went on to create Mickey Mouse. The rest is history!
So whatever big challenge you’re facing, there’s always something to learn that can arm you to operate more effectively. And there’s always more creativity in your well —- and the more you tap into it, the more there is. Bravo, Walt! Inspired and emboldened, let’s all write on!
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