It’s easy to feel a bit jealous when we see successful people around us and I think I’m speaking for everyone when I say that sometimes we all thought “if I had her money or his life then I could do it too”.
We automatically like to think that successful people have it easy or even that everything was handed to them on a silver platter. Their lives are glamorous and always have been since you have “known” them, they have everything anyone could wish for and living a lifestyle that’s a distant dream for most of us and none of us normal, hard working people could ever achieve.
I would like to share a series of inspiring and maybe even shocking stories about the people you have heard of but have only seen the great side of them since they became successful.
Let’s start with someone that everyone in the whole wide world will have heard of.
Walt Elias Disney
Walt Disney was an American born entrepreneur, animator, film producer and voice actor. We all know him from his cartoons, some of the biggest and most loved ones in the world such as Mickey Mouse, Cinderella, Bambi, Dumbo, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, Sleeping Beauty, Mary Poppins and the list goes on.
As a film producer Disney was nominated for a total of 59 Oscars, 22 of them which he was awarded with. To say he was extremely successful is an understatement. He died in 1966, at the age of 65, with a net worth of $5billion.
Early years and background
Disney was the forth of five children and came from very humble beginnings.
His family moved a lot during his early years as his father found it hard to make ends meet.
During this time Walt took interest in drawing which was encouraged by his aunt and a neighbour (a retired doctor who paid him for his portraits of his horses).
At a very young age he often had to work before and after school hours, helping his father out. He dropped out of school because his attendance was poor but he continued his love for drawing and writing stories.
At the age of 16, with the United States fighting World War 1, he tried joining the Army but he was dismissed as he was underage. He forged his birth certificate in order to meet the Red Cross Ambulance Corps minimum age requirement. He was sent to France at the end of 1918 where he spent his time driving Red Cross officials and doing other tasks. He was discharged in 1919.
His first production company actually wasn’t Walt Disney Studio. He later founded that with his brother, Roy Disney, the original name was Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio, which they later changed.
His first studio was Laugh-O-Gram Studio, where he has created and showed short animations in the theatre. Due to financial difficulties, at the age of 20, Walt was living in his office and the company shortly went bankrupt. He had all the reasons to give up and wallow but instead he and his brother decided to up root together, they began the journey and founded what we now know as Walt Disney Studio.
Disney hit a big break with Snow white and the Seven Dwarfs, despite people’s doubt, he was determined to make a full length film. Some of his doubter in Hollywood even referred to it as “Disney’s folly”.
With the money he received for Snow White, he purchased a house for his parents. His mother passed away from carbon monoxide poisoning due to a faulty heating system in the house. Some might say the absent and lost mothers in his films are due to his guilt of losing his mother in such a way.
My conclusion and why I find his story inspiring?
As you see, Walt Disney didn’t have it easy and wasn’t handed anything on a silver platter, he made it happen.
He came from a humble upbringing where he had to work from a young age to help his parents make ends meet. He dropped out of school and didn’t finish his education. He was forced to go bankrupt due to financial difficulties, at one point he was even forced to sleep in his office and take a bath once a week in a neighbouring studio.
He has known loss and heartache, many people have doubted him, he was a shy and reserved person in his private life but with a little encouragement and support he made it and even today, he is one of the most influential people in the animation world, he achieved some big breakthroughs and never gave up.
If he could do it then anyone can. It’s all about your attitude towards things and the people you surround yourself with. He found his passion and made it happen, so can you! 😊
Ready for another inspiring story? Stephen King is next in my series.