“Why do we have to grow up? I know more adults who have the children’s approach to life. They’re people who don’t give a hang what the Joneses do. You see them at Disneyland every time you go there. They are not afraid to be delighted with simple pleasures, and they have a degree of contentment with what life has brought – sometimes it isn’t much, either.”
– Walt Disney
As a child I loved T.V. shows like Mission Impossible and The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
I found inspiration everywhere in pop culture. I wanted to be in a band but couldn’t play an instrument and my singing voice has never been something anybody would really want to be subjected to.
I also liked the comic book characters Batman, Superman, Thor and Green Lantern. Other T.V. characters that inspired me came from the Tarzan movies and those Italian Hercules movies dubbed in English. And then there was Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color with Davy Crocket, Zorro and many other courageous characters.
Everything “Disney” aroused my interest. Not being a good student, and awkward when it came to sports, I was pretty good at drawing as a kid. My mom worked at the Disney studio in Burbank, California, in the accounting department. This was in the years following the death of Walt Disney, but I still was the recipient of a personal mini tour of the studio back lot when I visited my mom on her lunch hour a few times during the summers – It was magical!!
This post on LinkedIn from last year by Jon Steinberg, President and CEO at BuzzFeed reminded me of my childhood hopes and dreams. Steinberg lists Walt Disney as a major inspiration as well and even once worked as an Imagineer. Because of my connection with my mom I thought that I might one day work at Disney Studios – But, my mom passed away when I was a teenager and further changes took me in other directions.
Still, as I grew older I found new inspiration in the U.S. Apollo space program, the Star Wars and Indiana Jones films, and the beginning of the personal computer revolution. Different areas of popular culture have kept me dreaming and working at various goals in my personal life. I didn’t grow up to be an astronaut or a Disney Animator. But I have been able to help guide my daughter as she grew up and instill in her a sense of wonder and joy in life’s surprises and possibilities. And I have continued to hang on to that joy and wonder myself.
And what about you? What was it that inspired you when you were a kid? Take the time to remember. It may take more than a few moments. It may take more than a few days – It’s worth a wander back down that path, that “memory lane.”
When it comes down to it, one of my very first inspirations, and still a part of my inspiration now – “it was all started by a mouse.”
“I think we are rather indebted to Charlie Chaplin for the idea. We wanted something appealing, and we thought of a tiny bit of a mouse that would have something of the wistfulness of Chaplin- a little fellow trying to do the best he could.”
– Walt Disney