Don’t mess with the Mouse: What Mickey can tell you about playing your way to wealth

Humble beginnings can lead to great success.


As I look forward to attending a conference in central Florida, I realize that the host city’s name is practically synonymous with one of the most recognizable faces in the world: Orlando = Walt Disney World = Mickey Mouse.

What started out as a cartoon character created by a dreamer mortgaged up to his eyeballs has become one of the most successful and beloved brands in the world.

Cartoonist Walt Disney combined passion, courage, a bias for action, and perseverance to create what has become the Disney entertainment empire. Here’s a mini-tutorial for entrepreneurial success, courtesy of Walt.


“Disneyland is a work of love. We didn’t go into Disneyland just with the idea of making money.”

If you’re not madly in love with what you do, creating long-term success of it – especially when you face the inevitable challenges – will be an uphill battle.

Does this mean you have to love every single task your business demands of you? Definitely not. Does it mean that, even when you’re faced with tedious or uncomfortable activities, you’re more than willing to do them? Absolutely, because they come with the territory of doing the thing you love to do.

“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.”

You’ve probably heard the observation that “those who say a thing cannot be done should not interrupt those doing it.” Disney was definitely a doer, and one brave enough to ignore the gloom-and-doom predictions of those who forecast that Disneyland would be a financial disaster which opened, closed, and was forgotten within a single year.

It’s tough to forge ahead when most people around you are painting a picture of bleak failure. Yet if you’ve got energy around your dream, you’ve got a lot of what it takes to ignore the nay-sayers and stick to your guns. Of course, it helps to have another trait, as well.


“All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.”

There’s a tremendous amount of fear-mongering in the world today. And while some fears are appropriate and genuine (say, worrying what could happen if you carry around 10 pounds of raw steak in the jungle in the middle of the night), many others are simply ways to scare ourselves out of following our dreams and passions.

If family, friends, neighbors, and complete strangers try to talk you out of doing something you’re really excited about, you definitely face a challenge: how to evaluate, duly consider, and act on comments that are based in objective fact, while simultaneously dismissing whatever cautions are based in their own fears, insecurities, and concerns about how they’ll look compared to you if you follow through and succeed.

“One thing it takes to accomplish something is courage.”

There are almost limitless opportunities to practice being courageous. If your courage muscle needs work, be smart about it: Tackle something that’s a little scary. Once you’ve pushed through your fear of that and have come through to the other side, you’ll be prepared to tackle something a bit bigger, and then something bigger yet. Remember that practice makes progress.

Also remember that the only way get that practice is to get yourself in motion.


“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”

Walt knew all about the dangers of over-thinking and over-planning.

The reason these behaviors are so deadly is that they seem to make so much sense. And so they do – if not taken to extremes.

Passion + courage + action + perseverance = success.

In the long run, you’ll get more – and better – results if you do something so that the market has a chance to give you the feedback that will enable you to improve on the next go-around.

“What ever you do, do it well. Do it so well that when people see you do it they will want to come back and see you do it again and they will want to bring others and show them how well you do what you do.”

Entrepreneurs face a delicate balancing act between “my best effort” and “my good effort.”

If you fall prey to perfectionism, you’ll spend all your time preparing to offer your products and services, without ever actually doing so.

And if you turn out a mediocre effort because you’re pressed for time or just get lazy, claiming it’s “good enough”, you run the risk of leading your prospects to conclude you don’t offer enough value to be worth their time – or money.

So the trick is to offer something that’s genuinely good, knowing that you’re willing and able to improve it in the future.


“Get a good idea and stay with it. Dog it, and work at it until it’s done right.”

This plays right in with the preceding quote.

“Right” is not the same as “perfect.” And, besides, “right” is likely to change over time. So get it right now, and be prepared to make it even more right as people’s experience of your offering gives you ideas and feedback.

“The difference between winning and losing is most often…not quitting.”

Walt may well have heard the famous story about the man who stopped digging for gold just three feet from a major vein of ore. He lost his entire investment because he quit.

While it’s likely you don’t have unlimited resources to put into our businesses, you do, like all entrepreneurs, have the ability to do the prep work, commit to due diligence, and stack the deck in your favor. Then you get to draw on your courage, conviction, and determination to see it through to success.


What’s been your experience with creating your dream business? How have you handled the bumps in the road? Leave your comments down below, and to thank you for sharing your insights with us, I’ll send you a no-charge copy of Thoughts Become Things: Choose the Good Ones!™.

(Thanks to Adgy for posting the image of the Mouse in the Creative commons section of Flickr.)

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3 Responses to Don’t mess with the Mouse: What Mickey can tell you about playing your way to wealth

  1. Pingback: Don't reinvent the success wheel. | Stepping Into Big

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