What Walt Disney’s Vision Can Help You Create

Photo Credit: dawnzy58

The power of vision is amazing.

I just took my family to Disneyworld, the “Magic Kingdom” in Orlando, Florida.  If you haven’t been there, it’s hard to imagine the scale of the Disney property.  It’s massive.  It covers nearly 30,000 acres (about the size of the city of San Francisco) and is home to four Disney theme parks and over 20 Disney resorts.

It Began With One Man’s Vision

I thought about the magnitude of the project and the obstacles that Walt Disney and his team must have faced in the process of creating Disneyworld.  How did they manage to build a magical “world” twice the size of Manhattan in the middle of a Florida swamp?  And how can we learn from Disney’s genius to build our own “magical worlds”?

My friend Robert Dilts, who has written extensively about Walt Disney as well as the strategies of many other geniuses, has modeled Disney’s approach to creating.  I’ll share his perspective on Disney’s genius here:

The 3 Modes

Robert noted that Walt Disney had three distinct operating modes:  The Dreamer, the Realist and the Spoiler/Critic.  Here’s how they worked:

1. Dreamer

The Dreamer, visionary or “imagineer” was the mode of pure possibility.  All ideas were considered, everything was an option.

2. Realist

The Realist was the mode of putting the vision into some sort of doable process.  Disney was the innovator of the “storyboard”.  Ideas were laid out (and still are) in a frame-by-frame story, so that the people working on the project could break the vision down into chunks and animators could figure out how the vision could be implemented.

3. Critic/Spoiler

The Critic was the mode of observing the storyboard and finding ways to improve on and better implement the essence of the vision, so that the end-product would be extraordinary.  The Spoiler?  I’ll explain…

Get the Sequence Right!

Walt Disney didn’t allow his dreams to be “spoiled”.  His ability to bring so many of his visions into reality stemmed greatly from his sequence of creating, which looked something like this:

Step 1

Connect to your vision. Being in an open and relaxed state, a “what if?” mindset, is key here.  Think big.  Let your mind expand.  What can you envision?

Step 2

Create your “storyboard”.  Lay it out.  The Realist determines what would have to happen first, second, third and so on. What would it look like, feel like at the end?  The storyboard is about the “how”.  How will you get there?  How will your vision take shape in the physical world?  Draw out the frames.

Step 3

Step back and look at your storyboard.  Where are the gaps?  What doesn’t follow a logical sequence?  What needs to be changed, improved or removed?  The Critic makes sure that you get an extraordinary result by scrutinizing your proposed process of turning your vision to reality.

What Goes Wrong When You Skip Steps In Disney’s Sequence

1. A Realist and Critic without a Dreamer is like a bureaucracy.

If you jump into action without an inspired vision, you end up with a mediocre outcome.  You’ve got to enlist your Dreamer first.  Your Dreamer is a representation of your highest self.  When you try to create something magnificent from a stressed, irritated, frustrated state you’re missing out on what’s really possible and fulfilling. Your results will reflect this.

2. A Dreamer and a Critic without a Realist is like a manic roller coaster ride.

Many people have grand dreams, but their Critic jumps in right away and acts as a “Spoiler” before they ever get around to storyboarding the steps out.  The vision never moves any closer to becoming “real”, which contributes to depression, frustration and a loss of confidence in one’s ability to manifest.

3. A Dreamer and Realist without a Critic is like a prototype maker.

Great ideas might abound and you might be good at creating a plan and going through the steps to make it real.  You might have written several books which are “almost” done, or you might have “almost” opened your dream business, or “almost” booked that dream trip.  Without a Critic to investigate and comment on your plans, ask the tough questions, and challenge your assumptions it is impossible to take those final steps and actually complete things.

How to Get the Sequence Right

1. Keep your “dreaming” special.

Find a time of day and a specific location to dream, and/or learn to recognize when you’re in the dreaming mode and start capturing your dreams and ideas in writing, on video or audio.

2. Start storyboarding out your dreams or visions right away.

It keeps your Spoiler from dampening your sense of possibility.  Once you’ve got a plan, you have more traction and a better sense that it can become “real”.  Avoid jumping right to questioning or criticizing your vision.  Hold off on looking for what needs to change until your first version of your storyboard is created.

3. Stand back and take a look at your storyboard.

Instead of criticizing yourself, assess your storyboard.  This way you’ve distanced yourself from your vision enough to comment on it and see it from a different perspective.  You might choose to bring others into the mix at this point, and ask them to comment on the plan as well.  Make the necessary changes to ensure that your original vision is supported, or even improved upon.

Walt Disney died in 1966, five years before Disneyworld was opened to the public.  A reporter commented to Walt’s brother Roy at the opening of Disneyworld, “It’s too bad that Walt isn’t here to see this.”  Roy replied, “He saw it first.  That’s why you’re seeing it today.”

The power of your dreams is extraordinary.  Keep dreaming big, get your Realist and Critic on board and create something magical.



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About John Amaral

Santa Cruz Chiropractor Dr. John Amaral has helped thousands of people from over 50 countries transform and awaken to more meaningful and purposeful lives. Follow him on twitter at @johnamaral