Walt Disney, Me and a Few C’s

walt disney portrait

“Somehow I can’t believe that there are any heights that can’t be scaled by a man who knows the secrets of making dreams come true. This special secret, it seems to me, can be summarized in four Cs. They are curiosity, confidence, courage, and constancy, and the greatest of all is confidence. When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionably.” ~ Walt Disney

Walter Elias Disney. Now there was a man who deserved a “Sir” before his name if ever there was one. A legend. Certainly, an incredible SUCCESS by anyone’s definition. You would be hard pressed to find a man who’s vision and inspiration has positively touched more lives. At this very moment, kids are skipping around and smiling the grandest of smiles because of his vision; to create “the happiest place on earth”, Disneyland.

What seemingly everyone forgets is, much like our first HERO President Lincoln, his road to such heights was extremely difficult. He had a multitude of opportunities to quit. I found it hard to believe that Walt was told he had no talent when trying to submit his cartoons to a local paper as a young man. Imagine that, the creator of the iconic Mickey Mouse character! Also, later in his career, as an entrepreneur, he suffered multiple business failures and even a bankruptcy. Bet you didn’t know that.

There are no original ideas. There are only original people.

~Barbara Grizzuti Harrison

For Mr. Disney the road to great achievement and success was paved with many hard lessons. So, while Walt’s life was indeed a challenging one, he epitomized the winning formula for SUCCCESS (The 3 C’s kind). Creativity, Character and Completion.

I think you know where this is going…

Imagine both my surprise and, I guess, honor to come across Mr. Disney’s statement about “the FOUR C’s” which reveal in his words, “the secrets of making dreams come true” for ANY man.

I ran across his quote last week and nearly fell over… here it is again. Worth a second view.

“Somehow I can’t believe that there are any heights that can’t be scaled by a man who knows the secrets of making dreams come true. This special secret, it seems to me, can be summarized in four Cs. They are curiosity, confidence, courage, and constancy, and the greatest of all is confidence. When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionably.” – Walt Disney

You see, after I finally completed the manuscript for “The 3 C’s of Succcess” (that’s right, THREE C’s… not FOUR) just last July AND after years of research, study, teaching and writing of this formula/philosophy) I was utterly dumbfounded to have come across his quote.

Frankly, I wasn’t sure how I ought to respond to his quote. Does this suggest there are truly no original thoughts or ideas? Does this somehow make “The 3 C’s” invalid? Or, do Walt’s comments perhaps validate “The 3 C’s of Succcess” and its “blueprint” for success as Melvin Powers called it? Well, the uncanny similarity definitely forced the issue – I had to dig deeper.

TIME TO INVESTIGATE WALT’S FOUR C’s

Disney’s first C is CURIOSITY.
I can ONLY surmise by curiosity he MEANS or at the very least intended to mean CREATIVITY. Perhaps contained within curiosity? How can I be so bold as to presume that? Simple really. Has there EVER been a more creative soul then Walt? And, if Creativity is not in his remaining other 3 C’s (it isn’t) it must be here – in this one. Are you following this? Seriously, we’re comparing “Success Theory” here! If Walt is giving us, as he said, the secret to scale any mountain and realize any dream — he must mean curiosity equals, in some form, creativity since Disneyland is one of the purest forms of inspired CREATIVITY mankind has ever seen!

His second and third C’s; Courage and Confidence.
I ask you, my friend, are those both not CHARACTER traits? So, in the interest of economy and elegance could we not just agree to character as a second C? Simplicity in any formula ought to rein supreme. Perhaps he’s trying to be laser focused on just two specific character traits, you might suggest? Well, the challenge I have with that theory is what of the other REQUIRED character traits to realize true and enduring success? In fact, the very character traits Walt himself represented; tolerance and integrity to name just a couple. Do you think Walt wouldn’t tell you personally that those are also critical to scale any mountain or realize any dream? Can we really pull the other essential character traits out of any equation that equals success? I don’t think so. By identifying and labeling only two specific character traits, Walt is essentially excluding numerous others essential qualities and traits required for success. These are all detailed in “The 3 C’s” and truly can’t be overlooked. Again, I’d humbly suggest to you it’s easier and more eloquent to simplify the equation and, in this case, go broader with Character and therefore exclude none.

Walt’s fourth C, Constancy.
By constancy I believe we can safely surmise he means both the character trait of consistency as well as persistence. Additionally, it must follow that constancy implies a sort of completion and/or finality. In other words, by simply reverse engineering his marvelous creation, Disneyland – it undoubtedly required constancy of character as well as his ability to execute, to complete his vision, to finish the job. Yes, by pulling that ‘constancy’ thread a little further I would humbly suggest to you a perfect alignment with the final C within the 3 C formula – which is Completion! Since any project or job well done requires diligence and constancy to ultimately become complete.

Final thoughts…
In the final analysis I believe Walt’s quote is a fantastic sound bite and a wonderful outline to motivate and inspire any man to realize any dream. My guess is, it already has served that purpose. Having said that, and with all due respect, it is my guess also that he did not put years of effort into refining said outline or success philosophy. That is Just a guess. However, I want to be VERY clear, I am NOT questioning his success or his magnificent impact on humanity. See my legend comment – first paragraph! In fact, I’m not even questioning Walt’s philosophy. The fact is, upon further review, his 4 C’s align very well WITHIN the context of the 3 C’s.

Perhaps, what I am suggesting is that, having now just completed “The 3 C’s of SUCCCESS” I wish Walt and I could go throw a few beers and philosophize over our collective C’s. Of course, in my vision, he’d not only agree with The 3 C philosophy but he’d provide a wonderful testimonial for the book or write even write foreword. DARE TO DREAM.

Go ahead -give it to me! 4 C’s or 3 C’s? No C’s. Two B’s. 7 Z’s.
Talk2me.

Hopefully, I’ve not made you C sick.

All the best. Cheers!

~MWS