Saturday, October 5, 2013

Keep Moving Forward

Walt Disney is famous for his "keep moving forward" philosophy and the lot of us who look up to his genius have latched onto it. But do we ever really examine his words? Do we acknowledge them for being wise? Or do we take them to heart and let them truly inspire us?

"Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we're curious… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths." 
-Walt Disney

We don't look backwards for very long.

I've only recently come to see what this phrase means. It doesn't mean that we don't look backwards at all. It means we acknowledge the past, we learn from it, and then we move on. We don't dwell on the failures or the regrets or wounds that won't heal. We take a moment to face them and to take stock of what we discovered and then we push through it.

We keep moving forward.

We don't hold ourselves back. We don't let ourselves be distracted. We continue to grow and learn and we never let the world pass us by. How do we do that exactly?

We open up new doors and do new things. We let ourselves be curious.

It's okay to have a multitude of interests. It's okay to not know exactly where you're going to end up. If there's anything Walt did best of all then it was play. He experimented with his visions. How big or small they were didn't stop him. The multiplane camera, animatronics, and even the full length animated feature all came from Walt's ideas to make existing conveniences even better. He would play with something, examine how it worked, and then improve upon it (or "plus it" as our heroes, the Imangineers, would say.) No idea was too small. He didn't limit himself to purely original ideas. In fact, adding depth to existing ideas was his specialty. He had a talent for story and art and ideals that couldn't be stopped. He loved the idea of "progress". The concept of people adapting to their ever changing world and never letting themselves fall behind or out of touch.

But in these few lines, he acknowledges that progress can't happen without curiosity, growth, and hard work. You can't allow yourself to give up and take root. Standing still is almost worse than moving backwards because you truly accomplish nothing. You follow everyone else through life instead of exploring your own. Instead of dreaming of the impossible you start to find it impossible to dream.

We cannot let that happen. For the past year and a half, I have been standing still. I've been waiting for adventure to find me. That is never going to happen. I have to go after what I want because no one is going to hand it to me. A college degree is not a free ticket to a fulfilling career no matter what your high school guidance counselor may have told you. You should go to college but not because you want a free pass for life. Go to college because you want to play and learn and explore. Go to college because you want to work your ass off and follow it up by taking pride in what you accomplish. Go to college and discover everything you're passionate about.

Do not take it for granted. Do not let yourself become complacent in your work. Do not stand still. Keep moving forward! So what if you fail a few times on the way? Dust yourself off, learn from it, and let it fuel you! Failure is growth and you can use it on your next project (whatever that might be). Learn all you can! Do internships! Even if you're just fetching coffee and donuts you'll have plenty of time to observe and learn! Every period in your life has educational value. Walt knew it. You know it. The tricky part is forcing yourself to do something with it.

My biggest regret is not taking advantage of my college career like I should have. I waited until my senior year to work hard and really love it. I let perfectly good opportunities pass me by because I felt like earning a degree was enough.

If there's anything my current situation has taught me, it's that a degree is never enough. If you don't have the fire and drive to both fail and succeed then your degree will be useless. Never settle for enough. Always strive for more. You cannot be stagnate and your education can never stop.

I've decided to keep moving. I've had enough of waiting and now I'm ready to make it happen. I want to discover and create and inspire! Anything else is unacceptable.

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