The 100 Day Reality Challenge

Day 62: Walt Disney's Law of Doing the Impossible!

Walt Disney's Law of Doing the Impossible

In an Age of Impossibilities: Walt Disney's Law of Doing the Impossible is Critical

Franklin, NC -- (SBWIRE)
-- 04/21/2010 -- “If you can dream it, you can do it. It’s kind of fun
to do the impossible.” This quote is by Walt Disney (1901-1966). He was
an animator, theme park designer, film director, producer, and business
leader. In an age of great challenges, we need to understand Walt
Disney’s law of doing the impossible, which involves doing the
impossible through following your dream, using your creativity and
overcoming impossible situations with imaginative solutions. This was
covered recently in our column in the Franklin Press in Franklin, North
Carolina. We remember Walt Disney’s many successful productions: Snow
White and the Seven Dwarfs, Mickey Mouse, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty,
Fantasia, Pinocchio, Peter Pan, and many others. One of his greatest
dreams was the opening of Disneyland in 1957 in California. What child
or adult has not been impacted by his creativity? He made it seem easy,
but behind the scenes were events that would have destroyed those
without a determined dream.

Disney’s first animation company, Laugh–O-Gram, went bankrupt and he
lost all his employees. In another effort, members of his talented
staff were scooped up and hired by Charles Mintz, who also gained
control of Disney’s early characters. These were huge blows for Disney
but his creativity and dreams could not be repressed. Soon Mickey Mouse
was born and became one of the world’s most popular cartoon characters,
along with Pluto, Goofy and Donald Duck. In part because of the
extravagance of the budget, Snow White was called, ‘Disney’s folly.’
Everyone, including Disney’s wife and partner Roy Disney, tried to talk
him out of the project. Snow White won several Oscars and became an
overwhelming success.

How do we know our dream is real? If a dream nags us, if it bothers us
when we don’t do it, if we can’t get it out of our heads; it needs a
second look. Disney had successful people telling him Snow White was
impossible. But to quote Cinderella, “impossible things are happening

Wilford Corbin is a compelling example of a dream that changed lives.
Mr. Corbin left Macon County in 1955 with his wife, Virginia and young
son, Tommy for the remote village of Wales, Alaska at the Bearing
Strait. Mr. Corbin taught school in the Eskimo village and later become
assistant principal in Fairbanks, Alaska. He completed a final
assignment in the village of Scammon Bay on the Bearing Sea. As they
arrived in Alaska, many teachers were resigning and heading home to the
lower 48. The chill factor of 100 degrees below zero, sunless winter
days, language and cultural differences were challenges many teachers
found impossible.

Wilford Corbin, however, was following a dream. Wilford served as
health officer and the only teacher in Wales and Scammon Bay. He dealt
with language and cultural barriers through creatively dividing the one
room school into two classes, using individualized instruction, and
older students to translate as well as help teach. Gordon interviewed
Wilford Corbin several times on WFSC’s, Citizens Making a Difference
and was impressed with his great regard and respect for Eskimo culture.
Wilford prioritized reading, writing and arithmetic and maintained high
standards for students. He succeeded in circumstances in which many
teachers were failing.

When he returned to Macon County as a teacher and administrator,
students found Corbin to be inspiring, especially on the subject of
following your dreams and building the knowledge and skills to make
them possible. Betty Cloer Wallace, a former Macon County student,
would telephone Wilford years later, telling him that his stories had
inspired her to go to Alaska and that she had just been appointed
principal of his old school in Wales, Alaska.

In 1989 Wilford and Virginia’s brother Harry returned to Alaska,
traveling to Nome and Wales to visit former students. The students
greeted him as the teacher that had changed their lives and told
stories of how he had inspired them.

Wilford Corbin has chronicled his adventures in A World Apart: My Life
Among the Eskimos of Alaska. It is the story of an inspiring and caring
teacher, who followed his dream. Walt Disney, a creative animator,
touched the world with his imagination. Each, in their own way,
inspired others. Disney and Corbin had hardships to overcome but each
stayed true to their dream. The Walt Disney law of doing the impossible
means listening and then following your dream, using your creativity to
accomplish what others may call impossible and, most importantly,
having fun while you are doing it! If the United States is to solve the
challenges ahead, understanding Disney’s law of Doing the Impossible
will be indispensable. Will you help get the word out?

Gordon Mercer is international president of Pi Gamma Mu International
Honor Society and a professor of political science. Marcia Mercer is a
writer and columnist. The views expressed are those of the authors and
do not reflect the views of other organizations. Go to to review all past quotes and columns on leadership.

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Comment by brandy ryan on April 30, 2010 at 9:53am
I saw a documentary on walt disney once, it was fascinating. thanks for the post jennyann, I really enjoyed it!

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