Walt Disney’s childhood would become a hard place as his father’s attempts to make a living failed.
He would find refuge in drawing and grew a determination to use his art and imagination to fuel a cause.
He would make it possible for others to escape the pressures of their circumstances.
When his brother Roy convinced Walt to take their company public, he increasingly felt his original purpose was being lost as the culture of the company changed and animation was being lost to live-action movies.
So he left and started over.
But his new stories wouldn’t be movies but a never-ending one captured in a theme park:
Disneyland will never be finished. It’s something we can keep developing and adding to. […] I’ve always wanted to work on something alive, something that keeps growing.*
Simon Sinek refers to this as existential flexibility.
Existential because it’s uncertain and unknown, beyond present knowledge and experience:
Existential flexibility is the capacity to initiate an extreme disruption to a business model or strategic course in order to more effectively advance a just cause.**
Whilst Sinek is thinking of business, I’m thinking of a person’s personal story.
When we feel ourselves to be moving along a trajectory towards an uninspiring future, we need to create an extreme disruption.
Take a different look at things. Head south instead of east.
Reconnect with values. Assess talents. Listen to the whispers from our lives.
Create a new story.
*Walt Disney, quoted in Simon Sinek’s The Infinite Game;
**From Simon Sinek’s The Infinite Game.