Anyone who has been to a Disneyland anywhere in the world has had the experience of enjoying being a child again through Walt Disney’s creative genius – which not only includes the theme parks, but Mickey Mouse and all the other favourite cartoon characters and all the amazing places real and imaginary (Frontierland, Adventureland, Tomorrowland, etc). He found a way through television, comics and movies to take us all there and make the world a happier place.
How did he and his staff create so much?
One of the secrets to this creativity was that Walt created what he called his ‘Dream Room’ – a designated space in which to dream.
In that simple open room all he and his staff were allowed to do was dream. No-one could say ‘but’, ‘however’, ‘we don’t have’ or other similar words aimed to limit or criticise or focus on potential problems. It was a place to brainstorm and to empty out all the infinite possibilities of the mind.
And Walt knew something about how the human mind works with ‘anchors’. Because it was such a creative space, and negativity was not allowed in there, every time people went in there they expected to get great ideas, and to dream of new and fantastic things. He anchored that space to dreaming, possibilities, creativity….
Then Walt also had ‘The Reality Room’. This was an open space with story boards and planners on the walls, in which all the next steps were taken to move those dreams towards becoming reality.
Then interestingly he had a third room which was called ‘The Sweat Room’, far away from the other two rooms. This was a grey dour room, maybe even a cubicle under the stairs, where people would go to talk through all the problems and concerns that would not easily resolve in the Reality Room.
Once they had identified the key issues they would then go back to the Dream Room to brainstorm solutions!
Somehow, Walt Disney understood that if you want to do creative new things you cannot do all three activities in the same space. Those who try tend to kill creativity before it has had a chance to get beyond the fragility of the ‘dream’ stage or it gets stuck and dies in the cold light of ‘reality’.
So, the two challenges for me (and you):
- To find and anchor these 3 spaces in my life. The Dream Space (which I tend to do best outdoors on my back deck), my Reality Space (which is my office) and my Sweat Space (which is in the back shed, and sometimes out literally sweating on a 10Kms run)
- To make time to go into my Dream Space EVERY DAY and build my capacity to dream.
Have you had any dreams lately?
Love the article John!!!
That is awesome John, I never knew that about Disney and it makes so much sense! No wonder they got where they did!
As I just moved house this is a perfect time to create those three spaces for myself to create my Dreams, to do the Reality work to make them happen and to Sweat out the challenges when they come up!!