Lessons From John Lasseter: Don’t Hit the Brakes

Today in Anaheim, California across the street from Disneyland, inside the California Adventure theme park a whole new land is opening called “Cars Land”. The space that “Cars Land” is filing use to just be a parking lot. One man was really instrumental in the creation of this land. His name is John Lasseter. In April 2006, John was named Chief Creative Officer of both Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios and Creative Advisor for Walt Disney Imagineering. Now to the non-Disney freak, unlike myself, that does not sound like much. Just sounds like another successful person achieving something great.

What you may not know about John is that he was fired from Disney in 1986 because his idea of computer animation was not worth pursuing after his work on the Brave Little Toaster was not a success. He did not give up on his idea of computer animation, instead he left his dream job at Disney to work on a financially struggling project from Lucasfilm Computer Graphics. Later in 1986 everything changed when Steve Jobs bought the division of LucasFilm and named it Pixar. Pixar changed everything.

I don’t know about you but I’m sure glad that John did not quit after Michael Eisner told him that his idea wasn’t that great or worth the company’s time. Without John Lasseter there would be no Buzz, Woody, Mater, Lightning McQueen, Mike Wazowski, Remy, Wall-e, Dory, Carl Fredrickson, or Nemo.

Don’t let someone else’s lack of vision get in the way of yours. We are all blessed because John took Walt Disney’s advice: “Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”

I’m not sure where you are on your journey today. Not sure if you on the eve of your biggest achievement, or your biggest failure. Someone important may have just told you that your revolutionary idea is not worth pursuing. Today I’m here to encourage you… don’t give up. We may all be celebrating your idea one day soon. I wonder what the guy the guy that fired John is thinking today? Oh wait… he got fired too. Wherever you are on the journey, either staring at a roadblock or taking a victory lap, don’t hit the brakes.

 

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