Take it from Disney: People Can Feel Excellence

Take it from Disney: People Can Feel Excellence

I’ve always been a fan of Walt Disney. I loved the early cartoons, the theme parks, his imagination and creativity.

When my granddaughters were younger, I would take them on individual trips centered around something in which they were interested. My older granddaughter has always been the one focused on art so one year we went to Florida to see several examples of applied art. We saw the Blue Man Group, Cirque du Soleil and more. One of the stops was at Walt Disney World where we participated in a Backstage Disney tour. It was fascinating – watching princess dresses being handmade, trash can covers being designed, etc. Along the way, we were regaled with stories of Walt Disney.

One of these stories made quite an impression on me. The story was told that when the first animatronics were created they were for the Tiki Bird exhibit at Disneyland in California. When the engineer who created the first tiki bird brought it to Walt Disney, he was quite excited that it could turn its head, flap its wings and open its beak.

When the engineer was done with the demonstration, he asked Walt, “What do you think, Mr. Disney?” Walt’s response was, “It doesn’t breathe.” The engineer replied, “It’s mechanical.” Then Walt said, “People can feel excellence.” WOW!!!

 "People can feel excellence." - Walt Disney

That statement, “People can feel excellence” – not see it, touch it, know it – but they can feel it – became a life-defining thought for me on many levels.

During this same trip, my granddaughter and I also attended the opening weekend of a highly publicized exhibit at a neighboring theme park. It wasn’t a bad experience, but you could “feel” the difference between there and Disney.

Take trash can covers, for example. Disney designs even these with so much detail. One of the examples we saw were two brown trash can covers. We were asked to find the differences. No one could. After all, a brown trash can is a brown trash can, right? Not in the Disney World! It seems that in the Mark Twain exhibit, the trash can cover with no red in it was used. Red, right – didn’t see it at first until it was pointed out. The trees in the area in which Mark Twain lived \ had no red in them.

People can feel excellence!

Our Greatest Model for Excellence

When you begin to apply this concept to the things in your world, you will do, say, think differently. I give much greater attention to the words I say/write, how I live, what I think about others, and what I think about God.

Does your work convey excellence?

I Corinthians 15:41 reminds us, “The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor.”

Genesis 1 reminds us that God created the heavens and the earth, and Colossians tells us that everything we see is held together by His hands. This God of ours created and holds together an excellent world. He Himself is excellent in all ways.

Titus 3:8 says, “This is a trustworthy saying, And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.”

What does excellent thinking look like? No, it does not mean a high IQ! It means that “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up agains the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5)

It means that we think on “… Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)

Excellence through Love

Our God is about excellence, for we are told in 1 Corinthians 12:31, “And yet I will show you the most excellent way!”

It is the way of love!

When we love others in a God-honoring way we demonstrate excellence.

When we are loving toward others in a God-honoring way, we demonstrate excellence. It shows itself when we …

            … Take time to walk slower with someone rather than running ahead at our own pace

            … Choose our words wisely so that they are spoken with love, in love, for the good of

            the other

            … Respond on the phone in a tone that implies interest in the caller

            … Stoop to speak to a small child so that we are closer to their level

            … Listen to a young person to hear what they are truly saying rather than just their

            words

            … Unexpectedly pick up the check when you are at lunch or dinner with a friend

What would you add to the list??

People can feel excellence. How will you behave differently today knowing this small fact? Who needs your loving touch?

People can feel excellence! Thanks, Walt Disney

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Karen McGuire

Karen McGuire came to Lead Like Jesus in February 2004 following the first Lead Like Jesus Celebration in Birmingham, Alabama, in November 2003, where she served as the volunteer coordinator. She comes with vast experience in local church ministry and denominational work and has been instrumental in the formation of several successful nonprofit ventures, including two churches, a seminary, a medical missions organization, and a welfare-to-work program. Karen served on several church staffs, held many volunteer positions in her local church, and is a Bible study teacher and seminar and retreat leader. She has one son and two young adult granddaughters.

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