Marilyn Holdsworth

Broken Pieces - Rachel Thompson

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Carla Woody – How to Tap the Creative Genius of Walt Disney

How to Tap the Creative Genius of Walt Disney

by Carla Woody

When you’re writing, you definitely need to tap your creative juices as an ally…and I’m going to give you a tool to do so. It’s a creativity strategy, actually the process that Walt Disney used so successfully. He was able to transform his ideas into an entertainment empire—and touch people around the world. His legacy still does.

He called his process “imagineering.”
NLP developer Robert Dilts studied how Disney did what he did. I’m going to share his findings with you. One of Disney’s animators summed it up like this: “There were actually three different Walts: the Dreamer, the Realist and the Critic.” In other words, he had three different thinking styles. Each one involved a different perspective.

The Dreamer’s job is to think up possibilities. This is the part of you that brainstorms and daydreams. The Dreamer’s best location for the job is in dreamland where nothing is censored. Even though something may seem irrelevant, a piece of an idea may grow legs. So the Dreamer sets the stage by creating this framework: If I could wave a magic wand and have everything I want…what would it be? What would I create?

The Realist’s job is to turn dreams into reality—to ground ideas—by defining the structure. The Realist is essentially a planner who answers these questions: How can I extract the core element of the dream? How does the idea break down into themes? How do the themes break down into piece parts within a theme? How can I convert this data into steps and a plan that is realistic?

The Critic’s job is to play devil’s advocate and to look at what could go wrong. The Critic stands at a distance, scrutinizes and asks these kinds of questions: If this happens…then what? How are others going to react? How does it make me feel? Is it worth it? Can I improve it?

People get into trouble when they don’t incorporate all three thinking styles, or if the process overlaps. If the Dreamer doesn’t work with the Realist, then ideas are just ideas; or consider how quickly the Critic can shut down the Dreamer if he comes in prematurely and trods all over the idea. You’ve probably seen this happen in a group or experienced it yourself. But when the Realist can take the ideas of the Dreamer and put them into form…THEN the Critic can help evaluate and refine the outcome by asking questions back to the Dreamer and Realist AFTER they’ve completed their initial run.

It’s important to guide the process in such a way that you use appropriate language and questions as I noted. Imagine if the Critic said: That won’t work! Why are you doing that? You’re a fool!

Here’s a case in point: Some years back I used the Disney process with a client. He was having a very difficult time dreaming at all. With some encouragement he was finally able to dream…and then broke down in tears with relief. He said that about ten years prior he’d made some risky business moves and ended up with losing his business. His inner Critic became vicious. His Dreamer went into hiding, torn to shreds. It was through this process we did together that his Dreamer re-emerged…AND his Critic learned how to be a viable part of the team.

So this is the process to use in your writing project so that it hangs together well:
1) Allow the Dreamer to dream without interference;
2) Next, have the Realist take the ideas and see which can be put into actual form and sequence;
3) Finally, invite the Critic in to evaluate, to ask questions that will bring clarification from the Dreamer and further analysis from the Realist.

Of course, you can use what I’ve written here as guidelines for any aspect of your life, not just writing. I’ve adapted the content from my mentoring program
Navigating Your Lifepath, which guides folks on how to live through their deeply held values—and thrive.

I invite you to try on Walt Disney’s creativity strategy. Let me know how it works for you in the comments below!

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Genre –  Fiction / Coming of Age / Historical

Rating – PG

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