When Walt Disney opened Disneyland, he did so with the promise that it would never really be completed. Walt himself modeled where new ideas would come from and he had an intense desire to see his creation from every angle possible.
A story is told by a longtime Disney employee of how Walt could be found on some days behind the counter of the Carnation restaurant on Main Street. He would be dressed in a striped jacket, wearing a straw hat, and scooping out ice cream to guests.
As he handed guests their cone he would ask, “Are you enjoying your day?”
He could be heard asking, “What was your favorite ride?”
And the most important question for him of all, “Is there anything we should do differently?”
Walt Disney was a man that was firmly rooted in who he was, loved tradition and history, but did not fear the future or fear change.
Anything but, he embraced it…especially if it would make something better, improve the quality, create a better experience, or a more lasting memory. Walt discovered that one of the ways to make that happen was to have the right information. So he asked questions.
Often is life people get bogged down by asking the wrong questions.
When something happens bad or circumstances go sideways in our lives, many quickly ask “why?”…. or “how?”
Usually these questions become , “why did this happen to me?… “why did this have to happen now?…”how did this happen?…you get the idea, these are all responses that many have to situations that catch us off guard. Here is an important lesson to remember…the “why?” and “how?” might be useful for gathering information but they are useless if you don’t move past them.
Sometimes people bog down when life does not go well and they become stuck on asking why and how…the real question that has to be asked is “what?”
“What do you do now?”
“What do you need to do to move forward?”
“What is your next step?”
You have to learn to ask the “what? question…even if you haven’t gotten an answer to the “why and how” questions. If you don’t you become stuck, bogged down, and forever focused on the past without the ability to move forward.
On Disneyland’s opening day, which didn’t go so well as history recalls. Walt had to ask some why and how questions to be sure. But the real questions he focused on were the “What questions.” These questions helped him answer the crucial elements that he needed to address to move forward…what do I need to do to fix this problem? What will I need to do to make this work better? What will I do to eliminate this crisis? What can I do to move this crowd better? What can we do to make this more efficient?
That is the question that usually allows you to take the next step in whatever journey you are taking.
Walt wasn’t just dishing out ice cream…he was gathering information so he could answer the important question… “What am I going to do next?”
And by the way, when Walt was dishing out the ice cream, according to reports, the scoops were always a little bigger and the servings more generous.