In 1931 Walt Disney released a Mickey Mouse cartoon called Traffic Troubles. The animation director for the film was a man named David Hand. After finishing one sequence for the cartoon he sat down with Walt Disney and watched the pencil drawn screen test.

After the sequence ended Walt shook his head and said, “Nope, it needs to be more wacky, more exaggerated, try it again.”

So Hand went back and redrew the sequence. When he was finished it was high energy, wilder, and as asked for…more wacky.

Walt again watched what he had done and sent him back to redraw the scene again. This happened over and over. Finally after he had reworked the scene five times, Hand was questioning himself saying, “What does this crazy man want? I’ll show him! I will make this scene so outlandish, he’ll say, ‘Whoa! I didn’t mean to exaggerate it THAT much!”

David Hand reworked the sequence again.

At the screening that followed, Walt Disney sat in silence while Hand showed him what he had done. The quiet was overwhelming for Hand as he watched Walt study his work. When it was over, Walt turned and looked at Hand…then a huge smile broke out across Walt’s face. “Dave, you did it! Why didn’t you do it that way the first time?”

In that moment, although painful at the time, Walt taught David Hand a lesson that in his own words, “stuck with me throughout my career.”

Disney was pushing his animator to remove the limits of his imagination, stretch the limits of his creativity, not to be satisfied until you have done all that you can to make something the best it can be.

I suppose for all of us there is a lesson in that. In a culture where many people rarely give their best effort, many are satisfied with doing things “good enough,” when hard work is something that is foreign to many people…to remember the value of being pushed, stretched, and going to the extreme…to do something with excellence is not a bad thing to remember.

Think about it:
In your world…who pushes you to be better? Perhaps you need to surround yourself with people who will encourage you to “better your best!” Beyond that…who in your world do you make better? As you pour your life into others you add a quality to their life (or you should) that just isn’t there without you. Each of us are created with a purpose and we get the chance each and every day to make an impact.

Be better and make others around you better as well.