Tag Archives: EPCOT

Have you lost the art of daydreaming?

A child is daydreaming in a classroom.I read somewhere that if you were in the midst of trying to discover where you wanted to go in life, then you should look retrospectively on your imagined life. Sounds kind of strange doesn’t it? So many times, when we try and think of what we want to become or do in life, we subconsciously place all kinds of limitations on it. We don’t realize many times that we are doing this. We somehow use the successes and the failures of our past to place mental leashes on our dreams. Since we live in the real world, that play world that we lived in as kids slowly disappears as life slaps us in the face. Bit by bit, we stop dreaming during the day; sure we dream at night, but daydreaming  just stops. My teachers used to write to my parents on my report card that I daydreamed too much in class.

I will admit that I did daydream in class. I had so many things that I wanted to become and had quite a vivid imagination. Imagination is very underrated. It is necessary for the advancement of almost any discipline or task we put our hands to. If it wasn’t for imagination, the wheel would never had been invented, much less self driving cars.

After thinking of the challenge put before me, I knew that it was going to take some effort since I hadn’t done this in quite awhile. Most of my daydreaming of late had taken on a very pragmatic nature. Dreaming like I did when I was a kid was going to be a task.

Ground rules for daydreaming

First off, there are some rules you have to keep in mind or rather non-rules. Keep these in mind as you start daydreaming.

  • If money were not an object
  • If there were no time constraints
  • Throw every pragmatic or logical assumption out the window
  • Let your dream have absolutely no boundaries
  • Nothing is silly or stupid
  • Don’t judge your dream even before you get started
  • To hell with thoughts like “it’ll never happen so why dream it”
  • Don’t be afraid to even include friends and associates that you have enjoyed working with in the past in your dream
  • Once you have come up with your dream, write it down amping it up even more

To get you started, I am going to share my wild, no holds barred dream. As I said, this is a retrospective dream, looking back on my imaginary life. Here we go, don’t judge me!

My daydream – an example

“I can’t believe where I am today. At one time, I felt as though God had forgotten why He created me, but now I see that it was to prepare me for where I am today.

It started long ago. All of my life’s experiences created skills that were necessary to prepare me for this. I thought that I was only created to do one thing, but God showed me He created me to do many things, not just one thing. I was always interested in Rocketry. Little did I know that I would discover anti-gravity. This allowed man to escape earth’s gravitational pull without the use of millions of pounds of thrust. We were able to lift more payloads to space using the space that once was used for propellant to hold mission critical payload. After we escaped earth’s gravity, my team, using photon power, propelled the spacecraft to light speed, enabling man to explore new worlds that were once impossible to reach.

photon rocket in outer space.

Anti-gravity also has commercial success as hover boards, passenger planes and other gravity bound products that suddenly “took off”. Tires on cars are a thing of the past. With my profits from anti-gravity, I was able to finally create Walt Disney’s Epcot. It is a place where the most creative minds live and work to create things that benefit mankind. It is not an amusement park, it is what the original plan for Epcot was supposed to be.

The friendships that I created came out of retirement to pull together to make the vision a reality. Steve Story is our corporate attorney who oversees our legal department. Phillip Shucet has found civil engineers like Gary Mackey to create the structure and thoroughfares in Epcot. Jim Tomlinson heads up the hospital. Mike Padden heads up our architectural department. Laurie, my wife makes sure that my creative thinking time is undisturbed. She heads up the ice rink as well as the culinary school.

We now have hologram vision, another invention of mine that beams the picture from your TV into your living room. Fortunately the FCC keeps bad content from jumping into people’s living rooms!

I have a weekly TV show called “Don’t Stop Dreaming”. I found out in my 60’s that acquiring stuff wasn’t important, acquiring dreams was more important. I had stopped asking “What if…” but one day I decided to rekindle my imagination and let it go wild. It had been so long that the rusty gears took awhile to get going, but once they did, they started spinning like a top. Something in my life had jammed the gears, but now they were making up for lost time. I couldn’t stop the ideas from flowing. It was as if God was birthing new ideas in me every day. I said that I wanted to be used and was I ever! There were a lot of obstacles along the way, but with God’s help and a faithful team of dreamers, doors kept opening. A half century ago, I felt as if God had whispered in my ear that He was going to use me for something extraordinary, and let’s just say, it has been far more extraordinary than I could have dreamed.”

Ok, that was my dream. What is yours? You may have no idea. First you have to learn to daydream again. Learning to daydream, using your imagination is not as easy as it once was when we were younger. It’s going to take a little bit of practice. I do this best when I am in a quiet place with paper and pen.

Now, go start daydreaming!

I hated history class!

As a baby boomer, I often wonder why I’m suddenly interested in history. I hated history class in both high school and college. Now, I can’t wait to go to Colonial Williamsburg, watch the history channel or visit Monticello. Anything nostalgic or retro is in. The 50’s furniture we grew to hate as teenagers is now affectionately called “mid century” style and very popular. Talk to any Baby Boomer guy and they will tell you they love to watch ‘American Pickers’ on the history channel.
The two guys on this show, Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz are the epitome of our generation. They look for anything old and nostalgic. When we watch this show, we see things from our childhood that flood our memories with an easier time, at least in our own mind.  Maybe this is why I enjoy renovating things, be it an old home, car or old piece of machinery. Don’t get me wrong, I also love thinking about the future and all of the inventions that people are coming up with. It’s as if I have one hand in the past and one hand in the future with my body in the present. My two favorite places in Disneyworld are Epcot, where you can learn about nation’s history and Tomorrowland, where a child could dream of going into space and learning about all of the technologies that were emerging.

I’ve often threatened to buy a “mid century” home and totally furnish and decorate it in “mid century” style; I mean down to the old black and white TV’s with reruns of ‘I Love Lucy’ and ‘Leave it to Beaver’. Somehow, even though there were a lot of scary things going on in the 50’s like the cold war, as youngsters, we felt insulated. There weren’t reality TV shows and continuous news networks that bombarded us with more than we could handle. There were only 3 channels and the quality of the video wasn’t that good so that reality and fiction weren’t blurred as they are today.

We were told as kids that we could do anything. We were trying to figure out how to get men to the moon.  Buck Rogers was the precursor to Star Trek. We were thinking of the future.  That future included leaving our past behind. People were moving out of the city into the suburbs. We wanted the new ranch style homes. We didn’t want to live on the farm or in a row house. We wanted a 100 x 100 lot with an attached garage. Most families had only one car, a modest home and making a living wasn’t as hard. We were a more formal nation. We wore a coat and tie to the movies as well as on an “air”plane. I know there was social unrest and the past wasn’t as kind to many, but the present isn’t exactly kind to all of us either.

There is a saying that if we don’t remember our history, we are doomed to repeat it, both good and bad. Many of the books that my teachers tried to get me to read while I was in school, I now actually buy and read in my spare time! Talking to many of my peers, they say the same thing, they became interested in history over the past 10-15 years.  Colonial Williamsburg is having a hard time staying afloat due to their attendance waning. The Rockefellers  felt that our nation’s history was important enough to save, so they funded the restoration of Colonial Williamsburg.

I don’t know why I have become so nostalgic about the past. Maybe I see the unrest in our nation and the uncertainty of the present, wishing that I could somehow go back to what seemed like a more calmer period in our history. I know that I’m probably looking back through rose colored glasses, but let me continue to live in my memories, as memories can be changed to fit whatever we want to remember.

I’m interested to know if you find yourself more interested in history as you get older or is it just me and those in my circle.

Shampoo, rinse and repeat…life isn’t to be lived that way

I’ve been thinking lately, and that is a dangerous thing! Much of our life is on auto-pilot, much like getting in the shower to shampoo, rinse and repeat; the instructions on the side of our shampoo bottle. In all actuality, I only shampoo my hair once each time I shower, not twice, but alas I regress.

shampoo

It is so easy to go through life doing the exact same thing we did the day before. I know that I get in a routine. I leave the house each day, vowing to make this day unlike any other day, but when I get to work, I see the exact same visual clues and I settle back into the same actions that I did the day before. Don’t get me wrong, many of these actions have proven very successful, but when the actions that you do are not giving you the intended results, then something has to change.

I believe that the reason that many of us do not veer off of our routine is due to comfort and fear. It is very comfortable to experience the same thing every day, even though it may not be healthy for us. We know the outcome, we don’t have to really put our mind in creative gear, we just put it in drive. Just like going to the gym, our muscles get used to the routine and stop developing. We are told by trainers, you have to switch up your routine or your muscles will not develop as they should. Our minds do the same thing, we stop growing as individuals when we go to that comfortable routine that isn’t delivering results any longer. The other reason I believe is fear. Doing anything new has some level of fear to it. Here I am writing this during my work day. Since I own the company, I should be able to be creative and write to my blog, right, but do I typically? The answer is no. I do not because I fear that if I don’t do the same thing that I did yesterday, my work results would change at the end of the day, and that is very uncomfortable. I can talk all I want about making changes, but do I really do it? Doing the same thing gives you consistent results, even when the results are not what you want, but hey, that are consistent. Doing something different or new makes us venture to that unknown land that takes us out of our comfort zone. God forbid that we might end up with superior results.

The same visual clues can also be a hindrance I believe. These are triggers. They cause us to repeat the same action the last time we were in that place. Why? I believe again it is comfort. Our brain associates an image with an action or thought process. It’s hard to stop thinking or doing something that has been ingrained in us. inboxFor instance, when I walk by my computer, instead of thinking of how can I write a really interesting story, I look over my work schedule, look at a profit and loss statement, look at our recent web rankings, look at my budget, check my email and any creative thought that would have been birthed has now vanished. You have to figure out what visual triggers cause you to fall into that trance that steals your life. Don’t get me wrong, many of our visual triggers are good, they get us moving and we get stuff done, but when you wake up with a purpose for the day, promising to brainstorm, don’t let the visual triggers side track you.

Purposeful living is hard. It’s much easier to simply repeat what you did the day before, in the exact same way that you did it yesterday. Also, being creative is hard as well. It’s much easier not to be creative. Creativity takes real effort. I don’t see being creative and routines as going hand in hand unless you call sitting still every day (the routine) to let God drop some really out of this world ideas into your head.

When I was a kid, my teachers used to tell my parents that I sat and daydreamed too much during class. I was guilty of this for sure, but I wasn’t daydreaming about the kind of cereal I ate that morning, I was dreaming of all kinds of inventions like space travel, underground cities and flying cars. I am also off the charts when it comes to dreaming each night. I joke about my multiple dreams per night, saying that I should have popcorn to go along with my dreams since many of them feel like cinematic experiences. daydreaming-space-travel

Somehow, the older we get, we seem to stop daydreaming or dreaming in general. We get into a routine that has proven to work for us. It pays the bills, keeps us out of prison and doesn’t cause people to hurl insults at us as we walk down the street.  I guess you can say that we start to settle. What if our shampoo bottle said, “Shampoo, rinse, wait a couple of days, rinse, then shampoo and if you feel like it, shampoo some more.” Well, they wouldn’t sell as much shampoo and for those of us that like instructions, we would just melt into total confusion. Shampooing twice in one day does sell more shampoo, but for those of us that shampoo every day, that’s just too much shampoo in one’s life! Back to the analogy. Routines are not all that bad. For instance, I started playing cello two years ago. Unless I set up a routine to practice, I won’t get better. I know that for myself, I also have to set up a time that I practice each day, which for me is around 9PM each night. My teacher gives me different techniques to help me improve. I use these multiple exercises which are all different, yet I use the routine of my practice to perfect these. This “routine” works for me and gives me the desired result that I want in this area of my life. Exercising is another routine that I know is good for me. I need that routine to keep my body in good shape, but even with exercising, I choose different activities to keep my body from getting used to the same motions so that I can get a full workout.
One good routine that I have started to do is to take the first part of the day to write down 10 different ideas.  (By the way, this isn’t my original idea, I borrowed this from James Altucher) These 10 ideas are not a to do list or a task list, they are ideas where I let my mind go wild. Some of them are great practical ideas and others are Buck Rogers type ideas.
buck rogersWhen I write down many of these ideas, I think of how silly they are, but when I go back and read through many of the old ideas, they don’t look so silly. Anyway, who said when we grow up our ideas have to become all serious and boring? I don’t think that Elon Musk starts his day by thinking, “I just need to start thinking of some boring ideas and businesses that nobody will get excited about, but will guarantee that I will make loads of money.” Nah, I think that Elon Musk believes that the future doesn’t have to be as bleak as we are all signing up for. It doesn’t hurt to have investors and the financial backing to make your dreams a reality, but we can all dream. This is the thought behind the movie Tomorrowland, that I wrote about last year. The future can have some golden moments and opportunities if we will start to dream again. We don’t have to stop dreaming just because we are older than the age of 12.

I remember when I finished college. The biggest wake up call was that the summer season would take on a whole new meaning. When you are in school, you have the summers off, for the most part. This was a time of going on vacation with your family or finally inventing that really cool rocket part that you didn’t have time to do during the school year. When you finally finish going to school, every month is like the previous, shampoo, rinse and repeat. Maybe you get a week or two of vacation during the year, but for the most part, it’s groundhog day.
groundhog day clockMy wife and I recently read a book by Bob Goff called Love Does. Bob has these zany stories where he strives to live a life that has a good amount of whimsy in it. He is an attorney, but he does not let his vocation dictate how he lives his life. He allows ideas to pop into his head, then has the bollocks to act on them. Our home group read his book. Most of the people in our home church group are retired. This book really challenged many of them and made us think differently about how we should live each day.

I feel that each day is a gift from God. I don’t know about you, but when I receive a gift, I’m very thankful. I take time to write a thank you note to let the person who gave the gift know how much I appreciated the thought, and for remembering me. My thank you note to God is taking the time each day to allow Him to fill my mind with the vast possibilities of what this world was meant to be and for allowing me to be just a small part of that grand plan.  Maybe someone one day will look back on one of my ideas and say, “Wow, that idea was bigger than Gill, he must have had someone help him with that one.” My answer would be, “You’re right, I don’t have that kind of imagination, but let me introduce you to the One whose imagination started this whole planet we live on!”

Hey Elon Musk, build the original EPCOT!

Since Elon Musk is in a way a modern day Walt Disney, how about Elon taking his business ideas and actually create a real EPCOT, the way that Walt Disney imagined it, not a theme park.

Epcot logo

Walt said “EPCOT will be an experimental prototype community of tomorrow that will take its cue from the new ideas and new technologies that are now emerging from the creative centers of American industry. It will be a community of tomorrow that will never be completed, but will always be introducing and testing and demonstrating new materials and systems. And EPCOT will always be a showcase to the world for the ingenuity and imagination of American free enterprise.”

epcot artist concept transportation

I’ve wanted to be a part of Walt’s original EPCOT idea since I heard about it. I remember in October of 1966, just 2 months before Walt’s death, Walt airing his whole EPCOT idea. What a concept I thought. I want to be a part of this. In 1966, Nasa was in the midst of the Apollo program, eventually headed to the moon. Walt wanted to play a part in it, if nothing else, to get people excited through his animation team explaining the dream to America. What Walt really wanted was to see what the brightest minds of our country could come up with. Walt saw the advances that science was making. As scientists, first there has to be an idea, an aha moment, then the testing of the hypothesis, and finally the creation. EPCOT was going to try and bring together the brightest minds as well as those with incredible imagination.  Brad Bird, the director of ‘Tomorrowland’, the Disney movie about a boy that invented a rocket pack that ended up in a sort of EPCOT, was a tribute to the original EPCOT idea.

Fast forward 50 years to today. With Elon Musk’s ‘The Boring Company’, he could actually use this company to accomplish the underground roads that Walt’s crew conceived to keep traffic out of the city. Elon seems to be echoing many of the thoughts that Walt had, creating underground tunnels to mitigate traffic in high congestion areas, primarily in EPCOT. Musk’s new company hopes to increase the speed of these tunnel boring machines 10 fold to reduce the cost of the whole tunnel boring process.

musk boring machine

Walt also saw the direction that our cities were headed and wanted to build a city that showed what was possible, for those that wanted something different, something that was forward thinking. Elon has also said that he wants to do something to stop our dependence on fossil fuels, thus helping with climate change. This is forward thinking, not just thinking about the present, but to the future.

It’s obvious that Hyperloop, one of Elon’s other projects could also be integral to a modern day EPCOT. It would be Walt’s version of the WED PeopleMover on steroids.  I actually had this idea when I worked at a fossil fuel testing facility 30 years ago. I’m glad that Elon is pulling this off. We can use low pressure air to move pods, much like the drive through bank teller pods that you put your money in to make a deposit. This would be a great way to get people in the city to the place they need to go.

hyperloop project

Creating EPCOT would be a small scale prototype city, one that if it works on a small scale could be applied to larger cities. If the main purpose of this new EPCOT would is to be an incubator of ideas, it would hopefully spurn other cities to follow this lead. Instead of declining cities and wringing our hands about the future, it would put a more hopeful slant on our existence, being excited about what would be thought of next. Heck, EPCOT could stand for Elon’s Prototype Community of Tomorrow.

I realize that I’m not the first person to make this connection, but maybe if enough of us keep planting this bug in Elon Musk’s team, they may realize that there is some merit to it.

I’ve often thought that maybe there would be enough people out there who wanted to see this become a reality and to put together a ‘Go Fund Me’ site, but really a ‘Go Fund EPCOT’ site. If the likes of Elon Musk or Richard Branson, who are billionaires don’t think that creating the original concept of EPCOT is for them, maybe the rest of us who do believe that there is merit to the idea could create a collective entity that is funded by individuals like you and me. Sounds far fetched, but then again isn’t that what EPCOT was in the first place?