My older brother is visiting Walt Disney World from St. Louis, so we drove over to spend the day with him and his family at the Disney Hollywood Studios. There, I was reacquainted with my childhood friends, “Broccoli Balboa” and Mr. Tomato. These were characters in the Kitchen Cabaret in the Land pavilion at Epcot. Broccoli played the drums and I think Mr. Tomato was a Frank Sinatra style crooner. I’m not sure why I fell in love with the broccoli, but it was my favorite plush toy for years despite the fact my brother used to use it as a boxing glove and my face as a punching bag – hence the broccoli’s cinematic name. The Kitchen Cabaret was later replaced by “Food Rocks”, which was then demolished to make way for “Soarin'”. I thought I’d never see broccoli again, but there he was inside the Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream attraction at the Hollywood Studios.
I was struck by a quote I spotted on the wall. It was something Walt said, reminiscing about his time in Kansas City, I think shortly after his animation company went bankrupt. He said he used to go down to the train station and watch the trains leaving for California and he would cry because he couldn’t afford a ticket. Often, I think when we look at successful people, we forget what they had to go through to become successful.
So, in a way that’s refreshing. I’ll be honest. When I sit down and look at the work I primarily get paid to do, I sometimes want to cry. It’s nice to know that Walt felt that way too. People tend to think he was born, went to school, pooped out Mickey one day and it was all blue skies after that.
Don’t worry, Be Crappy. An innovator doesn’t worry about shipping an innovative product with elements of crappiness if it’s truly innovative. The first permutation of a innovation is seldom perfect–Macintosh, for example, didn’t have software (thanks to me), a hard disk (it wouldn’t matter with no software anyway), slots, and color. If a company waits–for example, the engineers convince management to add more features–until everything is perfect, it will never ship, and the market will pass it by.
I tend to think things through a lot and sometimes that causes me to miss opportunities. A great example would be the first time I kissed Raffi. I was standing there calculating multiple scenarios of what might happen if I tried to kiss her and trying to figure out the perfect timing without realizing that if there was a perfect time, I was doing a great job of missing it. Fortunately, she said “Do you always think about things for ten minutes before you do them?” and that was all the prodding I needed. More than 16 years later, we’re still together.
As these things and other events of the weekend went through my mind in the Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream exhibit, a three word phrase popped into my head. It’s a little vulgar so I won’t share it here, but it’s a simple way of kicking myself in the butt and redirecting my thoughts to the present instead of worrying about which of a million different futures will materialize.
I made use of it many times on the treadmill yesterday. Since we stayed at Disney World until 11 PM and had to drive back to St. Petersburg afterward, I opted out of morning speed work. Between the scorching heat outside and the boredom of the treadmill, I hoped the treadmill would be the lesser of two evils for my 1200 m workout. My knee was a little wonky, though I have no idea why, but I decided to give it a try anyway.
After a 1 mile warmup at a 1.5% incline, I was aching to go fast, so I popped the treadmill up to 9 MPH and hit my first 1200 m interval. It hurt, but I recovered pretty quickly with 400 m at 10 min/mile pace.
During the second interval, my thoughts drifted to last week’s speed workout and how I quit during the second interval. I quickly squashed the thought with my three word phrase and focused on quickening my stride. I pictured myself on the home stretch of a track, heading toward the finish line. Though I was breathing heavily, I actually smiled. Bam! Another 1200 m down.
The third one was tough. I pictured myself on the track, knocking off the laps. As I passed the finish of each lap, I thought of the three word phrase and quickened my step. After the third lap, I walked 400 m, then cooled down with an easy mile. The knee actually felt better during the run than it did before.
It felt nice to hit three solid intervals. I know I’ll nail 4 next week.