We all loved Disney movies when we were kids. Heck, a lot of us still love them now. Disney knows how to speak to us through their films, and really pull on our heartstrings. It’s what they’re good at. Their movies are also packed with life lessons. But what you maybe didn’t expect is that they also have some valuable business lessons.
With this in mind, here are 3 business lessons you can learn from Disney movies:
1. Hakuna Matata
It’s the name of everybody’s favorite Disney song. “Hakuna Matata” literally means “No problems. Don’t worry, be happy.” Of course, you don’t want to go through life and business without thinking critically and trying to solve problems. But all too often, we let the business problems overwhelm us.
Can you relate? Your focus starts to spread thin and you feel like there’s too much to deal with. There’s no way you can solve all the problems. In these cases, it’s best to take the “Hakuna Matata” approach. Stay calm, understand your circumstances, and focus on the one thing that will make everything else easier. Don’t allow “overwhelm” to cause you to make bad decisions.
“Happiness is a state of mind. It’s just according to the way you look at things.” – Walt Disney
2. Find Your Winning Formula, and Double Down
This lesson doesn’t have to do with a specific movie – more like all of the Disney movies in general. If you analyze the themes and basic plot points, many of the Disney movies follow a similar trend. Disney found that this trend worked best for compelling and hooking audiences.
You can see the formula both in the plot points – and even in many of the actual animations. Characters in different movies have very similar movements. When compared side-by-side, they’re almost identical.
The question is, what is your winning formula? What are your biggest strengths? These are the things you should be doubling down on. These are the things you should be working to optimize and improve at all levels.
Instead, most businesses and people double down on the wrong things like their weaknesses. In doing so, they undermine the potential of their business, create frustration, and miss opportunities.
3. Don’t Be Fooled By Appearance
Look no further than Snow White for this example. She held the perfect red apple in her hand, unable to resist biting into it. All seemed fine from the appearance. But this actually caused her demise and almost ended her life.
The lesson goes both ways – don’t be fooled by appearance for good or bad things when it comes to business. Opportunities are always in front of you and if you judge them by appearance without doing a little digging, you’ll find that you often take the wrong opportunities and miss out on the right ones.
For example, in real estate, one person might walk through a neighborhood and see beaten up houses and bad opportunities. While another person may do a little digging, ask some questions around the neighborhood, and see that there are several properties being undervalued – hence, a big opportunity.
“Like so many things, it’s not what’s outside, but what’s inside that counts.” – Aladdin
Bonus Shrek Lesson: You Don’t Have to Accept Your Limitations
Okay, we admit it. We thought Shrek was a Disney movie, but it turns out it was a Dreamworks flick. Still, it’s one of our favorites, and it’s packed with valuable lessons (so you’ll have to forgive us for this one!). Our favorite lesson being: You don’t have to accept your limitations.
Shrek thought he was stuck being an ogre, living a grumpy life alone in the middle of the forest. And that’s exactly what happened, until he was forced to change.
His adventures led him to saving a princess and eventually an entire kingdom – feats that were certainly beyond his limits and imagination. He surpassed those limits and became legendary.
Similar to Shrek, many businesses and people allow themselves to get trapped in boxes of their own creation. They think, “We’re THIS type of business,” or “I’m THIS type of person,” and they never try to change or elevate themselves, even when there are opportunities to do so.
Instead, be aware of your self-imposed limitations, and consider how you can break through them.
Now when you go back and watch your favorite Disney movies, you can look out for these business lessons too!