When You've Had a Bad Day


alter Elias froze with fascination. A sensitive child, Walter had grown up in the city until when he was five years old, his family moved to a farm. One day, two years later, Walter was walking through an apple orchard when he discovered, to his amazement, an owl perched on a low branch. Remembering that his father had told him that owls hunted at night but slept during the day, Walter crept quietly towards the sleeping bird.

"What a wonderful pet this funny creature would make," he thought to himself. So, sneaking right up behind it, he stealthily reached up and seized it by the legs. Whew! What a shock both were in for. Terrified, the owl went berserk. Flapping wings frantically, screeching loudly, and struggling furiously, it did everything in its power to escape.

The sleeping owl

Equally terrified, Walter panicked. He clung to the bird for dear life. In utter terror, he eventually threw it to the ground and stomped it to death. When the struggle ended and the pounding of his heart subsided somewhat, Walter looked down at the broken and bloodied bird...and cried.

Feeling terrible, he ran from the orchard, but later returned to bury the owl. For months he dreamed of this bird he had wanted for a pet but in terror had killed.

Too ashamed to tell anyone, he kept his secret to himself. Only years later did he share it.

Perhaps it was this grief more than anything else that helped make Walter the person he became. Never could he bring that owl back to life but he made all the animals of the forest come alive through his drawings and the wonderful entertainment center named after himself.

Too ashamed to tell anyone, he
kept his secret to himself.

His full name? Walter Elias Disney.

Have you ever failed or felt as if you had? Ever done something that you later felt terrible about? Or experienced a business or personal setback that gave your self-concept a beating? Or gone through a relationship breakdown that left you feeling less than whole? Or perhaps experienced some physical hardship, handicap, sickness or mental breakdown that devastated you?

If so, welcome to the human race. When we fail or feel as though we have failed, we tend to think we are the odd person out. It isn't so. Everyone of us has failed at something. We have all faced setbacks at some time or another and felt as if we were going under. In fact, everyone has a story.

My home fell apart when I was a teenager. Eventually my parents divorced. In those days divorce was not accepted as readily as it is today and I felt terribly ashamed and very insecure.

And when it comes to doing wrong, I've committed enough sins to know that I am less than perfect. I've known what it is to struggle in business and be on the verge of going under. And I've known years of family sickness and disaster too.

I can't say that I like trouble. Neither am I a good sufferer. But this one thing I know: you and I can rise above our failures, misfortunes, and negative circumstances.

Walt Disney turned his childhood nightmare into a beautiful dream, which in turn became a reality. You and I can do the same too, if we want to badly enough and will persevere. Not that it comes easily. It rarely does. It didn't for Walt Disney either. Apparently he went broke seven times and had a nervous breakdown before he realized his dreams and became successful.

Here's how you, too, can turn bad days into good days:

Continued on Page Two

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