A very merry (and rainy) Monday morning to ya.
Today's Chef Special at Chez Tyrone's is a 3-course mish-mash with gravy.
Up first, a tale from the trenches:
I've been relistening to Dan Carlin's monumental podcast on WWI (calling it a podcast undersells the series. It's more like a 20+ hour audio book from a self-avowed 'amateur' historian).
When I first listened to the podcast some 5 years ago, it was my first real plunge into the dark annals of history.
Trench warfare has got to be one of the nastiest most vile situations humans have ever put each other in.
We're talking tremendous artillery barrages (in the battle of Verdun, 2 million shells we're supposed to have been deployed in just 6 days over a tiny area of land... and these shells weighed tons and were often the size of volkswagens), gas attacks, mountains of corpses, rats, lice, and other horrors.
And did I mention that people were forced to live in these conditions for weeks at a time.
Not pleasant to think about but extremely interesting to put yourself in the shoes of humans experiencing the extremes of the human condition.
Also makes me extremely appreciative for my life (and puts the everyday 'horrors' we all face into perspective).
Had enough WWI for now?
Ok then. Marching right along to course number deux:
Yesterday a legendary figure in the meditation / spirituality world passed on. I'm speaking of the wise and venerable Ram Dass.
I first learned of Ram Dass on my very first meditation retreat. In fact, I remember when my friend gave me his book Be Here Now.
We were at a small, historic daoist monastery (converted into a Ch'an monastery) in the hills of Taiwan. It was sorta what you'd picture as a 'typical' mountain monastery.
Only a few monks lived there. Surrounded by trees and nature. A beautiful view looking over the valley.
Except for the dinner. They made a special Costco run for us group of western college students and laced us up with cookies and churros.
It was like living in a historical estuary.
Anywho, the night I first learned of Ram Dass it was stormy and we sat looking over the misty hills and valleys.
Ram Dass, you shall be missed.
Which brings us to course number three:
I was at dinner with some family members yesterday when one of them brought up good ol' Uncle Mickey.
Now there's a lot I could say about Uncle Mickey (some bad, some business lessons, and some ill portents as you're about to here...), but what I brought up to my group of incredulous dinner mates is this:
Put simply, I don't see Disney as a company sticking around as the media powerhouse for the next 50 years.
That could mean they're on the way out in the next few years. That could mean they hold strong for a few decades.
But either way, when you look at big companies that swallow up other enterprises left and right (especially when they take on Scrooge McDuck levels of debt like Micky currently is), they generally don't last long.
Not only this, but Disney is destroying and decimating brands with some of the most irrationally loyal fans ever.
Brands like ESPN, Star Wars, and Marvel.
All of which have been pooping their pants as of late (and lest someone screeches, "But muh Star Wars has been leading the box office and..." Yes the Star Wars movies are profiting a lot, but not compared to what a brand like Star Wars is expected to make, so this is definitely a failure from Disney's perspective).
Which brings me to dessert:
The reason Disney has been such a powerhouse in years past is because of its attention to customer experience.
Here's what Vance Morris (ex-employee for Disney and consultant for NASA and the Executive Office of the President of the United States) has to say in his book 'Systematic Magic':
"Disney's service manifesto is 'to create happiness, through the finest entertainment for people of all ages, everywhere'... How do cast members (Disney-speak for employees) serve and operate? They create happiness... Their individual job may be to change the bed sheets, serve coffee or sweep the street, but their mission is to create happiness."
And it's this mission and the ever relentless drive towards it that separates massively successful businesses from just ok ones.
Having a mission is also what made it possible for soldiers to make it through the horrors of WWI.
Or Ram Dass to dedicate his life to serving others (Ram Dass means 'servant of god').
And you can use your mission to help others and create a comfortable life filled with self-reliance.
If you need help crafting and implementing your mission, I highly recommend picking up a copy of Vance Morris's book.
Which you can get at my affiliate link below: