Curiosity, Courage, Constancy and Confidence

Curiosity, Courage, Constancy and Confidence

“Somehow I can’t believe that there are any heights that can’t be scaled by a man who know the secrets of making dreams come true. This special secret, it seems to me, can be summarized in four C’s. They are Curiosity, Confidence, Courage and Constancy, and the greatest of all is confidence. When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable.” ~ Walt Disney

This is my favorite of all the many Walt Disney quotes. There’s nobody who knew better than him how to make dreams come true.

Let’s take the four things necessary for Walt’s magic secret and dissect them a bit, because what he says is very profound.

Curiosity: It’s different for everyone.

Just think about it for a minute…really, really think about what’s so exciting to you that your heart starts pumping hard whenever you think about it. What are you curious about? What do you gravitate to on the internet?

It can be as simple as…How do you make a dress?  Or as far-fetched as…What will it take to colonize Mars?

Ask questions, read about your interests online, educate yourself in the area. Follow along the path that keeps answering those questions and all the ones that will follow.

Wonder. Stay curious. Dream.

Courage: Face that dream head on without waivering. Talk about the dream to whoever will listen…I want to know about this…I care about this. When you give your dream a voice, it suddenly becomes real.

The universe will allow you to have your dreams, all of them, but first, YOU have to believe you can have them.

Constancy: You know the old expression, follow your dreams? Well, follow-through is the key. Without it, all dreams come up short.

Imagine the goal in all its glory…then take it further and make it bigger…

A Nobel Prize for a cure for cancer?

A great review of your book in Oprah magazine?

A Pulitzer Prize for Photographic Journalism?

A McArthur Genius award?

Work towards the dream with baby steps. Keep at it, a little bit every day, no matter what. Ask yourself, what small thing can you do today that will bring me closer to my dream. Make a phone call, request an interview, read something online…make a list. Small steps turn into action.

A full load of college courses too much? Slow it down. You’re on no one’s schedule but your own.

Do people you care about tell you it’s impossible to accomplish what you want? Think about the others who are already doing what you want to do. Don’t let anyone’s opinion deter you.

Find a role model. The people who achieve their goals understand that nothing, NOTHING, stands in their way except themselves.

One foot forward, then the next. If you’re patient and focused and stay on the path, you WILL get there.

And that brings us to what Walt’s considers to be the most necessary quality for making dreams come true…

Confidence: Understand that you can’t have the dream if you don’t already have the aptitude and ability within you. Read that last sentence again: Understand that you can’t even have the dreams if you don’t already have the aptitude and ability within you.

I have a terrible singing voice. I know that. I truly believe music can change the world, but I also know I won’t be the performer who will do that. I never wanted to be a singer, to play an instrument, or to write songs, and I never dreamed about being the next Adele or Alicia Keyes. My dream is to keep writing books. I’m confident that I have stories within me to share with the world. I’ve wanted that since I was in middle school, hand-writing novels of junior high school life in my bedroom. Writing at the computer gives me great joy. When I’m in the zone, the words appear on the screen almost without the help of my brain. Ideas for more books come effortlessly. It feels magical. It’s what I’m good at and what I love to do.

I promise you…If you believe you are capable of, and entitled to, your dreams, you will reach them. Keep going and don’t lose heart or focus.

Don’t hide. Let the world know what you want and what you’re good at. Walk through your day as though those dreams are already your life. See it. Taste it. Feel it happening, as having already happened.

Be confident. Stay confident.

 There is room enough in the world for everyone to shine.

What are your dreams? If you’d like, please share them with me.

And it’s okay if you write them in all caps!


Just Say… YES!

Just Say… YES!

If there is any message I would like readers of my memoirs, A Longing for Africa – Ethiopia and A Longing for Africa – Kenya to take away with them, is to just say yes to your dreams and to the life experiences that present themselves.

YES! It is completely up to us and it may be all we ever have to know…just say YES!

I didn’t really consciously know it, but even as a child, I somehow knew that the way to a brave life was to keep saying yes to my dreams. I kept an African scrap book when I was a little girl. In it I taped photos and articles from old National Geographic, Life and Look magazines and what I thought were interesting facts from the encyclopedia…really, anything I could find about Africa ended up in my scrapbook. Other girls my age kept diaries, but I kept up my scrapbook. I’d flip through it again and again, sitting cross-legged on my bed, my most treasured possession.

I was the product of suburban 1950’s, which was as far from an African explorer as one could get – Cinderella, Barbie dolls, backyard barbeques and swing sets – but I was lucky enough to have a father who supported my brother and I, who told us we could have what we dreamed of. “If you can dream it, you’re capable of having it. You wouldn’t be capable of the dream if you didn’t have it in you to make it happen.”

I understood that I COULD have the experience of Africa…by imagining it, by dreaming about it, by imagining the smells, the sounds, the feel, the taste of Africa. I didn’t know how I’d get there, but I always knew I would.

While my friends all seemed to like the teen heart throbs of the day – Frankie Valle, Elvis, then the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, I loved cheetahs and giraffes and chimpanzees. And most of all, I loved Jane Goodall.

When Dr. Jane Goodall came to the world’s attention (and mine) she was in her early twenties – blonde, and graceful and incredibly brave. She was living by herself in the rain forests of Tanzania and studying the wild chimpanzees that had accepted her presence and befriended her. Her startling observations during those early years have taught us all just how much chimpanzees and humans share in common.

A secretary from London by training, she had longed for Africa, as I did, from the time she was a small girl. She still travels everywhere with a small stuffed chimp she still has from her childhood – a very prophetic chimp.

A young Jane said yes to an offer of a vacation to a London friend’s Kenyan family farm, yes to a desire to stay in Nairobi, yes to anthropologist Dr. Louis Leakey’s job offer to her to be his secretary at the Nairobi Museum, yes to his suggestion that she make a camp in a Tanzanian rain forest home to many troops of chimpanzees to study them alone, yes to the observations she discovered and believed that no other trained biologist before her had made.

She was my absolute inspiration. She said yes to her research, to a life in Africa, then yes again to a commitment to save the chimpanzees from extinction, and yes once more, to saving the planet from extinction. She’s eighty years old this year and she’s still saying yes.

And you can, too.

What do YOU want?  A career you fantasize about?  An education that will allow you to reach great goals and help mankind? A great love you already can feel in your heart? Friends you can count on whom you don’t even know yet and somehow already know you can trust? Money? Travel? To do good in the world?

Take that first baby step and say yes and allow yourself have the dream, then take another step, and then another.

Start by saying YES! It may be all any of us ever need to know.

Look! Other famous people have said the same thing in different ways. Here are two quotes I found:

“If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!” ~ Richard Branson


“Say yes. And your figure it out afterwards.” ~ Tina Fey

My memoirs will be available in early 2017 at

A Longing for Africa – Part One, Ethiopia

A Longing for Africa – Part Two, Kenya

I sincerely hope they inspire you to say yes to your dreams. Please share them with me!