I wish you could be Scrooge… I really do. You may not understand what I mean when I say that, but most likely you understand WHO it is I’m talking about. Ebenezer Scrooge, the grumpy old businessman in Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” paints a masterful picture for us of a cantankerous old coot who is visited on Christmas Eve by three ghosts.
The Ghost of Christmas Past shows him the ugliness of his years gone by. The Ghost of Christmas Present transports him to front row seat to view both the joy and the pain others are feeling around him. The Ghost of Christmas Future is the specter Scrooge fears the most, because in that view he not only sees his own wasted life ended, but the “change that could have been” never having been realized in the world he might have transformed for good, if only he would have.
So why? Why do I wish YOU could be Scrooge this year? I think you and I could be radically impacted to become leaders of world change if we could learn his lessons. The lessons of “The Christmas Carol” move far beyond just buying a turkey and gifts for the needy. They are grander than challenging us to be nice and enjoy the holidays. Let’s see if some of the grander life lessons from this classic might just help you to wake up different this Christmas morning.
Courageously Confront Your Past!
Block Out Some Time to Ruminate! Confucius said, “Study the past if you would define the future.” But we don’t like to spend much time in the archives. Sometimes it’s painful to enter that place. There are jaded memories of “what if” and “how come.” We are confronted with the brevity of life’s victories and the unchangeable scars of the unforgiving blows that come with our past failures. But we will grow, we will overcome; we will plan better, think smarter, perform greater and be more aware of this moment and those to come, if we will dare spend time in contemplation and reflection about the steps down the paths we’ve taken in the past.
Don’t Be Held Hostage by your History!
Scrooge had constructed in his life a prison of his own making, a world built out of bricks of greed and mistrust. When faced with the reality of the life he’d established, he was embarrassed and miserable. You may feel the same when you look at the pages of your life’s scrapbook. But the question you face is unavoidable.”What will you do next?” Great leaders know that “Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.” Winston Churchill.
An important note to consider is this: you can be held hostage to a fantastic and successful past just as you can one of mistakes and regrets, but if you do, you are still a prisoner shackled to history, always a chain’s length away from the future you dream about.
Be Passionate In your Pursuit of the Present!
Create an Objectivity Window Into Your Reality! Of all the skills and talents mankind has developed over the years, the one that continues to elude our species is that of “objectivity.” It’s why good people, wise people, the best leaders in life surround themselves with people they can trust to be honest. The ghost of Scrooge’s business partner, Jacob Marley, warns him of impending consequences if he doesn’t change his ways. His nephew tries to invite him to a Christmas party, and two men raising funds for the poor try to help him understand the true plight of the less fortunate, but all to no avail! Even when surrounded by those who will be honest about reality, Scrooge still wouldn’t listen. So what is the lesson there for you and me? Have LOTS & LOTS of people, people we trust, people we respect who will invade our space and get in our face when we need a reality check! If one or two won’t do, then if need be, get nine or ten!
Be The Master of Your Moment!
“When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love” said Marcus Aurelius. The Ghosts who visited Scrooge continued to hammer home the same message- it was HIS life choices that had brought, were in the moment and would be in the future bringing him to each of the milestones in his life. Stop… ask yourself- “Am I the Master of the moments in my life?” Remember, as you make the choices, the choices make you. Do you like what they are making?
Forge the Future of Your Dreams!
Dare To Embrace Life on an Epic Scale! Radical discoveries always are followed by radical living! For Scrooge it was giving away money, reaching out in love and humility to those he had wounded and taken advantage of. For some, it may be a radical departure from the values that have driven their life so far. For others, the time may have come for a job change, an attitude adjustment, a fiscal forfeiture or a total transformation of self! What about you? Max Lucado says, “There is a time for risky love. There is a time for extravagant gestures. There is a time to pour out your affections on one you love. And when the time comes- seize it, don’t miss it.” Is it your time for risky love or extravagant gestures?
Your Legacy Is A Sum of Every Breath You Take!
Scrooge saw in his final vision a tombstone with his own name on it. But that vision was not the one that seemed to rattle him most, but the lonely cane without the crippled child to whom it belonged. His burning regret was to know in that moment that HE COULD HAVE MADE A DIFFERENCE, BUT HE DIDN’T. Spend some time this holiday season thinking about your legacy to come. Will you be proud of the legacy that you built one breath, one moment, one decision and day at a time?
Why are we afraid to ruminate on our past???
What’s keeping us from being the Master of our Moments???
If you could only chase after ONE EPIC dream in your life, what would it be?
Go ahead… be a Scrooge this Christmas… I dare you.