Has there ever been a more inspirational story than Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol? I don’t think so. Ebenezer Scrooges’ over night transformation from unhappy to happy is truly supernatural (but what else would you expect with all those ghosts involved?).
So what are the personal and business takeaways from this story? Let’s refer to The Ebenezer Scrooge Grid below:
In the “Ebenezer before” quadrant, our hero was rich but unhappy, and in the “Ebenezer after” quadrant he’s rich and happy. What changed? The short answer is that he began to care more about himself and others; i.e, improved his emotional intelligence.
The 4 major sources of happiness are:
- Caring about yourself (physical and mental health).
- Caring about others (making a positive difference in their lives).
- Work that is interesting and challenging.
- Enough money to pay your bills with some left over for fun.
Let’s assume Ebenezer enjoyed his work in the financial services industry. Apparently he was very good at his job, and by all accounts (sorry, couldn’t resist) he certainly had plenty of money. Therefore, 3 and 4 were in good shape; let’s give him an “A” on both.
However, we’d have to grade him an “F” on numbers 1 and 2. During his epiphanous night he came to see that these clearly needed improvement.
Concerning “Caring about himself”, he:
- Opened his curtains to let some natural light in his home and alleviate any tendency toward Seasonal Affective Disorder.
- Ate better food by trading his typical gruel for his nephew Fred’s lavish dinner party fare.
- Played games, laughed, and danced at said dinner party.
- Put more coal on the fire at the office to stay warm.
Concerning “Caring about others,” he:
- Bought what was apparently an enormous turkey for Bob Cratchit’s family.
- Gave Bob a raise and an opportunity to own equity in the business to make his salary market competitive and to motivate him to be more engaged in growing the firm.
- Became like a second father to Tiny Tim (and suggested the more flattering nickname “Rocking Tim,” which Tim especially appreciated once he entered the dating scene).
- Put more coal on the fire at the office so Bob could stay warm.
- List the major sources of happiness, then “grade” yourself “A” through “F” on how you’re doing on giving yourself each one.
- Make the necessary changes to earn an “A” in each category.
- Enjoy the fruits of your labors as you become ever happier and wealthier.