Managing change in our lives and in our businesses is vital in the modern environments in which we live. There is much to learn from that old and cantankerous Dickens character, Mr Ebenezer Scrooge himself…
The truth is, although he had an outward persona of grumpiness, deep down somewhere there was a man with a heart, seeing his life drift away from him.
We all do this to some extent – to hide away our true selves behind a veil of something we are more comfortable with. Sometimes we appear intimidating, cruel or even harsh. We avoid the intimacy we really seek, because of past experiences.
For old Scrooge, this became clear with the visit of the three ghosts, as well as what I find the most scary of all, the visit of Jacob Marley, his former partner, who seemed doomed to be stuck in that no-mans-land world between life and the ultimate infinity.
So, what happened then?
Firstly, Scrooge was reminded of who he might become if he carried on as he was. Marley gave him the example of the outcome of carrying on with his current behaviours.
Secondly, the Ghost of Christmas Past happened by. Showing Scrooge his almost forgotten past, where often he had experienced the fun that truly is possible, yet for so many of us is lost and overwritten by the experiences we have, as we grow through childhood and adult life.
Thirdly comes along the Ghost of Christmas Present, where Scrooge becomes aware of opportunities every day, perhaps even every hour, that we all have, yet our frame of mind causes us to miss them.
Awareness of these possibilities is quite a step, yet when we start to take the time to notice, we can easily change our behaviours for the better, not just for ourselves, but by others too.
Finally, the ambiguous Ghost of Christmas Future. Will it happen, or is there a choice? Where Scrooge will end up if he doesn’t make some changes. Interestingly, whilst Scrooge laughs along with the Ghost of Christmas Past and gets into those wonderful experiences of his youth, he’s not smiling anymore when it comes to the future.
And, even more oddly, it seems that the impact on others, what might happen to Tiny Tim, hurts and frightens him the most.
What can we learn from this? Quite a lot actually…
- Our past holds the clues to who we might be.
- We get stuck into one way of thinking and that does us no favours.
- Focusing on money (remember he’s a miser!), is an escape many of us choose.
- There are possibilities every single day to get more from our lives – to be authentic with ourselves.
- The future is impacted on by our behaviours and actions – we can make a difference.
- There is much pleasure for ourselves in helping others – it is not an action that causes us pain!
- We have choices to make and they are entirely in our hands. These are decisions we are making every day of our lives.
Managing change becomes all the easier when we realise what we had, where we are now and what might become of us in the future, unless we choose differently. It really is up to us – and that is the challenging part.
Above all, this enchanting story is well worth the read at this time of year – there are many more interesting lessons to learn.
As well as a delightful Christmassy story too!