• Terry Dockery

The Ebenezer Scrooge Grid Redux

Has there ever been a more inspirational story than Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol? I don't think so. Ebenezer Scrooge's overnight 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:

  1. A caring relationship with yourself (physical and mental health).

  2. Caring relationships with others.

  3. Work that you love.

  4. 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. So what did he do?


Concerning "Caring about himself", he:

  1. Opened his curtains to let some natural light in his home and alleviate any tendency toward SADS (Seasonal Affective Disorder).

  2. Ate better food by trading his typical cold gruel for the savory delicacies at his nephew Fred's lavish dinner party.

  3. Played games, laughed, and danced at said party.

  4. Put more coal on the fire at the office to stay warm in the cold and damp English winter.

Concerning "Caring about others," he:

  1. Bought an enormous turkey for Bob Cratchit's family.

  2. Gave Bob a raise and an opportunity to own equity in the business; i.e., he made his salary market competitive and gave Bob an incentive to grow the firm.

  3. Became like a second father to Tiny Tim (and rumors have it that he suggested the more flattering nickname "Cool Rocking Tim," which Tim greatly appreciated later in life when he entered the dating scene).

  4. Put more coal on the fire at the office so Bob could stay warm too.


High-Performance Habits


  1. List the major sources of happiness, and then "grade" yourself "A" through "F" on how you're doing on each one.

  2. Make the necessary changes to earn an "A" in each category.

  3. Enjoy the fruits of your labors as you become ever happier and wealthier, and Merry Christmas!


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