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Self Motivation From An Unlikely Book Written In 1843

A motivational masterpiece by Charles Dickens?

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Epitaph motivation

A motivational Christmas novel?

It’s Christmas.

Presents have been opened, dinner has been ravaged and I’m settling down for my traditional Christmas day coma.

Before my food-baby and I drift off into a state of deep luxurious sleep I flick on the TV to see what films are on.

The Grinch, Elf, Love Actually, Home Alone, all the modern classics. But why is it that a story written 175 years ago still gets a slot?

When Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol in 1843, I’m sure he didn’t realise that he was writing one of the most popular and, to me, most motivational, novels ever!

This seemingly innocent story contains three of the most compelling motivational forces anyone can use to improve their life.

They work so well because emotion drives action.

Let me explain…

The three most motivational factors you can use in life

Benjamin Franklin once said that “nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes;” although, rich individuals and large corporations seem to be doing pretty well at avoiding taxes, so what’s left?

Well, in my opinion, there are three certainties in life…The past (birth), the present (now) and the future (death).

These three certainties are so emotionally charged, they can make a simple story relevant for 175 years!

Whether we like it or not, as humans, we act upon emotion. Emotion makes for great story telling, great experiences and also great motivation!

If the past, the present and the future transformed an abhorrent miser like Ebenezer Scrooge into a kind gentleman, just think what they could do for you!

Using the ghost of Christmas past as motivation

Imagine you got a visit from the ghost of Christmas past.

He took you on a spiritual journey to watch yourself playing innocently as a child, to feel how you felt, to see how you interacted with the people around you.

As a child you had no ego, you enjoyed every day, you didn’t find yourself keeping up with the Jones’.

Instead, you lived!

Just think back to your time as a child…

Are you living your childhood dreams?  If no, why not?

Did you want to be the person who complains about the most irrelevant of things? If not, why do you do it now?

Did you care more about money than living, having fun and being happy? If not, why is that balance wrong now?

Looking back on your childhood can provide the most motivational experience, whether it’s reflecting on your dreams or your actions.

Using the ghost of Christmas present as motivation

The next most motivating tool that you can use is to consider your present!

“Living in the now” as they say.

From a motivational perspective, there are two main factors:

  1. The people in your life
  2. Your current circumstances

Just try attaching a goal emotionally to people in your life right now.

For example: I want to live a healthier life so that I can…

  • Walk my daughter down the aisle.
  • Live to see my son graduate.
  • Cycle around China with my wife or husband.

I want to make £x in the next 3 years to:

  • Pay off my mother’s mortgage.
  • Take my father to that place he’s always wanted to visit.
  • Pay for my grandmother to have tea at Buckingham Palace.

This can also work as a reflective practice. When the ghost of Christmas present showed Scrooge what people thought of him behind his back, it opened his eyes to the way he treated people.

You’re not going to please everybody and, in fact, it’s quite unhealthy to try; however, if you’re loved by close friends and family for being a kind, caring person, you are well and truly on your way to living a healthy, happy life (being nice feels good too)!

Your current circumstances should also drive you towards being a better person and living a better life.

Only you can change your present circumstances! If you want things to change, you better start changing!

Using the ghost of Christmas future as motivation

This is the big one for me!

We can talk about dreams of a better life, visualisations, affirmations, etc. but there is no bigger motivator than the ultimate future – Death!

In fact, the death of the only hero I had ever met was one of the defining reasons for me starting My Home Vitality:

How do you want to be remembered?

What would you like to be written on your tombstone?

What do you want to achieve before you die?

All extremely powerful questions and ones which highlight how short our time on this earth actually is!

Motivation need not always to be linked to your own death. It can be linked to the death of others too.

When Scrooge asked the ghost of Christmas yet-to-come for a view of “tenderness connected with death,” the spirit showed Bob Cratchit and his family mourning the passing of Tiny Tim.

Scrooge could do something about this! He could help Bob Cratchit and his family to live a better life and support the health of Tiny Tim.

Can you help someone less fortunate than you before times get tough?

What can you do for someone before they pass away?

Can you help someone who’s suffering?

Imagine how much differently you would live if you knew your date of death!

Use your past, present and future for motivation

Your childhood, the people around you, your current circumstances and your future hold the key to your spirit and drive.

Using the lessons Scrooge learned in A Christmas Carol to emotionally invest in your goals, behaviour and beliefs may be the difference between success and failure.

Every time I find myself complaining, I ask myself: would childhood Shaun care about this?

Every time I find myself procrastinating, I imagine my dream life.

And every time I find myself being selfish or greedy, I think to myself: what would granddad do?

I implore you to do the same!

Your nature intercedes for me and pities me. Assure me that I yet may change these shadows you have shown me, by an altered life!

I will honour Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me.

– Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol

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