A Christmas Carol has been re-made hundreds of times over the years.
It’s a classic.
And despite all the fanciful ideas that movie has — ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future who take you back and forth in time — the most unrealistic part of the whole story was the idea that Scrooge acquired any wealth at all while also being such a miserable human being.
A lot of people want to be wealthy. But nobody ever wants to end up like old Ebenezer.
Well, good news: People who act like Scrooge in the real world actually repel wealth from their lives.
He gets built up as some kind of smart, shrewd (along with greedy and miserly) business man.
But the truth is, he’s kind of a ‘business airhead’.
I know a lot of businesspeople. And I can’t think of anyone who would want to associate for any reason — business or personal — with a guy who acts like Scrooge.
So a lot of people are afraid to get rich because they don’t want to end up like Scrooge — or the general vague image they’ve been fed by the media that you have to be greedy and heartless in order to make any money in life.
But in order to attract real wealth, you can use Scrooge as a guidebook for what to do the OPPOSITE of.
In fact, let’s break all of this down right now:
Read on to discover the most important “intangible” character traits that…
Act Like A Magnet For Money
In Business And Life.
…and why Ebenezer Scrooge possesses none of them.
Now I can think of at least 7 traits Scrooge had that — in real life — would cause money to run away from his bank account like a frightened reindeer.
And they’re not all totally obvious, either.
Before we dive into them — there have been many different versions of Scrooge over the years. The story has been re-told countless times.
That’s why the “Scrooge” I’m using for reference here is the OG 1938 version of A Christmas Carol.
That seems like the one all the others were based off of.
So with that in mind, let’s dive into Scrooge’s money-repelling character traits:
1. He’s Afraid
To Spend Money
Penny-pinching and saving money can only get you so far.
The wealthiest people in the world never look for ways to save money. They never try to get their postage or marketing costs down like Scrooge did.
Instead, they look for ways to spend MORE on the right things. So they can have a clear and hard-to-knock competitive advantage.
He’s such a tightwad, he’d never take any calculated risks to reap advantages at all. He’d be eaten alive by competitors. He doesn’t understand that any successful business is basically a money machine:
You have to invest money IN to get more OUT. And when you can put $1 into your business and make back $2 — you want to put as much as possible INTO it for the greatest advantage.
But Scrooge doesn’t seem to believe he can do that. He’s way too tightly-wound.
He’d probably eat a dollar and excrete a penny.
This theme of Scrooge being an extreme penny-pincher doesn’t add up for tons of reasons, (we’ll discover more below).
But the point is — his business would never make it against a competitor who does any single marketing campaign. Or invests any reasonable amount into his business at all.
2. He Takes Credit For
Stuff He Didn’t Do
When the Ghost of Christmas Present (who looks like the Burger King guy) waves his magical horn at people getting into a fight on the street — they stop being angry and become friends.
The ghost says, “We stopped that fight, didn’t we?”
Scrooge absolutely agrees: “We sure did, didn’t WE!”
But we all know Scrooge did nothing but watch. Even the ghost gives him kind of a “glaring” look after that…
Now this was done in the movie to make Scrooge’s character more unlikable. But in reality, anyone who had gotten to Scrooge’s level of wealth would have learned a thing or two a long time ago about how to give and take credit.
In fact, most highly successful entrepreneurs know the mantra that goes something like:
You take the fault when things go wrong, and
give credit to everyone else when things go right.
Paradoxically, that’s what always makes you look best in the eyes of onlookers and holds you the most accountable for success.
Now of course, there are always times of honest confusion about who gets credit.
Maybe you’ve deserved credit before when it was due to you. It’s good to stand up for yourself when you haven’t gotten the credit you deserved.
But in this situation, Scrooge displayed the temperament of a four-year-old by taking credit he didn’t deserve. And getting to a higher level of wealth in life requires a lot more than that. C’mon, Scrooge.
3. He Makes His
Scrooge goes out of his way to be as downright evil as he can to his employees. Which is basically business suicide.
There was a Mad Man-era advertising genius named Walter Bregman who, in his older age, said (about today’s advertising agencies):
“When the penalty for failure outweighs the
rewards for success, the result is mediocrity.”
Anyone who wants mediocre talent working for them is not someone to emulate. And Scrooge trained his employees to be as mediocre as possible. What a miserable working environment he created!
Even if an employee wanted to do their best, Scrooge would put them in fight-or-flight mode all day … and dangle pay-cuts over their head for the slightest slip-up.
This can hinder a person’s performance to the point where they can’t even think properly.
How are they going to do an exceptional job for you when they’re under so much stress?
Bad call, Scrooge. He’s causing money to zoom out the window by doing that.
4. He Leeches Value
A lot of people who don’t succeed in business try to “cheat” the laws of cause and effect. They wonder why they’re not wealthy and why life isn’t going their way. They blame other people, or they think success is out of their control.
But really, they’re just living an effect of a cause they ignored. And the cause was all the actions they’ve taken.
The only way to become successful is to deserve it. Here’s what that means:
Money represents value. And in order to get a lot of that “value” for yourself, you have to be valuable in another form to other people. You have to add value to a lot of people's lives.
If you can add a lot of value, you have the ability to make a lot of money.
But what about Scrooge? We never really saw him add much value to peoples’ lives at all. In fact, he often took it away — and routinely made being around him feel like getting a colonoscopy.
He never paid attention to whether he was adding value to other people’s lives. On both a personal and business level. Even his clients in his lending business he treated poorly.
And that brings me to the next reason Scrooge would have been poor:
5. He’s Unreasonably
Tight With Money
I know, we already covered this one above, but it’s so important, it deserves to be covered twice. It’s the most glaringly obvious reason he’d never be wealthy.
What most business owners end up realizing is that money wants to move. It wants to flow.
It doesn’t like to stay in the same place for too long…
This is a weird energy around money some people never figure out. And it ties into a greater energy that not only covers money — but literally everything else in the universe.
And it all boils down to one fundamental truth:
You are a mirror for everything.
For example, if you’re judgmental about everyone — even if you keep that judgmental attitude to yourself — it will manifest in you being afraid to do things like take risks because you think you’re being judged by others.
You can literally be paralyzed by this your whole life. As a result, you’ll never go outside of your comfort zone or do anything awesome in life.
The only way to be free of fear from judgement of other people is to never judge other people yourself.
Just don’t hold any opinions of anyone!
When you can do that, you’ll be able to do whatever you want… without any fear of rejection or judgement. It will just erode. And you’ll feel free to go on wild adventures, without caring what anyone thinks of you.
Another “mirror” is investing in yourself:
If you don’t invest in yourself, others won’t invest in you.
Again, this is just one of those “freaky energy” things you have to see to believe. If you don’t invest time and money in your own education and commit yourself to constant improvement, then no one will want to invest significant time or money in you as an employee, or entrepreneur, or a protégé.
Often, the people who can’t get anyone to invest in them have never invested in themselves.
So how does the mirror thing apply to Scrooge?
If you’re tight and stingy with money (like Scrooge was), then money will be tight and stingy with you.
If you hyper-analyze every big buying decision you have and remain indecisive for days or weeks — you’ll attract customers to your business who do the same thing. And it will stifle your cashflow.
What you want to do to solve this is not think about it much ever again. You want to be decisive when it comes to buying decisions. And it’s totally fine to say no. But the key is to just be decisive.
When everything you’re buying is an immediate decision — then if you own a business I think you’ll find the money flowing a lot easier into your life.
And if you’re up for a raise, you’ll find whoever’s decision that raise is will come to that decision a lot easier and faster, too.
This same principle is true for so many things:
If you always ask for split payments, your customers or clients are going to do the same to you. If you’re a person that always refunds things… well, your business will suffer immeasurably with refunds.
If you’re rude to people when you call up their customer support — then when you own a business, your customers are going to be rude to you.
Business owners who struggle to get their marketplace and clients to respect them and invest in them are often people who don’t respect and invest in others.
You Can’t Cheat
And frankly, neither can Scrooge — if he were a real person.
A lot of people think they can do something to someone else and then not expect it to come back to their business. They fool themselves, but it always happens.
The key is that you must become the person you want to attract in your life and your business.
If you start becoming everyone’s best client, you will start getting the best clients in your business.
You want to tip well at restaurants. Be generous. Give testimonials, and say thank you.
The people who are generous often have people who are generous back at them.
If a sales person is afraid that their prospects won’t make a decision on a sales call, then that means they themselves are afraid of making decisions.
So considering Scrooge is so tight and stingy with money — I can only assume his clients act the same way toward him. It’s probably causing cashflow problems he just doesn’t talk about. And I bet it circles back around and creates a self-fulfilling prophecy:
His stingy attitude causes money to be stingy and tight toward him. And in return, he gets even more stingy and tight with money.
Thankfully, at the end he realizes money needs to flow.
I bet he saw an influx of business from all his kindness at the end of the movie.
But even with that, there are problems:
6. He Thinks He Can Buy
Loyalty And Forgiveness
At the end of the movie, even after Scrooge has been “transformed” by the ghosts of Christmas — he never once asks for forgiveness from the people he tormented (like Bob Cratchit).
He made this guy’s life a living hell. He kept the poor man in a perpetual nervous wreck … and made sure he was completely scared, miserable, and worried 24/7.
What does he do at the end?
He just buys the guy’s kids presents, and throws money around. As if to say, “We’re cool now, bro!”
He assumed that he could simply buy forgiveness and everything would be okay.
The more mature thing to do would be to come clean. It wouldn’t have killed him to level with Bob, recognize how he acted, and ask Bob’s forgiveness.
A few words that acknowledge your actions go a long way. And money is nice, but you can’t throw it at every problem expecting it to go away. That’s too low-effort to make up for an ongoing violation of someone’s personal boundaries for years on end.
Especially when you were such a nasty dung-beetle to them for so long.
7. He’s Nothing But A
Living, Breathing Spreadsheet
Scrooge has zero regard for the intangibles that make a business work.
I’m talking about the things that can’t be tracked, measured, or scaled, but are necessary to grow a business by leaps and bounds and make everyone involved rich.
For example, his personal brand is horrible (it’s about as attractive as a moldy fruitcake)…
Or his complete lack of approachability (everyone avoids him like a smelly armpit unless they absolutely have to see him. His business has to suffer from this because his employees will keep things from him).
Or his crap reputation as an employer (good luck getting the best and brightest to want to work for you when everyone knows you’re the devil incarnate — who keeps the office cold and pays the bare minimum salary he can get away with).
The whole point is this: Scrooge is an absolutely awful businessman to model or emulate.
How he was able to keep that business running for so long or acquire much wealth at all is beyond me.
He’s clearly the epitome of a certain type of business owner who never makes much money at all — and blames everyone for it but himself.
That’s Why A Christmas Carol Was Not
As Realistic As You Maybe Thought.
Not because of the ghosts — because hey, who knows if the ghosts of Christmas really exist. I’m not bold enough to claim they do or don’t.
But the story broke an immutable law of physics when it portrayed the richest man in town as a relentless dingleberry to everyone he meets.
A guy who somehow got to an old age and became rich in business — without learning a single thing about life, people, and relationships.
That’s 100% fantasy.
And you know what else?
I’m not letting Bob Cratchit off the hook, either — even though everyone feels sorry for him.
He clearly didn’t know a thing about making himself a valuable job prospect who is indispensable and hard to let go.
Plus, his neediness showed through like a glowing red nose.
Neediness is yet another thing that repels money.
But here’s the whole point:
People often don’t have business problems or career problems. People have LIFE problems that reflect on their businesses and careers.
This is a fascinating thing to understand because a lot of people have problems they think are solely in one area of their lives. They think it’s contained to just their health, their wealth, or their relationship, for example…
But if you have a messy house, then you probably have a messy mind.
If you’re not committed to your health, you’re probably also not committed to success in your relationship or your career.
All of this stuff spills over. And Scrooge is no exception.
For every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction. And in the real world, Scrooge would have been a broke, crotchety old man until he changed his tune.