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“Answer me one question. Are these the shadows of the things that Will be, or are they shadows of things that May be?

Men’s shadows will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if persevered in, they must lead,’ said Scrooge. ‘But if the courses be departed from, the ends will change.”


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As Scrooge looks at his own grave in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, he pleads with the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come: “Assure me that I yet may change these shadows you have shown me, by an altered life! I will honor Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present and the Future…I will not shut out the lessons that they teach.”

It’s an excruciating final straw for Ebenezer Scrooge when the third ghost shows him his miserable future – a desperate and lonely death. The pain is too much to bear as he sees three scavengers trying to sell his few final possessions in the seediest part of London and gradually learns that not one person is mourning his death.

None of us wants to get towards our later years and admit we were fools. Fools because we didn’t take care of our health, didn’t save enough, didn’t face our fears, and do what we really wanted to with our lives. Sure, as flawed human beings we all make plenty of mistakes, but what would you see if a ghost took you 20 years into the future and all your current habits and ways of being are still the same?

Think I’m exaggerating about the unlikelihood of change? In Joe Dispenza’s most recent book, Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself, he writes: “Psychologists tell us that by the time we’re in our mid-30s, our identity or personality will be completely formed. This means that for those of us over 35, we have memorized a select set of behaviors, attitudes, beliefs, emotional reactions, habits, skills, associative memories, conditioned responses, and perceptions that are now subconsciously programmed within us. Those programs are running us…About 95% of who we are by midlife is a series of subconscious programs that have become automatic.”

That leaves a paltry 5% of new actions from your conscious mind. One thing to do with it once or twice a year is to look at your FUTURE present situation. What are the consequences of not making any changes?

First, write down the date TWENTY YEARS FROM TODAY: e.g., June 1, 2042.
YOUR AGE:
Ages of other key people in your life:
Partner:
Children:
Parents:
Siblings:

ASSUME YOU’VE NOT ADDRESSED ANY KEY AREAS IN YOUR LIFE DIFFERENTLY SO THEY HAVE STAYED ON A PREDICTABLE TRAJECTORY. YOUR HABITS HAVE STAYED THE SAME.

In other words, if an area is on a downward trajectory, it will continue downward if you let it. WHAT IS INEVITABLE OR HIGHLY LIKELY IF YOU TAKE NO ACTION? (And what’s really painful is the odds are the vast majority of us won’t take any lasting action).

Answer these four questions for each area:

1. What is STILL the reality in this area?
2. How do you really feel about it?
3. What (if anything) needs to change so 20 years from now doesn't happen?
4. WHEN does this need to happen?

A) Your health: 20 years from now
B) Your key relationships: 20 years from now
C) Your business/vocation: 20 years from now
D) Your finances:
E) Mental Health: Comment on the following or score them on a scale of 1-10:
i. Your self-belief:
ii. How confident you feel:
iii. How much you respect yourself:
iv. Your sense of worthiness to achieve your long-term goals:
v. How happy you feel:
vi. Degree to which you feel positively challenged:
vii. Degree to which you tune into your intuition and trust your gut instinct:
viii. How constructively you deal with anger and negative emotions:
F) Sense of spiritual connection:
G) Adventures/fun/hobbies:
H) Community involvement
I) Living your purpose

Based on your answers for today if little changes, 20 years from now:
How focused are you on what you do best and love to do (your zone of excellence)?

Where are you making an impact?

Which are your better habits that set you up for long-term success?

Most importantly, how much are you enjoying your journey?

I acknowledge that this can be a painful process and you may feel sadness and concern about what is likely ahead if you do not course correct. Scrooge “had been sobbing violently” during his night with the three spirits. It’s okay to feel the feelings.

And I implore you to then take that worry, pain, and frustration and wake up as Scrooge did on Christmas morning and realize your game is far from over. You can do many wondrous things in the future.

As he opens his eyes that morning in bed, Dickens writes: “Best and happiest of all, the time before him was his own, to make amends in!”

“’ I don’t know what to do!’ cried Scrooge, laughing and crying in the same breath. ‘I am light as a feather; I am as happy as an angel. I am as merry as a schoolboy. I am as giddy as a drunken man. A merry Christmas to everybody! A happy New Year to all the world!’”

Scrooge starts donating his fortune to charity, he becomes a generous boss to Bob Cratchit and second father to Bob’s son, Tiny Tim. “He became as good a friend, as a good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town or borough, in the good old world.” Why? Because he saw his terrible mistakes and excruciating regrets, he saw what he didn’t like about his past and present and he saw what was in store for him if he did not change his ways of being, thinking, and behaving.

And, once you’ve been honest about where you are probably going, you have a lot more fuel to help you mine your own gold.

To Learning from the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come!
Matt
Matt Anderson
Founder & President
Matt Anderson International
1177 Oak Ridge Drive, Glencoe, IL 60022, USA
Phone: +001 (312) 622-3121
matt-anderson.com


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