Subscribe to Entrepreneur for $5

5 Business and Life Lessons From 'A Christmas Carol'

Don't be a Scrooge!


A Christmas Carol -- the story of the penny-pinching and cruel Ebenezer Scrooge who, thanks to some ghostly intervention, wakes up on Christmas Day ready for redemption -- is 173 years old, but it still resonates today.

Archive Photos | Getty Images

With the holiday season upon us, here are some lessons you can take away from the characters of Charles Dickens's beloved tale.

1. Find your team.

People don't generally change their ways and opinions overnight, but they do when the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Yet to Come are on the case. If Scrooge's Christmas Eve adventures had only involved seeing his gravestone or eavesdropping on the party he never wants to go to anyway, he could have brushed it off. But the ghosts each played to their strengths and their combined efforts made a real impact.

2. Know when to cut your losses.

You know who we don't talk enough about? Scrooge's ex-fiancé, Belle. Scrooge became money-obsessed and kind of a jerk, and she saw the writing on the wall, decided to walk away and married another guy. Yes, eventually Scrooge turned it around, but let's be honest, it would have been a long wait.

If something fails, it's OK to give yourself permission to grieve and then move onto the next thing. You don't need to double down to try and salvage something that isn't working.

3. Mentors can be found in unexpected places.

Scrooge's first boss Mr. Fezziwig was a generous man, but clearly his influence didn't make a big impact on our protagonist. But through his spectral tourism, Scrooge is inspired to be a better man by his nephew Fred, who always invites him over for the holidays even though he is consistently rebuffed, and the kind and resilient natures of his employee Bob Crachit and his family.


4. It's not all about you.

The ghost of Jacob Marley checks in on his old business partner Scrooge to give him a heads up about the other visitors he'll be getting as the night goes on. Because of his callous and greedy behavior in life, Marley's afterlife finds him weighed down by chains. A little on the nose? Certainly, but Dickens wasn't known for his subtlety. The moral here is that selfishness will only hold you back. In working with others and building your business, a successful entrepreneur wants to create solutions, not more problems for others.

5. Be adaptable.

What Scrooge's story teaches us is that it's never too late to change your mind or how you approach things. Don't be afraid to try something new, because it could be the best thing that ever happens to you.

Entrepreneur Editors' Picks