Three Ways to Apply “It’s a Wonderful Life” and Live More Richly
I have a confession for you. I have a favorite movie, which I may have seen 25 times. It’s pretty sappy. Have you seen it? “It’s a Wonderful Life” is a blissful Christmas tradition for me, as meaningful as my trees, my cookies, my Christmas CD’s.
Why do I watch it year after year?
First, I love to escape into the world of goodness and love. It shifts my vibration and my heart.
Second, it’s fun to time travel backward into that family focused, seemingly simpler time in our history, 1946.
Third, I get to remind myself of the loveliness of such core values as family and commitment, connection, and community. Yes, there’s a villain too, who puts us on guard, just like in our lives today.
Here’s the plot.
Jimmy Stewart is the young owner of a small town bank. Every time he intends to leave and explore the world, where his real dreams call him, important interruptions call him back. He makes the best of it, marrying and having children. He keeps the bank afloat during the Depression through one crisis after another. Overwhelmed to a point of utter despair after being accused of mishandling bank funds, he wants to end it all. Clarence, an angel sent by God, arrives to prevent him. When George states, “I wish I’d never been born”, that’s when the movie really takes off. Angel Clarence takes him back through the chapters of his life, where George sees his contribution to others’ lives and starts to believe he matters again.
The messages revolve around money, success, and ultimately the purpose of life.
Point #1: Failure is a relative term, all depending on the reflection of your goals, expectations, and values.
George Bailey thinks he’s a failure and wishes he never was born. When he steps into his life from the perspective of “What if I hadn’t been born at all”, then he is able to see his many contributions to people in his town and family. He is saved by the realization that he did make a difference.
As entrepreneurs, it’s easy to lose sight of this. Real success is in the journey and the lives you touch along the way. Ironically, it’s not much about the goals or dreams you pursue along the way at all.
Point #2: Nothing is really as valuable as our friends and family, who do love and support us when we can’t see our greatness ourselves.
The movie begins with a happy George Bailey. He’s got his wife, kids, a business, and a dream for affordable housing in Bedford Falls. When his life spirals downward in the depression, this is when George wants to end it all.
He loses perspective (that word that can save us or haunt us all by how we apply it in our lives, too) on his blessings as his life gets troubled. He finally gains back appreciation of his life by seeing that his life is already wonderful, warts and all. It was all a matter
of where he put his focus.
Point #3: Each of us has a life purpose, which we must discover. Sometimes our purpose is divulged through the episodes in our lives that we choose to unravel.
It was clear in the movie that George had struggles. And he asked, “Is this all there is? Why was I born anyway?”
Hitting rock bottom was his catalyst to answering the questions which would save him and put his perspective on his life back on the right course.
Have you ever thought of the almost impossible odds of your arrival into this world?
You’re here. And millions and millions of others aren’t. You have incredible value within you to shine through your business, your family, your heart. Same with George Bailey….
As George finally asked himself, I invite you to ask yourself, “What if I weren’t born?” You will see the ripples of change reverberating through many others’ lives if you extract yourself completely from existence. All your influence, support, help, direction, love, training, business ideas…zip. Gone. Sometimes even the smallest contributions or touches we make in others’ lives, through our business efforts or otherwise, still have profound impact.
Reflect on this for your new year and
the year just ending.
the year just ending.
What would be different today if YOU hadn’t been born? And what won’t be the same tomorrow if you don’t step forth and engage your life?
I’d love to hear what you think. Have any of these points struck a chord? How can you, like George, make a move to live more richly?
After all, for all of us, isn’t it a wonderful life?