My favorite Christmas movie of all time is the tale of a man who had big dreams to travel the world and leave his mark on the world with skyscrapers as far as the eye could see. But life gets in the way and he is held back from his dreams to keep his father’s Savings and Loan business operating to provide homes for people who wouldn’t normally have the means to afford a home of their own.
Many would think that I couldn’t relate to George Bailey in this film because I seemingly have made my way in the movies which was my childhood dream. But my dream was to become a writer/director, not an executive of a visual effects company. Still, if my younger self could travel forward in time and see what I had become, my younger self would be thrilled. But for some reason our dreams become too literal in our minds and we constantly get down on ourselves even though there has been a bounty laid before us. And I’m not talking about money for once. Money is a means to a more comfortable life. What I’m talking about is the stuff that really matters. The bounty that George Bailey couldn’t see, but everyone else could see. He made his mark on the world far more that just building skyscrapers. He made a difference in people’s lives.
In this story, George was given an amazing gift. To see what the world would be like if he were never born. Think about what the world would be like if you were never born. Highly likely the city you live in wouldn’t turn into Pottersville, but think about all of the lives that you interact with and how you affect them.
I have recently left Sony Pictures Imageworks and will be moving into a new role that I will talk about in a future post. But sometimes leaving a company can give you perspective on the lives that you affected during your tenure. It could be your direct colleagues or people you manage. In some small way you changed their lives and it creates a ripple affect that then affects others lives. Most of the time we’ll never even know how we affect other’s lives and none of us will ever know the lengths at which those moments ripple across our towns or possibly the world.
But it doesn’t have to be your job or business, it can be family. What is your dynamic in your family? In times of peril, would you have a moment like George Bailey where the whole town is coming to your aid and your brother raises a glass to toast the “richest man in town?” Not rich in dollar terms, but rich in the lives that he affected.
I’ve also been given that gift as well. When my wife had a stroke in August of 2020 and friends, family and co-workers came to my aid. To keep me propped up while I figured out how to take care of my boys, my wife, work a full-time job, and more. But it wasn’t just the richest man in town moment… I think I became a better dad to my boys. Something I couldn’t see before this had happened. I’ve seen my oldest son really mature this last year and I couldn’t be more proud of the young man he’s become. My youngest is such a sweet kid and you’d never know he had SPD, sensory processing disorder.
Don’t get me wrong, there were several times I felt like George sitting at the ledge of the bridge, praying to god for my old life back. Back to 2019 when the world was a vastly better place. No cerveza sickness, no lockdowns, no government control over our lives. Even back to before my wife had a stroke. Yes, I’d be there, sitting on the proverbial ledge of the bridge, praying the snow would start to fall and my lip begin to bleed again. (Hopefully you’re getting these references from the movie). But when I really sit back and reflect on all of this, there are nuggets of gold. Maybe the world isn’t a giant Pottersville. Maybe the world has had a stroke of its own and this is a way for us all to reflect on whats important.
With the world changing dramatically in the last 2 years we have to take a step back and find our George Bailey epiphanies. Help Clarence get his wings and find those moments or actions that affect people in a positive way. We’re taught to think that money is the root of all evil, but in reality if we strive to make better lives for ourselves, we in turn make a better life for others. That’s how true free market capitalism works. You make others lives better by brining your product or service to others that freely exchange their product or service to acquire yours. Not this cobbled Frankenstein world we live in with Marxist corporate bankers and government working side by side to steal wealth and freedom from all of us with a false pretence of safety and concern.
This is your year. This is your year to do great things. Maybe its brining a new product or service to the world. Maybe its giving more time to your kids or others in your family or community. Whatever the mark, just remember to take time and reflect. It makes all the difference in this crazy world we live in today. You don’t need the town to roll into your house to dump baskets of cash on your table. Just reflect on this last year. And if all you can think about is what Netflix movies you watched or what video games you played, now is the time to change that. A new year is coming up to make your mark in other’s lives and your own!
I leave you with this quote from the movie to reflect on as you move into 2022. A quote from Clarence. “Strange isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around, he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?”