By: Tina Baiter
Over the last few months something has really started to irritate me, and I notice it irritates a lot of other people too. I even realized that by partaking in it, I was becoming irritated at others. That is when I realized just how much our society has grown to allow the feeling of entitlement to control us. Let’s face it, you decided to read this article because you wondered what tips it would give on how to ensure you get everything you are entitled to get.
Getting everything you are entitled to get is easy. Why? Because the only thing you are entitled to on this earth is the right to breathe, and that could be debated. Everything else is privilege, a luxury, a lucky chance, or a direct result of the effort you put into living the life you design for yourself. Do you feel the need to argue that point? Go ahead, you’re entitled to.
History of Entitlement
Sociologists attribute the growth of entitlement to Generation Y, or the group of adults born between 1982 and 1995. In general, adults who grew up in Generation Y were sheltered by their parents, not taught the value of work, and given just about anything they wanted. Why? Their parents wanted them to have life easier than their own childhood had been. This is the same group of parents who grew up reaping the rewards of their own work and saying things like, “There is no elevator to the top, only stairs.” Ironic, eh?
Additionally, the over promotion of the “customer is always right” and “because I’m the boss, that’s why” mentalities has led us to believe everything should always be just the way we want it. After all, if I am going to pay $6 for my morning coffee, I am entitled to a smile and friendly banter. If my doctor is going to charge me $100 for my visit, I am entitled to be treated like royalty the entire time I am at the clinic. If I work for my company for a year, regardless of the amount of effort I put into my job, I am entitled to a pay raise on my anniversary. And if my employees are salary instead of hourly, I am entitled to be able to call them when it suits me, even if they have already put in a full days work.
I am part of generation Y. I wish I could say I lack the feeling of entitlement. I do value hard work, but there are times when I feel I deserve preferential treatment just because I am me. Lucky for me, I have also realized if I live my life believing everything should just happen to me because I was put on this earth for it to happen, nothing would ever happen.
Problems with Entitlement
What about you? Do you feel like you are special, or do you realize there are a lot of “special” people out there all competing with you to succeed? The problem with feeling entitled is we lose site of the perspective that everything we get and do comes with consequences, conditions, or effort spent. When we allow entitlement to overtake us, we lose the joy of work and gratification. We rob ourselves of the chance to develop initiative, motivation, and personal responsibility.
Being Special Will Hurt You
If you have never been told this, the next sentence could be a hard pill for you to swallow. You are not special just because your parents told you that you are special. You are not special just because you won a major award two years ago. You are not special just because your business succeeded and now you are making more money than you ever dreamed possible. The moment you start to think you are special you stop your ability to continue with progress. The reality is you are not entitled to anything. You have to continue to earn success, every day. Yesterday’s accomplishments are just that – yesterday’s.
Being Special Will Hurt Your Future
Another problem with entitlement is it stops people from setting their dreams and goals. Take a second to look back at your life. At this very moment is your life where you thought it would be 10 years ago? My guess is the answer is no. It may be time to sit down and map out a goal plan for your life. If you need help, check out the program I completed recently, Living Every Minute: Design the Life You Deserve. It will help you kick the entitlement curve and set up a plan to actually get you where you want to be. The hard part is you will have to actually work. The good news is you know you are entitled to reach your goals because you are willing to work for them.
Being Special Will Make You a Victim
Finally, you need to realize you become a victim the moment you let a sense of entitlement take control of your life. It is very easy to recognize when this happens because you will start to blame everyone on earth for your failures instead of owning up to how you could have preempted them or how you can avoid them in the future. The more special you feel, the more you anticipate receiving appreciation, recognition and praise when you do something right, and the more you start to resent people when those things do not happen.
Don’t get me wrong. To your parents you will always be special. To the rest of the world, however, you are going to have to work very hard to succeed. If you sit around feeling special, at the end of the day, all you will have is a feeling. It is important for you to understand what makes you unique. It is even more important for you to work hard and use those unique skills to foster a successful life. And the only way you can do that is by setting goals, working to achieve them, and using your unique attributes to benefit others.