Entitlement is a growing blight on our community and relationships. Although millenials are often seen as the worst offenders, the problem is more widespread than that. People of all ages are feeling more entitled than ever.
I was listening to a podcast the other day. It was the story of a rock climber who noticed his rope had come undone. All he had keeping him safe on the rock wall were his fingers which were getting tired. If they failed him, he would fall and die. With panic surging at his predicament, he had a moment of clarity as he realised gravity doesn't care. If his fingers failed, he would fall and die. It didn't matter that he was a very experienced climber, he had tied his knot, it unfortunately had come undone during the climb. It didn't matter that he didn't deserve to die, he was a successful, wealthy business man who did charity work or that he had a family who loved and needed him. Gravity didn't care. If he fell, the direction would be downwards, and the ending would be messy. Life is the same. The choices we make often have predetermined outcomes.
The choices we make often have predetermined outcomes.
This is the problem with entitlement. The idea that we are the exception or special and that the rules of life don't apply to us. If our rope comes undone, we won't fall, we will rise. There will not be the usual consequences for making a poor choice of knot that works its way undone. This simply isn't true. The law of sowing and reaping applies to everyone!
The law of sowing and reaping applies to everyone!
Technology has led us to lack patience and having what we want right now, instantaneously. People graduate from university and expect to have a great job straight away rather than an entry level job. Expecting to be handsomely at the beginning of their career. When boredom sets in we turn to devices to quell those feelings. Devices are used all day to help us avoid our feeling, avoid engagement with others and our work. We're constantly trying to escape because we feel entitled to be happy all the time and avoid discomfort. The plague of entitlement has society living in a fairy wonderland that doesn't exists.
The plague of entitlement has society living in a fairy wonderland that doesn't exists.
The reality is that to excel will require work, effort and patience. If you want great friendships, you'll need to invest time, emotions, and maybe money. To get a great job and career, you will have to invest time and effort and be patient. It usually takes around 10 years or 10 000 hours to become an expert or an overnight success. Instant gratification only exists in the unreal online world. Real life takes effort, sacrifice, discomfort, perseverance and grit. We are not entitled to have the things we want dropped into our laps, onto our walls or delivered to our inbox without effort. We must sow before we can reap. We must plant, wait, nurture and then reap. Reaping is the last thing we do, not the first.
We must sow before we can reap. We must plant, wait, nurture and then reap. Reaping is the last thing we do, not the first.
So what happened to the rock climber? He noticed an old anchor that had been left by someone previously. But he had a hard choice to make. In order to tie himself into the anchor, he would have to let go! The story ends well, he retied his rope and finished the climb with an amazing story to tell.
Better than entitlement is gratitude. Rather than wondering where all the good stuff is and why it hasn't dropped into our laps, we can be thankful for the many blessings we do have. Be present and notice them all around you, and give thanks. When we're thankful for what we have we don't have to feel anger when we don't get what we want immediately! Look around and engage with the people who come across your path. Lift your head up from your device, look around and be thankful for everything you already have. It will change your life for the better.
Better than entitlement is gratitude.