Entitlement Mentality: No One Owes You Anything!
“You can’t be grateful for something you feel entitled to”-Steven Furtick
Bill Bailey once said, “We live in the age of entitlement, as opposed to enlightenment”. Have you ever met someone who seems to act like the whole world owes them? I believe the answer is actually a strong “YES” because they abound everywhere. In a sense, we all have this to a degree. A sense of entitlement is a personality trait that is based on a person’s belief that they deserve privileges or recognition for things that they did not earn. In simple terms, people experiencing this believe that the world owes them something in exchange for nothing. The entitlement mentality is defined as a sense of deservingness or being owed a favor when little or nothing has been done to deserve special treatment. It’s the “you owe me” attitude.
What separates the rich from the poor is entitlement mentality. One of the mindsets of the poor is the entitlement mentality. The poor man has a misguided and false sense of entitlement. They believe they are entitled to so many things. Rich people have a strong sense of gratitude while the poor have a strong sense of entitlement and therefore take so many things for granted. When you lose your sense of entitlement, you will find more reasons to be grateful.
Entitlement mentality has eroded the mental capacity of the African youths to think responsibly and take ownership of their lives. People with entitlement mentality always believe that the world owes them something. This form of mentality has a crippling effect on their future. All you will ever get from life are the things that you demand from it; no one will give you what you deserve. You are the only one that can create the life that you want. It is a loss of total control to hold others responsible for the situation in your own life.
There are some behavioural changes that we must imbibe to fight the debilitating effect of entitlement mentality in our lives. They are:
#1 BE GRATEFUL: Steven Furtick said, “Gratitude begins where my sense of entitlement ends.” Someone with a sense of entitlement may not say ‘thank you’ or show other signs of appreciation for what they have. This is because they believe it is their right to have everything, so they don’t value anything. Gratitude shifts your focus from what your life lacks to the abundance that is already present. A man that is mentally healthy believes strongly that there is always something to be thankful for. Brené Brown said, “What separates privilege from entitlement is gratitude”. We should learn to practice more of giving gratitude for what we have rather than feeling entitled towards what we don’t have. Consider everything you have in your life right now: a home, family or friends, good health, etc. Take a moment to be grateful for everything that you have and realize that there are a lot of people out there who would love to trade places with you.
#2 ACT AS IF THE WORLD OWES YOU NOTHING: Understand that you are not entitled to anything. Unfortunately, the world does not owe you anything. Life is unfair and it’s your job to make the best of what you get in life, not to complain about what you deserve but don’t have. The earlier we realize that no one owes us anything, the better for us, and the more prepared we would be to face life’s challenges. We operate at a high level of responsibility when we constantly remind ourselves that nobody owes us anything in life.
#3 TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR LIFE: Learn to take responsibility and ownership of your future. Albert Einstein said, “If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.” People with entitlement mentality always believe that their problems are not their fault and always see themselves as victims of life’s situations. They believe strongly that someone, something or a government is responsible for their predicament. They are not capable of being honest with themselves and accepting responsibility for their lives. They are unable to see how their own steps, actions, inactions and negligence have brought them to where they are presently. It is wrong to hold others responsible for the situation in your own life.
#4 BELIEVE THAT YOU ARE YOUR OWN RESCUE: Hear this loud and clear: No one is coming to save you; you are your own rescue! The greatest threat to your destiny is the belief that someone else will save it. Barrack Obama once said, “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” You must take ownership of your future. You must stop acting in manners and ways in which people around you continue to see you as a liability or a beggar. You must stop believing in the illusion and delusion of an external elixir. Take absolute responsibility for where you are presently and design a plan for where you want to be. Be intentional about the action steps you will need to take in getting to where you want to be in life. Instead of looking for anchors that are beyond your control, start taking actions. You are your own rescue!
#5 STAY AWAY FROM PEOPLE WITH ENTITLEMENT MENTALITY: Entitlement mentality is contagious! In some extreme cases, you may need to completely cut ties with an entitled person. Kevin Eiken Berry said, “Look carefully at the closest association in your life, for that is the direction you are heading”. If you want to catapult your thinking and widen your perspective, you will need to upgrade your circle of friends. There are so many people you will never realize that you are better off without until you cut them off.
Entitlement mentality is the main reason why many people are poor, unsuccessful, irresponsible and ungrateful. Rich people have a strong sense of gratitude while the poor have a strong sense of entitlement. Rich people have a strong sense of responsibility while the poor have a high measure of entitlement mentality. Most people unknowingly have entitlement mentality as their default way of thinking. Default thinking is the greatest enemy towards having a dynamic mindset. Most times, our mind has adopted a default belief system as a result of our environment, education, exposure and experience. We must be open and sincere to acknowledge this default setting and start resetting it to reflect the destination that we desire. If you want to create different results from what you got in the past, you have to learn to think and act differently. In order to live a successful life, we must delete completely traces of entitlement mentality from our lives.
Finally, I want to advise parents to stop encouraging entitlement mentality in their children. Parents naturally want their children to be happy and fulfilled. This is a healthy and natural urge, but when parents make the mistake of always saying “yes” to their kids, it can lead to a gradual sense of entitlement. This type of behavior that is allowed during early childhood causes young children to believe that these are actually the acceptable patterns and behaviors throughout life. Children who are always given what they want and are not required to earn rewards for good behavior generally become adults who expect others to cave to their demands. Often, they become adults who do not know how to effectively communicate with others, and they may have trouble developing healthy and stable relationships. It is not everything they ask for that you must give them!
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “Never, never, never let yourself feel that anybody ought to do anything for you. Once you become a duty you also become a nuisance”-Marjorie Hillis