The Curse of Entitlement

All of us feel a sense of entitlement sometimes.

We feel we have a right to the best medical treatment. We feel we have a right to a better position at work because we earned it. We feel we should have the larger bedroom because we’re the one who put in more leg work to find the apartment. We feel we should be seated first at the restaurant because the two of us arrived before that party of seven. We deserve that special treat because we’ve worked so hard lately.

Of course, we should be able to expect fair treatment from those to whom we provide our business and to those we choose to spend our time with and our energy with.

However, human nature is egocentric. We tend to see things mostly from our own perspective and we expect that we deserve things handed to us.

We’re sick, so we deserve the full focus of the doctor, regardless of the other medical issues that doctor is handling at the moment.

We worked hard, so we deserve the promotion, regardless of what others might have done and what the specific requirements of that job are.

We found the apartment so we deserve the big bedroom, regardless of whether our roommate might actually have a reason to have the larger space.

We made it to the restaurant before that large party so we should be seated right now, regardless of the fact that only a few tables in the restaurant can actually fit this large party.

We worked hard all week and deserve that special treat, regardless of the cost of it and how that cost will affect our finances.

That sense of entitlement has costs.

Someone who demands immediate care for their relatively minor ailment might be treated by a distracted doctor who is thinking more about the care needed by that very sick child down the hall. By waiting a bit, that person might very well get a more attentive appointment and more appropriate care.

Someone who demands a promotion even when the job makes more sense for someone else can end up being perceived in a pretty poor way by management and will likely be overlooked for other opportunities in the future.

Someone who demands the larger bedroom without a good reason or without a fair way of determining who gets the room might very well find themselves without a roommate.

Someone who demands to be seated immediately might very well find themselves pushed to the back of the list by the host.

Someone who demands a special treat for their efforts might find that the expense of the treat ends up costing them over the long run.

Someone who regularly makes demands of others might find that people aren’t there for them when they truly need the help.

The world does not revolve around your immediate needs.

If you feel that it does, you’re likely to spend money needlessly. You’re likely to push people in directions they don’t want to be pushed. You’re also likely to not end up with what you “deserve” on a somewhat frequent basis.

You are not entitled to wealth. You are not entitled to happiness. You are not entitled to success. You are not entitled to a special treat.

Those things are the natural reward for hard work and effort and consistent good choices. They will happen naturally if you step back and let them happen.

You don’t need to spend and push and demand. While those things might get you a small reward in the moment, they generally cost you.

You no longer experience the natural reward that comes from work and effort and good choices. Entitlement disconnects that.

Instead, you simply demand and expect those things, and when people begin to demand and expect things, they become less and less pleasant to be around.

Right now, stop and ask yourself what you feel entitled to. Do you feel entitled to immediate service? Do you feel entitled to regular treats? Do you feel entitled to the most comfortable seat?

What are those entitlements really costing you? Are they worth it?

Trent Hamm
Trent Hamm
Founder of The Simple Dollar

Trent Hamm founded The Simple Dollar in 2006 after developing innovative financial strategies to get out of debt. Since then, he’s written three books (published by Simon & Schuster and Financial Times Press), contributed to Business Insider, US News & World Report, Yahoo Finance, and Lifehacker, and been featured in The New York Times, TIME, Forbes, The Guardian, and elsewhere.

Loading Disqus Comments ...