I’m a twenty-something college graduate and just like many others, I feel entitled. It took me time and experience to recognize it, but entitlement pervades our culture. As our world becomes more interconnected by the day, we seem to cling to the expectation that everything should be done our way and by our schedule. Generation Y has been nicknamed the “Entitlement Generation” for its persistent attitude of deserved success. Knowing it’s an attitude that I don’t care to possess, I’ve found several ways to humbly shed that sticky sense of pride.
Regardless of your place in life, here are a few suggestions for learning to function as a less-entitled person.
Much of our struggle with entitlement comes from the existence of false expectations. Many of us subconsciously subscribe to the belief that we shouldn’t need to work too hard to get what we want. We graduate from college believing that surely our countless hours of study have earned us a fulfilling job, only to be frustrated by a saturated job market. We expect applause for our successes and avoid facing our failures.
Take time to humbly grasp reality. This doesn’t mean adopting a jaded perspective, but turning your focus to the importance and value of others. By valuing the needs of others along with your own, it’s easier to accept when things don’t go our way. It encourages working proactively to achieve what you want. Allow your goals to be ambitious and far-reaching, but make sure to understand the process it will take to achieve them.
Learn from Our Elders
Observe those in your life from previous generations. Take time to hear their thoughts on work and pursuing success. Whether it be parents, grandparents, older friends or superiors at work, there is a lot to be learned from the attitudes preceding the modern generation. Many of the Baby Boomers were raised with the understanding that hard work is necessary to achieve goals and dreams, and success is not automatically deserved. Developing a strong work ethic is helpful in succeeding in the workplace, building relationships and pursuing personal goals.
It’s common among those with an entitled mindset to avoid accountability and responsibility. We often find it difficult to take ownership of our failures, but rather choose to see them as the result of conditions beyond our control. We must learn to be accountable for the work that we take on, and own failures when they happen. As difficult as this can be, taking responsibility fosters growth and self-respect that is hard to achieve otherwise.
It’s easy to let countless blessings go unrecognized and to allow the things that we want and expect to skew our outlook. By bringing blessings into focus we can ignore the things we once felt that we deserved, and recognize the good that we already have. Take moments throughout the day to appreciate the little things that make life special, such as the first sip of coffee in the morning or a hug from a loved one. Recognizing these moments will help you to appreciate the beauty of life and how simple pleasures can bring true joy.
It takes time to reshape perspectives, but the journey out of entitlement will evolve your outlook and leave you with a more gracious and attractive attitude. Removing the focus on our desires and expectations allows us to give ourselves more freely to others. Find ways to serve your local community and seek ways to improve the lives of those around you. By moving the focus outward, entitlement slips away and makes room for greater work and greater love.
Image via Sincerely, Kinsey