Do You Have a Sense of Entitlement?

I thought the word entitlement was a good topic because we use it negatively when we talk about other people, however when it comes to ourselves, we know what we are entitled to and make no apologies for that 🙂

  • Michael

    Viktor Frankl said it best after witnessing the survivors in the camps during WW2. "Now the vital requirement was to undergo a Copernican reversal such that they should no longer ask what they could expect from life, but were made aware of the fact that life was awaiting something from them -that for each of them, indeed for all, somebody or something was waiting, whether it was a piece of work to be done or another human being" from Psychotherapy and Existentialism page 104
    Life is entitled to expect something from you, not the other way around.

  • Mike

    I'm not sure if you agree but I think one reason there is a negative element to entitlement is because of the recent Tiger Woods scenario. Athletes, politicians, and movie stars all seem that they are entitled to things because of their status.

  • Wow, what a great topic for discussion Brad. This type of thing really happens quite frequently, I've witnessed and experienced it on some level more times than I can count. I'm 32 years old and have been doing various types of work online since 1998, needless to say I've dealt with several different clients, or potential clients over the years and I find a large percentage of those who are the age 50, 60+ tend to have a very hypocritical and stereotypical view when it comes to new generations and the term entitlement. It's almost like they are programmed to automatically think that those of us who grew up in the digital age are selfish and want everything for free, which obviously is not the case. We work just as hard, in fact we work VERY hard, a lot harder than older generations will ever be willing to give us credit for. Sure, the way we do things is different because of the advancements in technology, and certain things such as the way we communicate has progressed and been simplified, but that does not in any way make us lazy people. I hate to say it, but in my opinion I wish older generations would get off their high horse sometimes and stop bashing younger generations. Afterall, we are the product of our parents as the saying goes. Of course wishing for something like that is like trying to sell a cat to a mouse, not impossible but not a very simple task either or one that is likely to happen.

  • Guest

    Is it possible that you have a different attitude toward the word "entitlement" because you are Canadian? In the US we have a lot of disputes going on right now about government entitlement programs and I suspect that this is coloring people's response to the word.

    An entitlement is basically a right. The important thing to remember is that for every right there is a corresponding obligation. (This is Philosophy 101.) Rights and obligations come only in pairs; you can never have one without the other.

    It feels good to bestow rights on people! It makes us feel generous and virtuous. So it is easy to forget that every time we give someone a right, we are also giving someone an obligation.

    I think a lot of us are feeling obligated up to our ears right now and are in no mood to take on any more. At least that is how I feel when I hear the word "entitlement."

    Thanks for such a stimulating post!

  • Guest

    Sounds like a semantics thing... wither entitlement means someone should have the opportunity for more or simply should get more without effort. I want my future kids to have the opportunity to do anything they want, but not to feel entitled to anything without effort. If they don't earn it, they aren't likely to enjoy it for long.

  • Originally sent to Brad via Twitter:

    People negatively associate entitlement because it typically describes someone who wants something without having to earn it. That said, I personally feel that if you've worked for what ever it is you want, you have every right to feel entitled to it.

    Those are my thoughts in under 280 characters :)

  • Interesting topic. I agree you should want the best for your kids and you should want them to feel like they can accomplish whatever they set their mind to. I just don't know if entitlement is the right term. In most cases it's not used in a positive way. If you look at the definition of entitle
    - to give (a person or thing) a title, right, or claim to something; furnish with grounds for laying claim

    The way entitled/entitlement seems to be used by most people is they claim it's their right to do or not do something. The sense I get is it's given to them with zero work required. This is what bugs me. I want my son to know he can do whatever he wants. I also want him to know he's going to have to bust his little ass to get it. Nothing comes easy you have to work for it.

    My son is entitled to dream as big as he wants to dream. He isn't entitled to the rewards that dream may yield without actually working for it.

  • gerryfraiberg

    Good point, Brad. I think it is important to empower our kids with the sense that they can achieve or do whatever they want - provided they are willing to work for it. The word "entitlement" has become ingrained in our cultural psyche to mean someone, an employee, who feels they deserve it all without having to work for it. Two other important personal elements, I feel, are respect and manners. When these two pieces of the puzzle are missing, it is easy to attach the "entitlement" label in the negative sense. In the positive sense of achieving one's goals? I say go for it. But earn it first. By respect, manners and working at it.

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