Entitlements Are Prisons

Entitlement is "believing oneself to be inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment" while privilege is defined as "a right, immunity, or benefit enjoyed only by a person beyond the advantages of most" people. Feeling entitled is not entirely a terrible thing when we have worked and earned the privilege to have a good salary or a promised reward. However when we feel we are entitled to something for just being who we are, we are causing harm upon society and ourselves. We take and demand privileges not because of meritocracy but because of our self proclaimed superiority. The sense of privilege which everyone speaks of is feeling like your deserve something purely because of our role in society or because of who we are. Earning something and thinking you are entitled to something is obviously different. In a perfect world, there should be no extra rights or privileges in life that are given to you because you are wealthy or poor, young or old, connected or unpopular or any other defining characteristic beyond our skills and aptitudes.

Privilege should not be confused with being wealthy especially when we have worked hard for and deserve something. That privilege has been earned. If you feel you should be treated better because you are simply richer than others. That obviously is called entitlement. If you feel you should get treated better because you have contributed more to the world through your money? That gets a little cloudy because do you deserve special treatment for your contributions? In the end, no, it is still entitlement. You are getting special treatment not because you have earned it directly but purely because you feel entitled to it based on your financial position. Let's look at a different scenario. If you feel poor people should get free food and extra help. If yes, then you are saying that poor people deserve something that they have not earned and they should get treated better than rich people. You granted someone a privilege. Many people will argue that rich people do not need it but we still need to ask why don't we feed everyone equally? We cannot just deny the same privilege on the rich because they have more. We have to grant that privilege on everyone equally. Of course, most people in financial difficulties are grateful for help and do not feel they entitled thus they do not feel entitled. Like rich people, poor people are not entitled to things they do not earn. For the group of poor people who are ungrateful and feel that they deserve the help because society somehow owes them, then they like displaying a sense of entitlement. Their sense of entitlement is justified because they feel their poverty is the reason the special treatment not because of their merit. When anyone, regardless of who they are or place in society, thinks that they deserve extra treatment without earning it, they are displaying entitlement.

No matter who you are, there is a degree of entitlement in your life. Generally most of us feel that we are more talented, smarter, better looking, and overall better than we really are. Psychologist call this, illusory superiority where we tend to overestimate our abilities while we underestimate or ignore our failures and ineptitudes. Illusionary superiority coupled with the fundamental attribution error where we attribute our failures to external causes and other people's failures to internal failures, cause most of us in some way to feel that we could possibly be more deserving than others. Of course we work harder than most and our failures are largely not our fault because we obviously try harder than others. Other people do not deserve as much as us because simply, we earned what I get and perhaps get a little extra for our illusionary effort. Oddly, most people feel the same as us. In the end, everyone feels they deserve more than others thus deserve privileges. Entitlement does not escape the humble. The truth is, none of us deserve better treatment. In the end, we're all nothing more than one of seven billion people with some people a little more fortunate than others. Some of us were fortunate in the genetic lottery or at the right place at the right time. We are not more entitled because of it. This perception of privilege ultimately impacts not just how we feel about others but also impact what we do as well.

Entitlement is a mental prison that prevents us from doing the hard work that we should. When we are convinced we deserve certain privileges, we do not do the work to get what we should be doing. We think people need to treat us with the utmost respect and honor for no other reason than the fact that we exist. This can cause our downfall. Do you feel like people should pass you in a class because you have a higher IQ than everyone else. Then, you will not do the work to learn the skills. Do you feel that you should get paid more because you are obviously more qualified. Then you will not work to get the experience. Do you feel that you do not need to do the menial task but you should manage? Then you will not work to learn how the business really works. We end up feeling certain work is beyond us. We skip steps. When we skip steps, we can never go from A to B and let's forget about C. We never do the basic work to build the solid foundation to rise. We never put in the due to earn the respect of our peers. When we think this work is for "other people" and it is below us, we should be the boss or manager instead. Why? Who cares why? Doesn't everyone know we are better and more deserving? Well, no. In reality, we are the only ones who think that. It is not enough. Feeling that you're entitled binds you into never starting. There are thousands of people are no longer in the work force because they feel that they deserve more than the market is paying. It is either the market is underpaying for those jobs or the skills of those people do not earn the pay that they feel they deserve. It is most likely the former than the latter. But never the less, thousands of people do not work because they feel they deserve more. Entitlement will cage these people into inaction.

Mentally, our sense of entitlement will let us down because we fail to do the work required to earn what we feel we deserve. When we have a sense of entitlement, we will never contemplate doing the little things or the tough things that helps us toward becoming better. Entitlement is a prison that stops us from escaping the ignorance of our mediocracy. Entitlement is a prison.