Has the Law of Abundance become a Law of Entitlement?

“‘Entitlement’ is not only the opposite of achievement; it undermines incentives to do all the hard work that leads to achievement.”             Thomas Sowell

When I was lecturing at a UK university a few years ago a student came up to me at the first session of the semester and said, “Can I get a distinction in this class?” 

After clarifying exactly what he meant, that is, could he get a distinction just for showing up I said, “I don’t know.  Are you capable of earning a distinction in this class?”

There’s quite a bit of literature out there suggesting that an attitude of entitlement is an affliction of today’s adolesence and individuals in their 20’s.  Other literature says that this phenomenon is a predisposition of anyone born from 1970 onward.  However, before thinking it’s a generational issue let’s look at some of the characteristics of an entitlement attitude? 

Someone with the feeling of entitlement might think or make some or all of the following comments:

  • “Everyone else has ‘X’… so I want it too and right now.”
  • “If you really loved me….. you’d give me ‘X’ now.”
  • “Why should I?  What have they done for me?”
  • “They, the organization, the government, life owes me something.”
  • “I deserve to have it now.”
  • “I want more and I want it now.”
  • “Someone with my level of education or socio-economic status, should be entitled to ‘X’ (e.g. the best service – whatever the service – now, an abundant lifestyle – now, without having to put a whole lot of effort into creating it).   

If these comments are indicators of having a feeling of entitlement (to have or get whatever we want, when we want) then I’d venture to say entitlement isn’t just a generational challenge but fast becoming a societal one. 

Well this is all well and good but what’s it got to do with the notion of abundance?

If we believe we’re entitled to an abundant life, whatever that means to each and every one of us, then we may not be willing to put in the effort needed to create that life. If we want it all, then we’d better be prepared to roll up our sleeves and work towards achieving ‘it all’. 

It’s about exploring what abundance means for us, whatever that means and then going out and creating it!  

“A great source of frustration for people with a strong sense of entitlement is unmet expectations….”[i]                                       Paul Harvey

Life doesn’t always turn out the way we planned on our first, second, third or hundredth attempt.  Some individuals we meet along the way aren’t what they initially appear to be.  Or we may feel that others, who seem to possess what we desire, have gotten it without much effort on their part; while we diligently persevere with little success.     

Creating an abundant life isn’t about expecting any person, institution or windfall to make it happen for us.  Life doesn’t owe us anything we’re not prepared to work towards. 

Creating abundance in your life is about having a clear vision about what you truly want your life to look and feel like and doing whatever needs to be done to attain it! 

For those of us who live in developed countries we’re already blessed with so many life-enhancing opportunities and resources.  Unfortunately, because they’re so readily available we forget, in the first instance, to be grateful for what we do have.  Instead we’ve a tendency to focus on what’s missing rather than the gifts of life that are already all around us. 

I’d love to hear your comments about the notion of entitlement.

Until next time, take time to remember all that you have and reach for all that you desire!


[i] http://www.management-issues.com/2009/4/28/research/gen-y-still-think-the-world-owes-them-a-living.asp

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