I deserve what I want. I am entitled to it. Really? Living the dream without entitlement means being free of the pressure of absolutely having to have it your way.

I don’t believe entitlement is germane only to the current generation of young adults. It is a natural phenomenon to want more.  As a college professor I often receive calls and emails from students complaining of having gotten a low grade.

“You gave me a ‘C’ on that last paper,” says Denise.

“Yes,” I reply. “What is your strategy for improving that for the next time?”

“I don’t think you understand Professor Marx, I never get low grades.”

Fortunately, Denise soon realized that I was there to help her improve and learn. I became one of her favorite instructors. Other students drop my class if they don’t get high marks on the first assignments. Research* shows that students feels they deserve high grades for working hard, showing up for class, and turning in their assignments on time. Quality and professionalism are not the essential factors in an evaluation in the opinion of many.

To be truly living your dream, your sense of accomplishment hinges on a self-esteem based on your own merit in my opinion. People with high self-esteem usually do not have a high sense of entitlement (and vice-versa). Much of what we have was built on systems built by others. In fact, the whole world was built without your help. Dennis Hooper, an Executive Coach in Atlanta, says the following: “You have been on this earth for X number of years, breathing air you didn’t create, being held down by gravity you didn’t invent and don’t control, and consuming energy delivered by a star you didn’t place in the sky and you don’t refuel.”

The remedy for entitlement is gratitude. It is not a matter of getting what you want, but being grateful for what you got. Every encounter is a learning experience. Every chance to improve yourself is an opportunity to live the dream.

What are you grateful for?

If you would like to see my video on this topic, follow this link:

Research Source: Greenberger, E., Lessard, J., Chen, C., & Farruggia, S. P. (2008). Self-entitled college students: Contributions of personality, parenting and motivational factor. Journal of Youth Adolescence.

Image source: http://nc3t.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/entitlement.jpg