Understanding The Value of Opportunity

When most people hear the word “entitlement,” they all usually picture the same thing: Someone who has had such a privileged upbringing that he or she has no desire to actually work towards anything. What’s the use, since it there’s no reason to believe it won’t be handed to them like everything else.

But if this was the true definition of entitlement, the term would only apply to the laziest and most affluent young adults. Anyone who does not adhere to this description must therefore understand the value of the fabulous opportunities they have been given and be taking full advantage of them.

This couldn’t be further from the truth, as evidenced by the work ethic and perception of the typical millennial. Unbelievable opportunities for success are bestowed left and right, whether they be in the form of a position at a solid company or an idea for a ground-breaking product or service. Such opportunities are witnessed so frequently that they could even be considered “average,” or a natural stage of development that everyone experiences at some point of their early 20s.

This scenario should logistically result in a sea of satisfied and motivated youths with little if any regrets about their budding careers. Much more apparent, however, is a rebellious mob that feels cheated, used, and neglected. They believe they’ve done everything they could to set themselves on a path to greatness but that future was somehow robbed from them, leaving them lost with no a clue of what to do next.

If only they could pinpoint where they went wrong.

They worked full days, reserved leisurely pleasures for when they got home, and fulfilled their superior’s wishes. They did what they were paid to do, what was expected of them. They did what seemed to be perfectly satisfactory for advancement.

A peer who has achieved success, however, would call this the bare minimum. Working 9–5, taking an hour lunch, and going home to relax are not habits of those destined for success. They are habits of those who have no desire to reach the next step towards a goal, those who do not understand the value of the opportunity they have been given.

They are habits of the entitled.

People who take full advantage of their opportunities work well over eight hours a day, bring their work home with them, and dramatically exceed the expectations of their superiors. They leave hardly any time for traditional relaxation because when you truly want something, the only peace of mind available for you is working towards that goal. They have accepted that in order to be within range of their goal by the time they hit 30 or 35, they must sacrifice all the time and energy they can muster during the first and most crucial step of the path to success.

Here’s the cold, hard truth: Refusing to take full advantage of the opportunities you are given in your early 20s brings you no closer to your goal. If you think you can just do the bare minimum despite having the opportunity to do so much more, congratulations: You are entitled.

Being handed a good position or being the gifted the capacity to form a good idea doesn’t make you entitled. Choosing not to take full advantage of that position or idea because you don’t think you have to is what makes you entitled.

If you are fortunate enough to be working for a company in the field of your choice, you have been given the opportunity of a lifetime. Surrounded by experts in your industry, you have an insider’s view of how a truly reputable group of people gets stuff done. People who weren’t as lucky would kill to be in your position, where you are able to learn exactly what it takes to succeed.

So rather than doing the bare minimum, learn as much as you can about day-to-day operations, establish a formidable reputation, secure valuable contacts, and most importantly, test yourself. Becoming an expert in anything requires an incredible amount of practice, and thanks to this wonderful opportunity, you actually know what it is you must practice in order to make your dreams come true. It will likely take years for you to really know what you’re doing but if this is the case, doesn’t it make sense to start as early as possible? The earlier you put in the work, the earlier success will come to you.

Having something flashy to put on your resume isn’t enough. You’ve got to know your industry better than anyone else, and people with this level of knowledge didn’t acquire it by doing the bare minimum. They went to every industry-related event their first position could get them into, spent their free time at work becoming familiar with every single element of their industry, and capitalized on every chance they had to attach their name to any sort of project that was being completed in their presence.

No, you won’t be able to go out with your friends or go on vacation as much as you’d like but you have your whole life to do that. Your early 20s is the time to plant the seed to success, and without the seed, success cannot grow. You are nothing until you begin to seriously push yourself. Success is rewarded to those who deserve it, so prove yourself worthy by leaving no stone unturned, no question unanswered during your maiden voyage into the unknown.

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