The Right and Wrong Way to Feel Entitled
This may come as a shock, but I recently had an enlightening experience at a fraternity party. I was working the door, which can get hectic. Our rules were clear, all girls are allowed in, but in order for a guy to get in, they have to be on the guest list. This is standard procedure for all fraternity parties. One would think that the guys coming up to the door would understand when they were told that they had to be on the guest list. For the most part, it is the complete opposite. When many of these grown men get rejected at the door, they simply lose their shit. Some want to fight the guys on door duty. Some try to yell and curse in an effort to persuade them. Some just walk away with their middle fingers up in the air. There is a common theme among many of the guys who act like children when they can’t get in. They feel entitled to be at the party for no other reason than the belief that there is something inherently special about them. Almost everyone who is denied says that we should let them in because it won’t make a difference if we just let them in. Many are surprised when this does not work.
I believe that this kind of entitled thinking that I have seen at parties is representative of a bigger issue. Many people around my age think that they deserve special privileges, without having good reasons to show why. This is a common complaint that the baby boomers have about millennials and I think it is a legitimate point. I see other young people displaying this kind of behavior in many different contexts. In dating, I see people get upset when a romantic interest does not like them back, even though they do not do anything to offer significant value to the relationship. People often times get extremely upset that they did not get a job, even though they were underqualified and did not take steps to stand out. If someone does not get voted into a position for an organization, they will think that everyone else has a problem for not voting them in. This kind of thinking is all around us, especially on college campuses. Despite being a platitude, the conventional complaint about how our generation is being damaged from the coddling that we received all our lives is accurate. I believe that the coddling is the root cause of these entitlement problems that we have. It gave us the wrong kind of mindset about what it takes to be successful. Many of us were told that we were special growing up, either implicitly or explicitly. This kind of communication did boost our self-esteem, but also really fucked us up. Many people, including myself, really need to work out shifting our thought process to get away from feeling entitled for the wrong reasons.
A strong self-entitlement belief can actually be a good thing if it is instilled properly. Instead of feeling entitled because of who we are, we should feel entitled based off of the value that we know we can offer. We should never feel like we deserve something if we don’t have something to provide in return. It takes a lot of introspection and honesty with one’s self to really assess these situations properly. For example, in dating, it is ok to feel like you deserve really high quality women if you also take steps to be a really high quality man. Someone who is physically fit, charismatic and has a generally awesome life has every reason to feel entitled. If the entitlement belief is shifted, it is extremely empowering. When you think like this, it makes you feel like you should keep improving yourself when things do not go your way. For example, when your girlfriend breaks up with you, you will know that you should look inward to see what you can do differently to be more entitled to get an awesome girlfriend in the future. It is not our first instinct to do this, so it takes a lot of mental toughness to do this right. I know that this is something that I still need to improve on, but the changes in mindset that I have made so far have massively helped me in all areas of my life. I think you will notice the same thing.