Do any of these statements sound familiar? If you have any teenagers in your life, you’ve probably heard them demanding to receive a cell phone, saying that all their friends have their own phones and that they deserve to have one too. Even in your own life, you may have caught yourself using this exact same internal dialogue. I deserve to own my own home. It’s not fair that I’m still renting when I should be a homeowner. The problem is that many of us suffer from a sense of entitlement.
Face It: Life’s Not Fair
Although we like to believe that we live in a meritocracy, we also have certain expectations in life. From a very young age, we may have great ambitions for the future. As a child, you may very well expect that you deserve to attend university on a full scholarship. You’re a bright kid, so why can’t you go to school for free? As you get closer to high school graduation, you may start to realize just how difficult it is to get a full scholarship. It’s not fair. Why can’t I go to school for free? Why can’t I have that hot new sports car? Why can’t I have a problem-free relationship with my significant other?
You Don’t Deserve It
The truth is that we aren’t entitled to very much at all. We take many of the great things in our lives for granted, so we fully expect to get even more. With the current recession, many people are losing their jobs and they’re shouting back to the world that they deserve better. They feel that they deserve to have a better position with a better salary, but whining and complaining will get you nowhere. You don’t deserve a job; you earn it. Having hopes and dreams is one thing, but fulfilling them requires hard work and dedication. In approaching any ambitious endeavor, it is perhaps best to expect nothing but work toward everything.
The Journey Is a Gift
We all know that life is difficult, but it is this very challenge that makes life worth living. You may feel like you deserve that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but the actual retrieval of the pot of gold isn’t nearly as important or fulfilling as the journey toward it. Receiving handouts with very little effort may seem nice at first (I like getting free stuff as much as the next guy), but earning your success is so much more rewarding.
As cliche as it may sound, each and every day of your life is a gift. Cherish it for what it is. Anything beyond that is a bonus.