What do We Deserve?

“Entitlement gets us nothing but heartache. It blinds us to what’s possible […] most of all, it lets us off the hook, pushing us away from taking responsibility (and action) and toward apportioning blame and anger instead.” -Seth Godin

Advertising would have us believe that whatever it is they are selling promising the fulfillment of our desires is not only something we need, but also deserve. You’ve come a long way baby, you deserve that cigarette. Virginia Slims made a lot of money in the 70’s persuading women to smoke based on the psychology of entitlement. Loreal continues to do something similar with the tag line “you’re worth it.” But we need to be careful with the idea that we deserve anything. Why? Because it’s counter productive to proceed in life with an orientation which concerns itself primarily with “what’s in it for me?”

Making the issue of entitlement the sun around which our life orbits is a losing proposition as Seth Godin so aptly points out. Where’s the gratitude for the abundance we’re already naturally immersed in? Where’s the concern for what it may be that other people are genuinely in need of? Our psychological health and well-being are contingent not only upon a focus including, but also necessarily extending beyond our own needs and desires.

The beauty of this more expansive outlook is that it holds potential for putting us in touch with possibility, with an acknowledgement and appreciation not only for what is already working, but inspiration for innovative solutions to problems yet to be addressed. It gets us away from all the finger-pointing that just wastes time, and fuels our imagination with ideas that stand to benefit the health and well-being of the whole scene. It’s the art and science of not only choosing to care, but caring in demonstrable terms meaningful to the whole.

Entitlement stands in the way of all that vitality.