Entitlement mentality is the state of mind that you are owed something when most people around would beg to differ.
The second part of that sentence is the key.
Indeed, the most toxic expression of entitlement mentality is the gap between egotism and reality.
Should you fix your entitlement mentality?
Until you get rid of it, you will have difficulties achieving what you want to achieve and it’s unlikely that you will maximize your true potential.
This article will show you how examples of entitlement mentality and, by the end of it, you will know how to overcome it.
- A generation Entitled?
- The Entitled Social Life
- What Makes You Entitled?
- How Entitlement Eats Away At Your Power
- Overcoming Entitlement
- Replacing Entitlement
- Exception: When Entitlement Is Useful
A generation Entitled?
Some people say that millennia and Generation Z have a huge entitlement mentality.
Frankly, this video is more of an emotional/bitter rant than a thorough analysis, but it makes some good points
Mark Manson says that entitlement is the consequence of advertising and fake self-help telling you that yes, “you’re special” and yes “you deserve it”.
And some sources claim that entitlement seems to be an issue in the western world, with its individualistic and materialistic values.
But still, I say that’s all hogwash.
Not because it’s not true.
But because you don’t need to worry about it.
You are not your generation and you are not your geography!
Why should you care if your generation is X, Y, or Z?
You are an individual, with your own mindset and psychology. You are bigger than your generation.
Wherever you come from and whatever your age, being entitled is not doing you any good in your life.
And particularly so for your social life and personal power.
So let’s see how to change that.
The Entitled Social Life
In social settings, an entitlement mentality is particularly unhelpful.
Here’s how entitled people undermine themselves socially:
1. Give Little Recognition to Others
To entitled people what others accomplish, say, or do doesn’t matter much.
They filter out the world through the “me” lenses and hence miss out on the chances of building others up.
2. Talk Too Much
They believe that attention is owed to them.
And that others must be interested in their stories.
So instead of managing a good back-and-forth conversational flow, they monopolize the conversation
See the group conversation walkthrough for an example
3. Ignore Other’s Opinion
People can often be easily won over by your way of thinking.
But first, they need to feel that you care about them and understand their opinion (seek first to understand, 7 Habits).
Entitled people believe their opinions are more important though, so they jump straight to that.
4. Interrupt / Deny / Pontificate
Being social is striking a balance between “I” and “them”. And often more about “them” than “I”.
Of course, entitled people struggle with that, and they commit all the most typical rapport-breaking mistakes.
They say “no” (big rapport break), interrupt others; launch with their own stories to “outdo” others.
Check common conversation mistakes.
Entitlement Mentality Examples
Here are a few sentences that reek of entitlement:
- “Let’s do it, I know how to market a product” (the “serial entrepreneur” with 3 failed startups)
- “No, what you should really tell her is this… ” (the 3 years single guy who didn’t choose singledom)
- “I’m a woman, he should pay for me” (low-value woman with a man who obviously doesn’t feel that way)
- “I deserve it” (but can’t afford it: hilarious example here)
Billy Bats in this Goodfellas scene shows an entitlement mentality:
He just looks like an entitlement complainer. Nobody takes you seriously when you talk like that.
Or look at this acquaintance of mine who “deserved” the Louis Vuitton bracelet -but didn’t really have the money for it-:
Entitlement Self-Help Examples
There’s a lot of bad self-help literature that is all based on entitlement.
This is what it sounds like:
- Breakup: You were too good for him
But you’re crying over the breakup
- Didn’t get the job: They didn’t deserve you
But you really wanted the job
- Looking to improve: no, just be yourself
Even though “being yourself” hasn’t gotten you where you want to be.
What Makes You Entitled?
We could slice and dice entitlement in many ways.
But I will rein in my tendency to over-write :).
This is, in short, the definition of an entitled personality
You believe something is owed to you..
And the second leg of entitlement is this:
…But the world feels otherwise
Let’s analyze some of the above statements with the entitlement X-ray goggles on:
- “Let’s do it, I know how to market a product”
Experience entitlement. If you’re barely making ends meet the world doesn’t think you know how to market a product.
- “No, what you should really tell her is this… “
Attention entitlement. He didn’t ask your opinion, you’re assuming he wants to hear it.
And could be OK if you really had deep insights. But 2 years single not for choice might suggest otherwise.
- “I’m a woman, he should pay for me”
Vagina entitlement. That guy didn’t really feel like he owes you a meal. Become a higher quality woman or learn to pick better men and the next one probably will.
- “I deserve it”
Lifestyle entitlement. Your bank account feels differently pal. Give more to the world and you will be able to spend more.
- Just be yourself
Egocentric entitlement. If she’s crying being herself maybe isn’t delivering. And doing the same and expecting different results is like asking the world should start treating you differently.
But changing the world is hard because, well… Because the world doesn’t revolve around you.
Change yourself instead.
How Entitlement Eats Away At Your Power
Entitlement can help to acquire power, actually.
In “how to gain power quick” I explained how a sense of entitlement coupled with ballsy and resolute actions is a key trait to acquiring power quickly.
However, entitlement is also the enemy of long-lasting power.
Writes Robert Greene in The Laws of Human Nature:
Whatever the cause, it infects all of us, and we must see this sense of entitlement as a curse.
It makes us ignore the reality—people have no inherent reason to trust or respect us just because of who we are.
It makes us lazy and contented with the slightest idea or the first draft of our work.
Why do we have to raise our game or strain to improve ourselves when we feel we are already so great?
It makes us insensitive and self-absorbed.
By feeling that others owe us trust and respect, we negate their willpower, their ability to judge for themselves, and this is infuriating. We may not see it, but we inspire resentment.
Entitlement has led some poor leaders and dictators to their bitter (and deserved) end.
To overcome entitlement you’ll need vulnerability and the initial courage of staring at your current inadequacies.
“Love reality even when it hurts”, says Ray Dalio.
Let’s start with that:
1. Stare Naked At Reality
Before proven otherwise, this is the default status:
- You’re a dime a dozen and you’re not that special
- Nobody cares about you
- You’re not great
And that’s OK.
2. Pull Your Own Weight
Some cases of entitlement are because of helicopter parents.
Move out or start contributing and helping your parents. Their love might be unconditional, but it’s unconditionally asshole of you to just take.
3. Wisdom Awaiting Outside Your Comfort Zone
The belief that you are “good” is often a fantasy we build to protect our ego.
We keep that fantasy by not really trying anything difficult and by shielding ourselves from failure.
Do the hard things instead.
Get out of your comfort zone and get some wisdom slapped into you by the real world.
And watch your entitlement mentality disappear.
4. Put Yourself in Others’ Shoes
Take a moment to think of typical entitlement behavior:
- How do you feel when people ask for more than they contribute?
- What do you think when a smug face feels like they cut the line in front of you?
- And when they interrupt you because they think they know better?
Yep, that’s how obnoxious entitlement is.
5. Give More To Get More
Peter Diamandis, author of Bold, says that to become a billionaire you have to help a billion people.
Get that mindset!
To fully deal with your entitlement mentality and zip past it, you need to replace it with something else.
The entitlement mentality is built around the idea that you’re good, important, and “better”.
Not only that’s not (always) true, but it makes you act like a moron.
We will replace that with a different identity based on being a:
- Learner (read developing a growth mindset)
- Someone who never gives up (read Grit by Angela Duckworth)
Read building an antifragile ego which lays out all the steps.
On Your Road to Greatness
Now that you’re not that special anymore… It’s quite a bit freeing, isn’t it?
You’re just a guy/girl who’s finally free to try new things and… Possibly fail.
And now that you’re not so great anymore, you can finally start getting great for real. Because nothing is owed to you, but everything you want is for the taking when you become the right person for it.
What would happen if you made your goal to be the best at whatever you do?
It’s not entitlement anymore to believe you’re the best when you’re actually the best.
Exception: When Entitlement Is Useful
As for most things:
Some entitlement can be useful, in some situations and for some basic beliefs and rights.
Including beliefs and rights that support personal empowerment.
Feeling you are NOT entitled to anything leads to over-passiveness, over-submission, and to under-achieve in life.
And extreme non-entitlement to basic respect can also lead to abuse.
Basic Rights: You’re Entitled to Respect and Dignity
You do are entitled to:
- Basic respect and dignity
- Respectful behavior and communication
- To never be abused and taken advantage of
And you are entitled to demand proper and respectful treatment and communication.
When not forthcoming, you are also entitled to push back, fight, or find any other means to stop the abuse and disrespect.
There are also some situations when feeling entitled can help you achieve more by taking more chances.
For example, feeling entitled to a good mate or a good job pushes you to look for partners and jobs, and that can ultimately lead to better results.
However, it’s still good to remain realistic and focus on self-development as well, or the only thing you’ll get is a string of rejections and burned bridges.
Generally speaking, to maximize your results you want your entitlement to only marginally be ahead of your “actual value”.
When Entitlement Helps Succeed
Finally, it’s also a generalization that entitlement never leads to success.
Some entitled and narcissistic personalities believe they can simply talk about themselves and receive attention and money for it.
And for very few, it works.
Our era of digital gossip made that possible even outside of the old established media.
However, never forget that one, those are the rare exceptions.
For every entitled famous person who makes a living from their IG updates and selfies, there are 10.000 who get their ego thrashed for believing they should, but not getting it.
And two, it’s still probably not the best, healthiest, and even happiest way to succeed.
Next Level: Enlightened Entitlement (Entitled and Humble & Realistic)
Because in some situations entitlement can be helpful and support both confidence and self-esteem, the next level of development is in being able to both feel entitled and:
- Realistic about your self-assessment
- Humble about life and your achievements
Call it “enlightened entitlement”.
And it’s a pattern of “walking the line” we’ve seen often on this website.
I highly recommend these articles:
- Enlightened individualist: a monster of an article but central to TPM
- Enlightened collaborator
- Enlightened cynic
Entitlement mentality is costing you in your quality of life, your achievements, and in your social relationships.
Get rid of it and you’ll take a further step towards (social) success.
Note: it’s very possible you were too good sometimes. Or that he should have paid for you or that people should have listened to you. But the question is: is the rest of your life proving that?
Because the onus to prove otherwise is on you.