The Virus Of Entitlement

There’s massive media attention and fear about catching COVID-19; but there’s another virus that many live with but give no thought to.

I see the symptoms of infection when MSPs tell me all this marketing should be easier. I shouldn’t have to do marketing if I do a good job. I should have gotten a better response/return on my money than what I got for that campaign. It shouldn’t take this much work to get a marketing plan in place. It shouldn’t be this complicated.

Over and over again, these reveal an entitlement attitude towards business and success. Of course they don’t see it as a form of entitlement, but that’s exactly what it is – and it’s what keeps them small, struggling and infinitely frustrated. After all, if it SHOULD be easier, faster and simple, then why continue putting in the effort? If it’s hard to do, it must be that something is wrong with the process, the customers, the approach – or it’s something outside their control that’s preventing them from succeeding – so they stop. They “try” something else, something new, only to find it’s not the “easy” solution they were hoping for, and it’s just as complicated, expensive and difficult. At some point, they stop trying altogether, give up, locking them into failure.

Unfortunately, the entitlement virus has spread throughout the minds of many Americans, and shows itself everywhere.  

Entitlement is a blight. A debilitating disease of the mind. A despicable philosophy adopted by many who have become so bitter about their own failures and envious of those who have worked hard to get ahead that they have decided the world owes them. That’s how it should be spoken of and dealt with. It’s how EVERY wealthy person I know of thinks of an entitlement attitude, even if they don’t say it as publicly as I do. They know and feel it’s outrageous for a person to seek benefit without merit, reward without effort. If someone else has to provide “it” for you, whatever “it” is, then it’s not a right because it trespasses on another person’s freedoms.

If you want to have exceptional success, you must spurn all thoughts of entitlement and foster a sense of gratitude for the opportunity to work hard every day. It’s a lesson I learned from George Foreman when I heard him speak over a decade ago to an audience of entrepreneurs – and it’s one I’ve never forgotten. When George was first struggling to dig out of financial difficulties and launch his grill, he promised God that he would never resent hard work and would always feel grateful to have work to do. His philosophy is absolutely not one of entitlement, but of hard work. Of personal responsibility.

In business, you cannot have an entitled attitude toward anything. I’ve heard business owners smugly say, “That person will never leave me. I pay them really well and give them tons of freedom.” Well, I can tell you I’ve hired dozens of high performers away from such places. In marketing, every new customer, every repeat purchase, every lead, every dollar, must be EARNED. I see business owners grossly neglecting their clients – never meeting with them, never communicating with them, never introducing anything new and exciting. They treat them like the spouse they’ve been married to for 30 or more years and think, “They’re not going anywhere.” Until they do.

If you have “everything must be earned” as your governing philosophy, you’ll succeed because you’ll never take anything for granted. You’ll appreciate what you have and work hard to keep it.

Here’s a CREDO: Ask for nothing you haven’t worked for and make no apologies for what you have rightfully earned. As Jim Rhone would say, don’t wish business/life/work was easier – wish you were better. Don’t wish for more ease, but for more skills. Don’t wish for fewer problems, wish for more resolve and wisdom. I would add, don’t wish, but DO.