As the owner of several publicly facing businesses, I am constantly surrounded by people. In fact, on an average day I shake hands with at least nine people I have never met before, and speak with dozens more over the phone. Over the past decade I have noticed an uptick in number of people I come across, on a day to day basis, who believe that the world should be handed to them; that they are entitled to whatever they want, without having to do any of the work.
The following anecdote is directed at those individuals who want more out of life, but instead of pursuing success, they feel entitled to it!
All of my interactions with people have led me to the startling conclusion that most people do not live up to their potential, but they want to be rewarded as if they do. If people put as much time, effort and energy into pushing themselves and actually pursuing their dreams instead of just dreaming about them, imagine how much further ahead we would all be? We all have the potential and capability to do great things yet, just like most people, you are holding yourselves back. I know you all want more. People who are successful are drawn to people who are successful. Success, happiness, and fulfillment are all magnets drawing more of the same to themselves. You want greater success and enrichment in your career; you want to bring more happiness and contentment into your relationships; you want more of that which satisfies you and I want that for you as well. However the great divide between wanting and obtaining is effort.
I am sure you have all heard of getting stuck in “middle management”, or hitting a plateau. What you may not know is that this happens because people become complacent and start believing that by meeting the minimum requirements of their job they will somehow still achieve success. This sense of entitlement is the most frustrating thing because entitlement is the death of pursuit, passion, and an internal drive which will grow all your personal endeavors. You become complacent and lazy, which are the opposite attributes of those that will propel you forward.
In contrast, those who do have a personal drive and sense of urgency must begin to either compensate for the others, or ego-stroke those who have this sense of entitlement. They are thus stuck either doing double-duty and spending more of their energy looking back at those lagging behind and motivating them or focusing on striving ahead and bringing their own determinations to whatever goal is at hand. Either way, this significantly slows down the creative and effective processes and can instill a sense of bitterness and resentment in the people that ARE doing the work and are motivated (because in essence they are babysitting these less-than-motivated individuals). As they focus more on how these other people feel that they aren’t getting what they deserve, this downtrodden, negative and pessimistic attitude which is the death of creativity, by the way, can potentially infect and become a disease to those who were originally so optimistic and effective.
What does this mean? Pull your weight! Put forth your best effort! Don’t just let the light of creativity and that ‘go get em’ attitude be something that shines when you interview for a job, or are trying to keep your job by the skin of your teeth. Let it motivate you everyday! Push yourself daily to do more than is necessary. Come in early to prepare for the day and stay until your work is done. Stop saying “NO” and start finding a way to make it happen. And if you have some amazing ideas and its not the right time to implement them or right for where you are right now, at least you were willing to put it out there and try. Trying is key. Nothing floats upstream. IT TAKES EFFORT, persistence, determination and passion.
So please take a look at your work and the effort you put into it and ask yourself if this is the kind of effort that will get you somewhere, or barely enough to keep you afloat where you are. If you effectively, consciously and consistently implement this mindset, you will find that after so much time, you will not even need to stop and check in anymore because it will just come inherently to you.
Remember, why would anyone who is motivated, always pushing forward and working hard want to stop and help someone who is so focused and embittered on how they are NOT getting what they deserve? People who are focused on what they “SHOULD” have and where they “SHOULD” be and on who “SHOULD” be impressed by them are wasting valuable time and energy. Remember, positive energy attracts positive energy.
There is a great metaphor that I am reminded of which encases this whole mindset and which, if you are not familiar, you need to memorize and adopt: “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime.” It would be great and easy if someone would just come along and do all the work and give you all the credit and all the accolades and money and success. But you would have no skill-set and nothing to contribute. I am not in the business of feeding a village; I am in the business of building a nation. The skills and ethics that brought you where you are need to propel you forward and contribute to your daily life in a way that brings you fulfillment, success, and purpose. Without these attributes, no matter who is doing the work, you would never be truly satisfied. If you need help, there will always be people around to help you. But don’t look to them to do your work and give you the credit. They are there to mentor and teach you so you can be the most effective that you can be.
Remember, there is no more floating allowed, only pushing forward. Let us all find and pursue that which brings us passion and ultimate joy.