Monday, January 26, 2009

Do you know what is worse than taking things for granted?

In my last blog, I wrote about “The Opposite of Gratitude.” That, of course, is taking things for granted. However, the discussion doesn’t end there. Unfortunately, there is something worse than taking things for granted and I feel it needs to be addressed. That something happens all too often and at a great cost to the perpetrators and to the world around them. That ‘something’ is feeling “entitled.”

The dictionary defines entitle as:

1. grant somebody right: to give somebody the right to have or to do something ( often passive )
2. give title to something: to assign a title to something such as a book ( usually passive )
3. award somebody honor: to confer an official position or honor on somebody
that brings a particular title with it

The fact is that nobody is automatically entitled to anything. As defined above, being entitled to something, or feeling entitled is never something one can determine for one’s self. Entitlements must be granted from one person or entity to another. Yet, we see people all the time who behave in such a way, that clearly they feel entitled to do so.

We recognize them as:

The person who takes up two parking spaces.
The person who cuts in front of others at the check stand.
The person who is just down right behaving badly and treating others badly too.
The one who takes things because they feel they deserve it….are entitled to it.

Feeling entitled, that sense that “I deserve it” or “I shouldn’t have to”, comes at a great price. That price is that the “Entitled One” is deprived of any and all opportunity to experience gratitude. Think about it. If one feels deserving or entitled to something, why would he be grateful for it?

This absence of gratitude deprives one from appreciating anything and everything. Without appreciation, nothing is of real value and if nothing is of value, if nothing has meaning, then what is its purpose?

This is very different than taking things for granted. Taking things for granted suggests a lack of consideration. Unfortunately, what happens all too often is that we take for granted that which we value dearly. In order to feel entitled or deserving of something, there must be some consideration. What is missing from the consideration is the value or appreciation of the entitlement.
There are three keys to waking up happy every day.
1. Be grateful for as much as you can.
2. Take as little for granted as possible.
3. Know that you/we are not entitled to anything. Everything is a gift.
Everything is a privilege.

Thank you for letting me share my thoughts with you. If I have made one person’s life a little better today, than my life is better too.

Participate. Make a difference. Live a life that matters.


  1. Hi Michael,

    Breaking news today...

    The Health Central Network has purchased Wellsphere.


  2. I am a very grateful person. I lapse at times, but honestly the smallest pleasures or incidents bring me pleasure or a smile. A kitten or a nice cup of coffee with a good book. Sounds corny, but it is true. I don't wish for better or more. Although I do try to act "better" and do "more."

  3. I freaked out at my friend last night because she repeatedly does things that are downright inconsiderate and selfish. The past 2 nights prior to last night I had said something to her, but she gets wasted and never remembers - then when you try to talk to her about her sober she denies and denies. So, I was eating some food and she comes up and says "give me that" --- woah! I made it, I paid for it and for just the reason that this girl is alive she deserves this food? If she had honestly asked nicely - I would have had no problem at all, but it's her continuous display of feeling entitled to things that pisses me off.

  4. as a side note to what was just posted - I have MS, so when people complain about things that are so picayune or show such a less than grateful attitude to the fact that they're healthy and alive shows this sense of entitlement - like they earned the right to be healthy or something.