An old man walks into a shop. His steps are slow, quite automatic. His right hand is firmly clasping the palm of a wooden cane. Apparently ignoring the customer in front of him, he steps to the front of the counter and says loudly, “I want a steak and I want it NOW!”
A middle-aged woman is minding the counter. She calmly replies, “Sir, you are in the wrong shop.”
The old man raises his cane and swirls it around. “This is NOT what I have been told! This place is outrageous!”
Unabated, the woman continues to smile at him. “What have you been told, Sir?”
“I was told I could get a steak right here, right now! Do you know who I am?”
The lady shook her head. “No, Sir, I do not know who you are. Who are you?”
The old man raises his upper lip. “I am older than you, that is who I am.”
“Older how? Older physically? Or older emotionally as in ‘mature’? she replied.
The old man’s nostrils start flaring out. “I will write your store a bad review. I will tell everyone I meet how bad a person you are.” On these ominous words, he prepares himself to storm out of the store.
Before he could reach the exit, she answers on point, “What I offer here are candles. If you are as right as you claim you are, then you might know candles and steak make some of the best shared moments in life.”
The old man gazed at her, his mouth now silently open.
What do you believe the moral of this story is?
Let’s look at this story from another perspective…
A teenager walks into a shop. Their steps are fast, quite automatic. Their right hand is firmly clasping their cell phone. Apparently ignoring the customer in front of them, they step to the front of the counter and say loudly, “I want a steak and I want it NOW!”
A middle-aged woman is minding the counter. She calmly replies, “You are in the wrong shop.”
The teenager raises their phone in protest. “This is NOT what I have been told! This place is outrageous!”
Unabated, the woman continues to smile at them. “What have you been told?”
“I was told I could get a steak right here right now! Do you know who I am?”
The lady shook her head. “No, I do not know who you are. Who are you?”
The teenager raises their upper lip. “I am younger than you, that is who I am.”
“Younger how? Younger physically? Or younger emotionally as in ‘immature’? she replied.
The teenager’s nostrils start flaring out. “I will write your store a bad review. I will tell everyone I meet how bad a person you are.” On these ominous words, they prepare themselves to storm out of the store.
Before they could reach the exit, she answers on point, “What I offer here are candles. If you are as right as you claim you are, then you might know candles and steak make some of the best shared moments in life.”
The teenager gazed at her, their mouth now silently open.
What do you believe the moral of this story is?
Considering the subject of this article, the walk of entitlement, let me ask you…
Why do we become entitled?
Why do we pursue instant gratification?
I believe the answer is, because we think it will be better.
Is it though? How were the old man’s and the teenager’s constant focus on instant gratification going to advance their dream of having a memorable meal?
Clearly, instant gratification does NOT work.
With this in mind…
How do things become better?
I believe, things become better when we focus on:
Becoming emotionally present in the situation. “What am I being right now?”
Becoming intentional in the situation. “What can I do positively right now to give me what I want and need?”
Becoming accountable in every situation. “What can I do to hold myself responsible no matter my mood or circumstance?”
I could certainly relate to the steak and candle situation. Before I became emotionally intelligent, I used to play victim, the “Give me what I want now!” attitude, which in the eyes of others often turned out to be seen as abusive. It wasn’t until I learned to become emotionally present, intentional, and accountable that my life changed drastically for the better.
Here are some rock solid tips to assist you who may suffer from the Walk of Entitlement Syndrome:
- Bring yourself in the present moment by asking yourself, When am I?” If you are worried, your mind is focused on ‘the past’ because, in order to be worried, one has to be afraid that history might ‘repeat’ itself. If you are being anxious, then your mind is focused on ‘the future’ because, in order to be anxious, one has to be afraid of a potential not yet realized outcome. Remember that the only place where we have any true power is in the now.
- Now in the now, ask yourself, ‘What am I being right now?’ One great way I have found to keep myself in check is to wonder what my older self, let’s say the one in 20 years, might think of my current behaviour. If you believe your older self might be empowered by your current action, then continue being grateful, loving, and compassionate with yourself and others. However, if you believe your older self might become less empowered than the current you, then you might truly want to reconsider changing your walk of entitlement to a walk of gratitude.
- Have an accountability system/person in place. Though many of us say we know being grateful is the fastest way to joy, inner peace, and freedom, however, what we believe and what we do does not always match. Therefore, it is crucial to have an accountability system/person in place to keep us from believing we might be behaving better than we are actually doing. I believe there is nothing like a dose of felt truth to shake an entitlement walk.
Now imagine somebody has just read these tips…
What do you believe will be their greatest challenge?
Before she came to see me, Janie* had all the best intentions in the world to stop behaving entitled, BUT she lacked a solid accountability system. This is why as soon as another entitlement walk presented itself, Janie familiarly demanded instant gratification instead of being grateful for what she already has. Can you relate?
If you can…
Who is your accountability system / person in place?
We, the mentors at The Teen Mentor, are here for you 24 hours a day via the website. For all your mentoring questions, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your Emotional Intelligence Coach,
About the Author: Anne BEAULIEU is one of Your Monthly Mentors, an international speaker, empowering coach, and thought leader in the field of Emotional Intelligence and the Founder of Walking Inside Resources Inc. based in Vancouver, British Columbia. As an accomplished author and community builder, Anne is a powerful catalyst for positive change and embodies successful life strategies that keep empowering men and women across the globe. Read More…