Overcoming Entitlement by Practicing Gratitude

What is Entitlement?

When I was a kid, I studied martial arts. In fact, at age five, my mom put me into martial arts and I started studying Taekwondo.   

Then when I became seven, I started studying Shaolin Kung Fu.   

By age 10, I had become the youngest black belt in Colorado to ever get beaten up by a girl.  

This is a true story! I got beat by a girl in a tournament.   

I used to tell my mom, “I don’t like this. This isn’t fun for me. I don’t enjoy this!”  

The idea of getting beat up was never something that was fun for me.   

My mom used to always say the same thing back to me which was, “Well, that’s okay, Rory, because enjoying it isn’t the requirement of doing it.”  

Mom is dropping bombs on me!   

Enjoying it isn’t a requirement of doing it. That is such a great lesson that we learn as kids.   

Yet as we become these older, mature, more sophisticated adults, all too quickly, we lose sight of that all-important truth, that enjoying it is not a requirement of doing it.  

Here’s the problem.    

My first book was Take the Stairs which is a #1 Wall Street Journal and #2 New York Times bestseller. One of the things that we found in the research for this book is that what starts out as not wanting to do something quickly turns into a real problem that can affect you.    

It can very much affect the people around you and your team and not only your own ability to succeed but also your own happiness.   

You see, take the stairs is a metaphor for doing things you know you should be doing even when you don’t feel like doing them.   

It’s not that our goal is to rid the world of life’s little shortcuts entirely.   

Not every shortcut is a bad thing.   

Not every little thing that makes life easier is bad. That’s not the point.  

The point is that more often than not, we need to choose a path that is different than most people, and most people choose the escalator.   

Much of the escalator mindset causes us to subconsciously or unconsciously gravitate toward negative and destructive behaviors.    

And this one that I’m going to share with you is really, really dangerous.  

It’s really common and really negative.   

The problem is that once we get used to the convenience of having things easy, if we’re not careful, that convenience can quickly turn to an entitlement that things shouldn’t have to be so hard.   

While there’s nothing wrong with convenience, entitlement is a disgusting disease that will destroy your ability to reach your dreams.   

It is disgusting because it is self-inflicted.   

It is disgusting because it is the thing that will hold you back more than anything else that is a lack of skill, a lack of resources, or even being in a bad circumstance or situation.   

Entitlement is a self-inflicted wound and beyond just preventing you and keeping you from being successful, entitlement steals your joy.  

Entitlement corrodes your heart.    

Entitlement rusts on your soul.   

Because what happens is, we become consumed that we shouldn’t have to do things that are hard.  

Things should be easier for me. Someone else should do this for me; someone else should make this easier. Someone should help me.   

What happens is we get so consumed with that and at some point, we stop being willing to do the things we know we should do even when we don’t feel like doing them, i.e. take the stairs.   

rory vaden quote

How to Practice Gratitude

Now, the good news is that there’s an antidote to this entitlement. There is a solution to this problem.    

There is an answer to this question of if I am struggling with entitlement, what do I need to do about it?  

It’s tremendously simple.   

The antidote of entitlement is gratitude.   

Entitlement says that I shouldn’t have to do this because it shouldn’t have to be so hard.   

Gratitude says that I am thankful for what I have.  We need to be practicing gratitude.

I am thankful for what I’ve been given and out of that gratitude births the opportunity, the desire, the discipline, and the likelihood that you will actually do the things that you should do even if you don’t like them.  

Just like my mom used to say that enjoying isn’t a requirement of doing it.   

Enjoyment also is not a requirement of being grateful for it.    

As you are grateful, you will act as you are grateful as you will make the best out of your circumstances, but as you are entitled, you will sit still.    

You will do nothing.   

In fact, worse than doing nothing, you will become negative. You will complain. You will become complacent.   

Perhaps the worst of all, that someone who has entitlement, will become cancer to everyone that they are around.   

Entitlement spreads. Entitlement destroys. Entitlement corrupts. Entitlement corrodes.

Entitlement kills.   

Entitlement is a disgusting disease that destroys our ability to reach our dreams.   

Making the Right Choice

So, respond to those natural, human instincts of entitlement that is a natural escalator of desire to just indulge in entitlement with a conscious, intentional disciplined, take the stairs choice to choose gratitude. 

Choose to be grateful, choose to be happy, choose to see the best, and out of that will birth your opportunity to become more successful.  

Choose to practice gratitude.

How about you? What steps are you taking to achieve that disciplined choice to have gratitude in your life? Share with me in the comments below. I love to know.   

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