How Shifting from an Attitude of Entitlement to an Awareness of Enlightenment Can Improve Our Health and Society

ENTITLEMENT

- State of Mind
We have entered into an “Era of Entitlement”. I believe there is a growing perception, even belief, on behalf of many in today’s western society that they deserve, or are “entitled”, to positions, status and/or wealth for which others have had to earn and they do not. It spans across all socio economic and age groups and is evident in individuals, groups, organizations, government, schools, churches, etc…

Historically, one has had to work one’s way up “the ladder”, through a hierarchical series of positions as one demonstrated one’s work ethic and/or value to a company. This process had its weaknesses in that it was predicated on the integrity and ethics of superiors (in “position”, not necessarily “ability”) to notice the value of the employees under their supervision and promote them accordingly. The process was subject to abuse, through “kingdom builders” promoting only their clones or those they could manipulate most easily so as to build a personal “fiefdom” within a given corporate structure. In like manner, those who did not “toe” the corporate line or submit to a superior’s authority would likely find their promotion upward delayed or denied. However, in a general sense, it allowed those with knowledge and ability to rise upward to positions of progressively greater authority and, more importantly, corporate liability consistent with their increasing level of experience.

It seems to me that, in today’s society, there is an expectation that one is “entitled” to the position they desire rather than having to earn it. I suggest this “attitude of entitlement” is the direct result of one or more of the following:

1.Educational Elitism - This attitude derives from the reputation (perceived or deserved) of the university from which they graduated, in that they graduated from “U of whatever” and so there is a premium attached to hiring them on that basis.

2.Level of Parental Care - Parents provision for their children’s needs – Arguably, for the first time in history, the middle and, to a lesser extent, lower class of society have been able to provide their children with a better lifestyle than their own. One outcome of this cultural phenomenon is that we have little appreciation of the value of money and have become a society of disposable consumerism. We need to have the fastest, newest and the best, irregardless of whether what we have is sufficient to our needs. In addition, we have become a society that believes it is entitled to what it wants.

3.Change in the Moral Fabric of Western Society – Another of the recent changes in modern society has been a transition to a fault-less society. “It is not my fault” and “I come from a dysfunctional family” are examples of typical excuses. I suggest that most, if not every, family is dysfunctional to some degree. I believe we are responsible for our own actions. If we have weaknesses, then we should deal with them (mental illness being an exception), not persist in using them as crutches to avoid responsibility for our actions.

4.Unreasonable Expectations – Defining one’s happiness has become a result of “how much” one has and comparing it to what others have regardless if you’re enjoying it or not. Unhappiness is a result of a misalignment of reality to the associated expectations.

So as a result, undue stress persists, we continue to stay in a state of “I WIN, YOU LOSE” mentality and pop pills to mask our health symptoms rather than discover the source of them.

So how do we break the chain or readjust our state of mind to create a more healthy environment for ourselves and others?

ENLIGHTENMENT

- State of Being
Basically enlightenment is the process of continuous growth and learning without controlling the course or outcome. It allows us to have a great deal of faith and trust that external factors, people and/or experiences contribute to our growth. It’s a point where we shift from judgment to curiosity, listen more and talk less, consider our communities as part of our families, are accountable and responsible for our actions and give more than we receive.

Enlightenment isn’t something we do, show or compare, it’s who we are being or becoming while doing. The key characteristic to obtaining a state of enlightenment is through empowerment of oneself and others. Empowerment allows others to share in the control, influence, impact and authority of activities and creates an environment of trust and respect. And Yes, there is enough to go around!

This isn’t WooWoo anymore! Major corporations are incorporating empowerment programs to increase employee health, involvement and productivity. Deepak Chopra has sold millions of books and made millions of dollars sharing basic concepts on the topic.

If you’re so inclined to give yourself permission to try to reach a level of enlightenment, start small.
When was the last time you:
- Volunteered your time or services? I’m not talking about writing a check and putting it the mail for a charity, but actually worked an event?
- Performed an act of kindness for a stranger? A smile qualifies!
- Got outside and experienced nature? Stared at the night sky and looked for shooting stars, took a walk in the woods and identified the number of different trees?
- Spent time with your family or friends and learned something new about them?

So begin expanding your horizons… one thought at a time! It will improve your health and our society!