Erinn Diaz: Entrepreneur, Performer, Author, Optimist
No matter how much good one does in this world, you should never think for an instant that you are “owed” anything for your actions. I was raised to believe that rewards should be something you are grateful for, not something you expect.
My husband often recalls a story of when he was on safari in Africa. While the group had stopped for water, a small animal came close to the vehicle, and a woman on the tour got excited at how sweet the animal was.
“Do you have anything I can feed him?” she asked.
“No, mum!” the tour guide replied curtly.
“Oh, but he’s so cute. Why?” the woman retorted, disappointed.
“Animals are just like people” said the guide. “If you feed them, they will keep coming back for more and will never learn how to get their own food”.
I love how this simple story is such a great example of how easy it is to have an entitled mindset in our modern society. You’ll often hear, “you deserve a break” or “you’re entitled to a discount”. This mindset that is drilled into us every day can give us a sense of entitlement, and for some makes it so they want or expect something for nothing.
While it’s very positive to EXPECT great things like reaping what you sow and finding the good in others, there’s a fine line between entitlement and expectation.
Personally, I found this mindset to be a huge challenge in my business when I first started hiring ten years ago. I had trouble when employees would come to me asking for additional paid days off, or telling me they were entitled to a bonus. I handled it poorly at first, as I would give them everything they wanted and sometimes more, thinking it would boost morale and productivity in the business! But alas, sooner than later the employee would just come back, this time with a more demanding attitude asking for more and never being satisfied.
In business and in life, I believe now that no matter how much you might want to “give away the farm”, you simply can’t. Not because you can’t be generous, but because when you give something not earned, you are depriving the recipient of the challenge of earning it and the satisfying feeling of reward from accomplishment.