Three words that make you miserable — entitlement, blame and deserve.

You have no idea how much better you will feel if you stop using these words – entitled, blame and deserve.

How many times have we heard things like:

“I deserve a better grade than this!”

“I deserve to be promoted because I have contributed a lot in this company.”

“I deserve to go first because I am on the road right of way!” 

“I deserve to be paid fairly for the amount of work I do!”

“I deserve to be served well because I am paying you!””

Really?  Are you listening to your own whining?

What happens then if what you feel you deserve does not happen?  You get upset about something — entirely because of your expectation.   Your peace of mind does not rest on other people.  It is not a responsibility of your parents, children, spouse, teachers, your boss, the politicians, your office management, your neighbor or everybody else outside of you.  Your peace of mind rests entirely on yourself.  As soon as you start understanding that, you will feel much better.

So how do you fix your sense of entitlement?   Simply – face reality squarely in the face and stop feeling you are entitled to anything because you and I are not entitled to anything.  Because when things do not go according to your expectations, you become more understanding. But on the other hand, when good things do happen that you don’t expect, they simply make you happy.

One student I know in her last year of college had very good grades, consistently high that she is on her way to graduate with honors.  Then in her last subject before graduation, she got a low grade but she passed.   She did not get the honors she thinks she deserves but she made it – she graduated.  Yet she spent months after graduation feeling so depressed.   Thousands of other students did not graduate that same year but they are entirely in a different situation, they are simply happy to graduate.  While our “almost-honor-student” had a lot of impressive grades in her transcript that actually impressed companies that wanted to hire her yet she decided to be miserable because of the missing accolade.  

Another case in a company I used to work.  The company consulted an external consulting company to “adjust” employee grade levels with the intention of “re-aligning” it to corporate grade levels similar to international standards.  There were no real demotions or promotions.  No change in pay scale.  But they did change their job titles. 

One employee who used to have a title of Senior Manager became Project Manager Level 2.  It was not a demotion but a simple title change.  All employees affected were given official papers of the title change along with the competencies expected of each role and grade level plus the salary ranges for every title and grade level.  This particular employee had an official paper that labeled him at the beginner level.   The employee was upset about it because he felt that the description of the level does not reflect his experience – more than five years with a string of successful projects.  He was demoralized and his job performance suffered a decline  and he was not inspired to improve.  He basically worked for his paycheck.   He says “this is how they see me, then this is how I will perform”.   

Another staff in the same company basically accepted it and continued to work unaffected by the changes.   She later went on to be promoted to a higher level, beyond her expectations which she genuinely appreciated due to their unexpectedness.  She genuinely felt that she is happy to have a job and everything else is an added gift.

Two different outcomes that do not cost anything other than a change of perception.

I’m not saying you should deliberately lower your target.  No.  Aim high but stay realistic.  

Do your best every day without feeling the world owes you something in return.  When that is your attitude, whatever you receive that you do not expect in the future, it will suddenly feel like it is the best gift you’ve ever received.