Entitlement in Our Society Today

Sense Of Entitlement


Entitlement? I suppose most of you have seen the YouTube video of the Millennial at a job interview?

For those who haven’t, it is worth a look. Millennial Job Interview

This sense of entitlement is not, I believe, confined to young people of this vintage. Millennials are a cohort considered to be those born between 1981-1996, so they are currently aged between 22 and 37 years old.

Problem in Society

While it is obviously a gross generalisation to suggest that all of these young people are like the person in the video, it has become (entitlement, I mean) a huge problem in society. And, IT IS NOT specific to Millennials.

It can often be applied to those with money, position and power; and while this group certainly does represent an enormous number of entitled individuals; entitlement is often found amongst those with nothing, who expect the world to give them whatever they want/need without any input from themselves.

Let’s start with what we mean by entitlement?

Entitlement - Definition

The Merriam Webster Dictionary: the belief that one is inherently deserving of rights, privileges or special treatment.

The Urban Dictionary: someone who thinks something is owed to them by life in general; or because they are who they are.

Wikipedia: In recent decades the meaning of the word has been extended to encompass informal expectations of social relationships, social conventions and social norms which are considered unreasonable or unduly prescriptive upon others.

This would seem overly negative. All of these definitions concentrate on an over-inflated sense of entitlement.

Normal Entitlement

There is a NORMAL or healthy sense of entitlement which revolves around an expectation of responsiveness from significant others; a sense of agency, (ie that one is the owner of an action, movement or thought), and a sense of one's right to one's own feelings - all of these forming positive elements in self-esteem. (Wikipedia).

We ALL need to have this.

Compromised Entitlement

And there are some that suffer from a compromised sense of entitlement where they have an inability to accept the basic rights enjoyed by those around them. (Wikipedia). This is a sad state of affairs.

I am sure we can all think of MANY examples in our lives of people showing excessive, over-inflated beliefs that who they are is more important than what they do. Even if they have no evidence to back-up these beliefs.

The Bible and Entitlement

Money, position, and power doesn’t equate to entitlement. In fact, the Bible says, "For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required," Luke 12:48.

Having nothing actually does involve some entitlement. We, as a society, ought never to allow those who through no fault of their own have no roof over their head, to suffer.

But those who continue to remain in the role of I who have nothing ..., without some kind of action to change this situation; but expect the world to help BECAUSE they have nothing, are in-fact exhibiting entitlement. Of the negative kind.


I remember hearing about a man who had lost everything (bad investment in another person) and was consequently homeless. He began drawing pictures of passers-by on the street with their pets. After a while, and a lot of practice - he became quite good. So good, in fact, that one man offered him $50 to draw him and his pet, as a present for one of his friends. Soon others were paying for his drawings. Long story short – he set up a business, is now no longer homeless and has several sales outlets throughout the city in which he lives.

Expecting Something For Nothing

Entitlement boils down, in my view, to expecting something for nothing. And demanding this as a right, thereby putting other members of society at risk because of this behaviour.

Entitlement 1We must learn, all of us, that a certain amount of entitlement is normal, but a narcissistic approach to life and the belief that our enjoyment of life is somehow dependant on other people is an insidious problem in today’s society.

Nothing Changes By Sitting On Your hands

Posted in Musings and Ideas for Discussion, Thought Leadership and tagged , , , , , , , , .

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