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Selflessness - Avoiding the Entitlement Trap

Warning! Don’t do what I did!

I was mad. I was dissatisfied. I deserved better. Or so I thought….

During a company restructuring, people above me on the org chart made decisions that changed my job forever. Life got harder. I was away from my family more. I felt disrespected because they asked for my opinion and then made different decisions. Their decisions proved to me that they didn’t care about me. What they did was not fair!

An old man once said: “Son, fair only comes to town once a year.”

Looking back, I see my mistake. I felt I deserved better from my company. Whenever we feel like we deserve something, we are going to be dissatisfied. What we think we deserve and what we actually get out of life rarely align.

Too often people confuse wanting more with thinking they deserve more. It is okay to want more out of life or from a company. But thinking we deserve more is a recipe for self- centeredness and negativity. I had fallen into a selfish cycle of thinking. I felt entitled. Therefore, I was focused on myself and what I wanted. When I didn’t get what I thought I deserved, I got negative.

Entitlement is a trap that destroys a lot of good careers before they get started. One of the advantages of being in my 50s is that I now have the experience to say to the coming generations, “Warning! Don’t do what I did!”

Don’t let the idea that the world owes you something derail a promising career. Fortunately, I had some friends help me get back on track before I ruined mine. They reminded me of my blessings in life and that helped me refocus. I stopped worrying about what I didn’t have and shifted my attention to what I already had. And I grew less negative. When I recognized those blessings, I stopped thinking so much about myself and began to focus on the needs of others. I started exercising Selflessness.

Selfishness is a cycle, and Selflessness is a cycle as well. How can you exercise Selflessness within that cycle?

  • Practice Thankfulness: Instead of focusing on what you don’t get from life, focus on what you already have.

  • Focus on Others: Look for what you can do for others, instead of what they can do for you.

  • Exercise Positivity: Thankfulness and a focus on others help feed a positive attitude.

The fastest way to avoid the entitlement trap that I fell into is to be thankful. Write down something you are thankful for each day. With each moment of thanks, you will see your focus shift to other people and your attitude become more positive.

Imagine a thankful, others-focused, and positive leader. That is someone most of us want to follow. Don’t let entitlement take away your opportunity to be that type of leader – a Leader of Character.


  • When did something “unfair” cause you to fall into the entitlement trap?

  • What are three things you are thankful for today?


“Would you follow you?” That is a critical question we all need to ask ourselves if we want to become Leaders of Character. Research has proven that people want to follow character. But where is your character today?

Here is a quick assessment that will take you 5 minutes to figure it out. Nobody will ever see your results but you.

Warning: If you are not going to be honest with yourself this is a worthless assessment.

To take the assessment use the QR code above or go to

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