Surviving past a sense of entitlement

A good friend of mine recently had a meltdown because her boss told her the truth. It reflected her insecurities about her own value to the company, and that triggered a fair amount of pain.

It’s hard to be young, trying to succeed and yet inexperienced enough to feel dispensable. I can relate.

But my counter for it is not to whine that the people who have it made should be nicer. Instead, I think proving yourself is the way to go. It might take overcoming some emotional barriers, but proving yourself is certainly more useful than waiting around for people to be nice or to act the way you expect them to. It takes conscious effort for busy people to be nice. Not that they shouldn’t be, but there shouldn’t be a sense that one is entitled to nice treatment. No one is entitled to be invested in, until they show proof that there could be a return of investment.

I would have told my friend to wipe away her tears and soldier on, but that wouldn’t have been the sensitive or “supportive” thing to do. So I told her that she was still young, like I was, and still had a lot of time left. All true. I put my arms around her and we joked around.

Yeah sometimes seasoned players of life have reached a stage where some things just make sense to them, but can be tough for a young person still struggling to find their way to hear. It probably takes a few more of these “nukes” to straighten out the logic and make a person more emotionally resillient. I suspect this is one of the secrets to becoming a full fledged “adult”. Rejection and failure that molds you.

This is why I’ll not interfere in my friend’s learning process. I’m sure she’ll come to the same conclusion I did, if she wants whatever it is badly enough. If not, she’ll spend the rest of her life thinking the world is unfair. It is, but the trick is probably to act like it’s not.

I read a LinkedIn post recently about a guy who is now successful, but was previously rejected when he approached someone for mentoring. The prospective mentor had told him to prove himself. He balked at this – why should he have to infringe on his pride? In a way, it was possibly a “nuke” for him, because he saw it as rejection and unreasonableness, not an opportunity. Perhaps the mentor had many other mentees lined up to seek his guidance. Who is more likely to receive it, I wonder? The entitled young person or one who shows he is worth time and effort – energy expended by the other person when they could be doing anything else?

An entitled attitude to anything is a lost opportunity. The faster we process the emotional turmoil of unfairness that comes with youth, the faster we accept that the world sucks, and that we just have to learn how to play by its rules so that we emerge out at top. Survival of the fittest.

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