Recently, at a leadership gathering overseas, a slight mix-up in logistics resulted in a colleague and I being left behind.
At the conclusion of the day’s meetings it seemed no one was assigned to give us a ride back to the hotel. We were stranded, for almost three hours.
At one point my colleague turned to me and asked me why I seemed so relaxed.
“I actually did find myself growing annoyed for a minute,” I confessed.
But I went on to explain that what had changed my countenance was the reminder that any sense of indignation would violate one of my highest-held personal values.
I am entitled to nothing.
I don’t at all mean to sound self-congratulatory. But it is true that I find the sense of entitlement so repellent, in me or anyone else, that over the years I have developed three perspectives that help me fight the entitlement battle:
Perspective #1: The View Looking Back
When I consider that I was born into a loving family of Christ-followers, in a well-resourced part of the world, with educational and employment opportunities aplenty, it’s difficult to think of myself as “self-made”.
The only thing I’m entitled to is gratitude.
Perspective #2: The View Around the World
The opportunity for global travel has brought me face to face with the most abject poverty imaginable. Being made to wait for a car ride back to my comfortable hotel pales into insignificance when held up to the light of such suffering.
Perspective #3: The View Looking Above
I am a man of faith, and my personal values have been built on a foundation of Scripture.
So when the Apostle Paul says, “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment,” (Romans 12:3) I take this very much to heart.
The challenge for leaders to fight the entitlement battle is not an easy one. And, to be clear, this is not a battle I always win. On occasion I still find myself muttering, “Don’t they know who I am?”
But then I quickly remember these three perspectives and my sense of entitlement tends to evaporate.
If you ever find even the smallest sense of entitlement creeping into your attitude, try remembering these perspectives.
They could give you the tools you need to finally win this important battle.