God is using The Entitlement Cure by John Townsend to change my life. I wouldn’t have thought of myself as “entitled”—a bit self-centered from being introverted, yes, but not “entitled.”
According to the author, “Entitlement is the belief that I am exempt from responsibility and I am owed special treatment.”
Characteristics of Entitlement
- An attitude of being special.
- An attitude of being owed, of deserving something.
- A refusal to accept responsibility.
- A denial of one’s impact on others.
As I read the first few chapters, I was uncomfortable with the content. I kept thinking about setting it aside to read later, but I also knew my discomfort was a sign I needed to press in to find the source of my uneasiness.
As John Townsend began to explain the path of least resistance followed by people with entitlement issues versus the “Hard Way” followed by people who overcome obstacles in life and find success, I knew I was onto something that would help me. According to the author, the Hard Way is “The habit of doing what is best, rather than what is comfortable, to achieve a worthwhile outcome.”
One thing that struck me early on was that my generation was taught to reframe negatives as positives because it’s better for your mental health. But Townsend suggests that if we don’t allow ourselves to identify negative things in our lives then we don’t have anything to change. You have to identify a problem before you can fix it so calling it something else prevents you from making changes.
He offers a number of mantras throughout the book—first person declarations of principles to live by and the reasons the Hard Way is better. Here are a few examples (among many):
- I am responsible for creating a good life.
- I am responsible to get my own needs met.
- The sooner I do this hard thing, the sooner I get my life where I want it.
- Today I will choose to do something that helps resolve my obstacle, and I’ll feel better.
- I need people to fuel me, and I need to fuel them as well.
- I need to admit wrong readily, because it will set me free.
- Take a meaningful risk every week.
Townsend’s explanation for getting unstuck (which is how I’ve felt for years) set me into immediate action: “Your Next Hard Thing (NHT) is the choice you need to make that will get you past the difficulty.” Instead of the overwhelm of too many things that seem too big or out of control, he suggests taking one small step each day. As you chip away at that big problem, it won’t be so big and eventually, you’ll overcome your obstacles.
He also explained that “Doing stuff that doesn’t seem productive is an improvement over not doing anything except the same thing you’ve always done.” *Headslap* Well, of course! I feel stuck because I’m approaching things the same way I always have (which includes a lot of avoidance) so doing something different is an improvement, even if it seems unproductive at the moment. That is helpful to me in changing my habits and how I look at them.
I hate to be dramatic, but this is potentially a life-changing book for me. If you or anyone you know seems stuck in life, The Entitlement Cure would be a worthwhile read. Townsend also spends a lot of time addressing loved ones in how they can help others who are living with “the entitlement disease.” (BTW, that’s the one thing I took exception to. I didn’t like him referring to it as a disease because I felt that belittles people with actual diseases or mental illness.)
Go. Buy. Read. Overcome.
Finding Success in Doing Hard Things the Right Way