How To Handle Someone’s Life-Sucking Entitlement Attitude

About a hundred years ago, Czech author Franz Kafka wrote: “There are two cardinal sins from which all the others spring: impatience and laziness.”

In today’s world, it wouldn’t be politically correct to call someone lazy or impatient. So we talk about entitlement instead.

And every day, the national news is filled with stories that showcase an entitlement attitude. Of course, the details of the stories vary, but the same theme underscores every story … people talking about what THEY should do for ME to make MY life better.

As you know, it’s not easy to live with, work with, or even socialize with people who are infected with an entitlement attitude. After all, it’s all about THEM. They don’t care that much about YOU.

So what can you do if you’re around those “entitled” people? I gave you the first two points in last week’s Tuesday Tip. Here are a few more things you can do.

► 3. Give a hand up, not a hand out.

Some people need help. No question about it. And we are called to be a blessing to others. To help people in need.

But some help ends up being more of a curse than a blessing. Especially help of the hand-out type. The kind of help that keeps on doing things for others what they can and should be doing for themselves.

We call that kind of hand-out help dysfunctional, codependent, and enabling. And it almost never results in a good, positive, or healthy outcome.

Make sure you’re giving a hand up rather than a hand out.

It’s like the guy who fell into a pit and couldn’t get out. A subjective person came along and said, “I feel for you down there.”

An objective person came along and said, “Well, it’s logical somebody would fall down there.”

A judgmental person said, “You deserve your pit.”

A self-pitying person said, “You haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen my pit.”

An optimist said, “Things could be worse.”

A pessimist said, “Things will get worse.”

A self-righteous person said, “Only bad people fall into pits.”

A realist said, “Now that’s a pit.”

A codependent parent said, “I’ll send some food to you down in the pit.”

A government agent said, “You qualify for some extra blankets in your pit.”

But, a wise caring person, a person who knew how to bring out the best in people came along, reached down, and gave him a hand up so he could get out of the pit.

Did you catch the subtle difference in all those people?

Every one of those people … except the last person … gave a hand-out. They handed out pity, advice, observations, and daily supplies. And every one of those hand-outs kept the other person in the pit. Only the last person gave a hand-up that got the other person out of the pit.

To apply this lesson to your teammates, your friends and family members, just ask yourself one question before you help them. Will your help keep them in the pit or get them out of the pit?

► 4. Teach an “entitled” person HOW they can be more.

Most everyone wants to be a happier and more successful person. Nothing wrong with that. But entitled people have little or no idea HOW to get that in their lives, their careers, and their relationships.

Entitled people erroneously presume others should automatically give them more.

But that is far from Emotional Intelligence. It is Emotional Ignorance.

And that is not HOW anyone else gets happier or more successful.

That’s where the teaching part comes in. Teach entitled people the emotional process they need to embrace.

Teach them to follow the advice of teacher and author Sylvia Ashton-Warner: “You must be … wise enough to be brave enough, to be strong enough to shape yourself from what you actually are.”

Once entitled people get some idea as to how they should think and feel, teach them the importance of a plan. After all, their plan … of lack of plan … will be a huge determining factor in how much more happiness and success they will experience.

Teach them to take heed of author and entrepreneur Sidney A. Friedman’s advice. He says, “You can achieve anything you want in life IF you have the courage to dream it, the intelligence to make a realistic plan, and the will to see that plan through to the end.”


► 5. Help entitled people to focus more on giving.

Entitled people focus on getting and taking. They tend to think, “What can I get from others?” And if other people won’t give them want they want, they tend to think, “How can I take what I want from other people?”

But that’s nonsense. Lasting happiness and success does not come about by taking things away from others. About 100 years ago, William John Henry Boetcker said:

“You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.

“You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.

“You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.

“You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down.

“You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.

“You cannot build character and courage by taking away people’s initiative and independence.

“You cannot help people permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.”

In reality, all the research says you’ll find a lot more happiness and success by focusing on giving instead of taking.

Take Helen Keller, for example, the blind, deaf author and lecturer. She said, “Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.”

When Mark Jewell, a Product Specialist from Feed Management Systems, attended my Journey-to-the-Extraordinary program, he shared a story that told us how his father’s life was impacted when he changed his focus from taking to giving.

Mark said, “Recently, my Dad went on a mission trip to Swaziland. The goal of this trip was to plant gardens in the poverty stricken areas, giving people hope that they could learn to help themselves. Operating on 3 to 4 hours of sleep each night, my Dad planted his heart out for these people.”

Mark continued: “At one point during the trip, my Dad was asked to say a few words to the locals he was helping. Emotionally caught up in the entirety of the trip, he asked a lady to speak in his place and share his feelings. He asked her to say, ‘The people here cannot begin to fathom how rich we are in America. The people in America could not begin to grasp how little the Swazi people have. However, it is in fact the people of Swaziland that are rich. They consider themselves blessed when they have their faith, family, and perhaps a little something to eat at night.’”

Sometime after attending the Journey, Mark told me how his life changed so much for the better when he discovered his purpose at the Journey and started living his life on purpose, instead of by accident.

F.Y.I. There are 12 keys to extraordinary success and purpose is one of those 12 keys. Join me at my next Journey-to-the-Extraordinary coming to Minneapolis on May 21-22, 2019. Register by this Friday and you will save $500 on your tuition.


When you find yourself about to do something for somebody else that they can and should do for them self, stop and think. Will this truly be helpful to the other person in the long run?



Dr. Zimmerman’s Tuesday Tip, Issue 978 – How To Handle Someone’s Life-Sucking Entitlement Attitude