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What’s Wrong with a Healthy Sense of Entitlement? Donny Deutsch Has the Right Perspective

Donny Deutsch

Donny Deutsch

I have not interviewed Donny Deutsch for the Quality of Life Project but I love his perspective on the positive side of a sense of entitlement. [He also refers to it as the “deserve” and “why not me” factors.]  If you haven’t read his business and life perspectives, check out his book, “Often Wrong, Never in Doubt.”

First, he gets it that some of the richest aspects of the human experience can be found in the realm of dichotomies. That with enlightenment comes an appreciation for nuance and even contradictions.

Donny Deutsch offers one of the best examples I’ve come across with his take on sense of entitlement. To feel deserving of all the world has to offer but simultaneously not feeling entitled to success without doing what needs to be done.

Deutsch has accepted that he is no smarter than anyone else and no one else is smarter than him. For business, this translates to a huge competitive advantage in, a) building a corporate culture that is not just authentic but confident, and b) capitalizing on business development opportunities since you know that you can do anything that your competitors can do.

In one’s personal life, this concept has huge quality of life dividends. Confidence is one of the greatest enablers of enjoying life and what Deutsch is talking about is the adage of “we all put our pants on one leg at a time.”  When you take this adage to heart, you know you can deal with anyone, and thus become more confident around other people. And when you are more confident around other people, the more comfortable they become and the more they want to do good by you.

If you follow Deutsch’s advice, the next time you won’t feel intimidated the next time you need to reach out to the head of admissions at a school you are looking at. “Why not me?” Right? [Again, there is dichotomy and nuance at play here. You simultaneously realize that you WILL back it up with smart, hard work.]

Another application of this concept is that so much in life is experiences. They rarely just come to us. Rather, we have to go out there and pro actively pursue them. We have to introduce ourselves to individuals we think have the potential to open doors. We have to follow up with that friend of a friend that could be an interesting contact. But to take advantage of this quality of life driver we need to understand at our core that we are entitled to and deserve what the world has to offer. And as a result we become more confident in our pursuit.

Let me end with a beautiful Talmudic passage that is one of the greatest examples of the wisdom of dichotomies.

“Every person should carry in one pocket a slip of paper reading ‘I am but dust and ashes’ and in the other, a slip of paper reading ‘For me the world was made.’”
– The Talmud

Please share your thoughts. I would love to get your perspective on this subject.

2 Responses to “What’s Wrong with a Healthy Sense of Entitlement? Donny Deutsch Has the Right Perspective”

  1. Les Tavares says:

    Great post Kit, I love the life lessons here. Thank you for putting it so well. The Talmudic extract at the end is simply beautiful. And yes, like you said, I love these instances of reconciling seeming contradictions in which they are both wise at the same time.

  2. Alexandra Bond says:

    Great stuff Kit. You’re right. Everyone always views a sense of entitlement negatively but like you pointed out, there is a positive side as well. Thank you for sharing.

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