How many of you have ever given your all to something? Maybe it was a big corporate project that you hoped would get you that big promotion. Maybe it was toward your schoolwork. Heck, you may’ve even given your all to a “special someone”. So, if you’re anything like me, I bet it hurts you to your core when all your time and effort fails to reap your desired results. In fact, I bet it’s even worse when your end result is on the exact opposite side of your desire spectrum; something like the large talent difference between MC Talib Kweli and rapper (although I consider him a gimmick) Soulja Boy.
One of the most memorable sermons I’ve been in attendance for occurred a few summers ago. I took notes on it, but can’t remember the scripture the sermon came from (maybe if I cleaned off my computer desk filled with old receipts and other useless paper I could find something). Regardless, the pastor talked about the one thing keeping us from receiving blessings and experiencing joy: the mindset that we have rights. And the thought from that message that still sticks with me to this day: the minute we let go of our rights is when we’ll begin to receive our blessings.
Don’t think I’m trying to preach to the congregation on this one! Believe it or not, this message can reached out to believers and non-believers alike. You see, we’re not talking about giving up your constitutional rights (of whatever country you hail from). We’re talking about rights in the sense of entitlement, for it is the mindset of entitlement that keeps us narrow in our thinking. And when we’re narrow in our thinking, our opportunities become as limited as an illiterate person in a bookstore.
Allow me to reminisce on one of my previous relationships. For those of you who know me personally, this isn’t about “you-know-who”, but about my longest relationship to this day. Although it was a long-distance thing, and it was on-and-off, the early years of my relationship were pretty much smooth sailing. We were content with each other because we were all that we needed to make it through the day. When we finally got to see each other for the first time, it made us even more sure about where we were going. I don’t know about “love at first sight” or all those other silly terms people use to describe love, but for the first time I believed I had a “sure thing.” Sadly, after that week things starting heading downhill, and by late November I found myself alone, knowing there was an almost certain chance that it was going to be this way for me for a while. A lot of things happened for me to end up that point and we both know the blame is shared equally (even though when it gets argued about, we always make it seem like it was ALL their fault…funny how that always works). It sucks to admit that I started approaching our relationship with a sense of entitlement. In my case, I started becoming verbally abusive and being more negative than usual among other things. I felt I could get away with these things because after all the hard work I put towards making this work I never saw her leaving me as an option. There’s other factors that led to the end of this, but I can’t help to think what could’ve happened if things didn’t change after that week we met. I think it’s part of the reason why I try not to get too high about anything, because I know I can lose it quicker than a poker player’s life savings.
So, if you don’t want to end up single and content like me, avoid the mindset of entitlement. Matter of fact – avoid feeling entitled to anything all together. As I mentioned before, when you allow yourself to be entitled, you narrow your thinking to see things only the way you want to, becoming close-minded. And when you become close-minded, you stunt your own growth, lock the doors of opportunity, and create roadblocks that prohibit your success. Think about it: how many truly successful people do you know that are close-minded? Other than a few politicians, most of the close-minded people I know are always struggling for something. If you ever find yourself feeling entitled to something, think about people who come from third-world countries. Because many of them come from having nothing, they pursue opportunities as if they’ve got nothing to lose. That’s the mindset we should all have; let’s give up our “rights” and humble ourselves. Kind of funny how humility plays in to all this. But of course, that’s a topic for another day…