I’ve been thinking a lot about the Casey Anthony trial over the last few days. I’m not one of those people who watched it every single day and sweated over the piles of evidence more than the lawyers did. I would get little updates via Dateline MSNBC (a rather new guilty pleasure for me) or here and there on the news. When the jury recorded its verdict last week, I watched the announcements of innocence. I was confused. I was stunned. It seemed like OJ Simpson all over again.
As I have reflected more on both of those cases – OJ Simpson and Casey Anthony, I’ve moved away from the trials themselves to what could have gotten these 2 people to where they ended up. In both cases, I feel like a sense of entitlement led them both astray.
“I deserve to get whatever I want”
OJ Simpson was one of the best-known, most respected football players in the history of the game. He was a movie actor. He did commercials. He was the face of athletic magnificence and human joviality. He seemed approachable. He seemed to have it all. Was it this feeling that he had it all what brought him to a situation where he was being tried for the murder of 2 people? Whether you think he did it or not, was it that sense of entitlement that made him beat up Nicole (which we know he did)? Was it that sense of entitlement that made him steal that stuff in Las Vegas, which he actually did get thrown into jail for?
And what of Casey Anthony? While we probably will never know the whole story, you get this sense from her that she had and maybe still has this sense of entitlement. Did she feel entitled to get her childhood because she had given birth so early? Did she feel entitled to get served by her family in every way possible because she they didn’t get along with her? You must have some sense of entitlement if you air all of your family’s dirty laundry (real or imagined) to help you win a trial case regarding the death of your daughter.
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Entitlement in the online world
I feel like a lot of people have a sense of entitlement that they bring to the online world. People sniff around Facebook and Twitter and say, “Oh, well that person is making tons of money because of their online presence. I should be able to do that too.” The sense of the American dream – of going from “rags to riches” through hard work and dedication, seems to be dissipating. People are no longer willing to wait. if someone else has found success, they also want that success, and like the little girl from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Veruca Salt, they want it now.
Entitlement and Engagement Don’t Mix
If you bring with you a sense of entitlement to the online world, it becomes exponentially more difficult to engage in meaningful ways with people. You have a sense that you don’t need to spend time building the foundation of your community. You’re entitled to engage right away with the heaviest hitters. If you bring a sense of entitlement with you to the online world, nothing anyone ever does for you will ever be enough. If someone tweets out one of your posts you will not feel gratitude. You will only wonder why they just tweeted out that one. If someone doesn’t respond to you, you will become uncontrollably furious. You feel entitled to a response.
Entitlement may make you feel like you’re wearing rose-colored glasses, but really what you’re doing is putting blinders on to the value you could be getting out of the online world – if only you would put in the time. It is this blindness that can lead to your doom.
Patience is a virtue
I know it’s hard to see so many super successful people online, so many successes seemingly right within your grasp, yet so far away, like a mirage in the desert. But if you’re just getting started now, some of those folks have a 6-year advantage on you. They have a five-year advantage on me and I’ve been here for a bit over a year. Things are moving faster for us than it did for them. We’re able to grow faster. We’re able to achieve goals faster. But we still have to work for them. We still have to wait.
By the way, no one is really entitled to anything
My own life has taught me that even the most basic facets of life are not guaranteed to us. I’m sure there are lessons in your life that have you taught you the same thing. We are not entitled to all of our limbs. We are not entitled to have good health and the ability to walk and talk and hear and see. We are not entitled to roofs over our heads or jobs to go to.
This is not to be lamented. This is to encourage us to feel stunned with joy at what we do have, whether online or in the real world, and to enjoy the success of others, because they may be missing things that they feel entitled to. Things you have and perhaps take for granted.
Don’t bring a sense of entitlement to the online world. Engage with others. Strive for your goals. Put in the time and the effort and keep your eyes on the prize.
What do you think?
Image by Gareth Weeks. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/garwee