Since I remember, I have not been able to take “no” for an answer. Restlessness. Eternal stubbornness too, I guess, that had proved to be for the better in many occasions. In other, however, it has lead to frustration. I have always set the bar quite high for me, and achieving goals has usually required enormous amount of efforts, and patience that I am lacking, because (maybe it is just me, but) nothing has been given to me for granted and I have always set challenging targets.
I realized that if I feel this way, there must be other people, who can relate and feel that way too. Is there any way to calm the storms inside?
If you have the restless personality trait like me, then you know how it feels not to be able to wait patiently for things to “happen” or to change and improve by themselves. You also know what it is to have to fight a feeling that something is “missing”, the sense of something outstandingly unfulfilled – I do not speak about material possessions, so it is not a shopaholic tale, but rather one about development, personally and professionally.
How to Overcome the Feeling of Entitlement (When You Put a Lot of Efforts Into Something)?
When I was a child, I had the motto “I do the right thing, I do not care what happens next”. Now I can see that my perspective has not changed much, but I also realized I have not really lived up to the second part of the motto – because, (whether I wanted or not) I have always cared about what happens next. I do aspire to see things through, going to their places, but instead of striving for the best possible outcome, I strive for progress. I do not want an ending. I have even stronger aspiration for consistent development. Ironically, however, it had become harder to make compromises. I found out that this is due to a certain feeling of entitlement that I have developed through the years.
Let me clarify that I don’t refer to a: “I deserve it, therefore I will not have to work for it” attitude, but to a: “I worked so hard for it, that is why I deserve it” form of entitlement. Because of a strong, critical sense of what is right and fair, eternal optimism, ambition, drive and efforts in everything I do, I have always had a perspective of what I deserve. Unfortunately, as all of us would discover at one point, great efforts and fantastic performance do not always equal great results. We are not entitled to anything, regardless of our hard work. As a former athlete, this was one of the lessons I have learned the hard way too.
Red Ocean Strategy
Feeling entitled leads to spending energy on dissatisfaction and disappointment about how unfair things are, and it is meaningless. It results only in anger and frustration. No one owes us anything, regardless of how good we are. We thrive in highly competitive environment – forget about first mover advantages and blue ocean strategies. We have to prosper in a red ocean.
What would you rather do?
The sport has given me the answer too, and it comes to one word – relentless. This means staying persistent, focused, determined and consistent. Being steadily behind your idea, goal, dream or decision, have a plan, and when it fails, make a new one, and do not get discouraged.
Regardless of what is the status of the desired progress or outcome, keep doing what you do best, and keep doing what you love. If the two overlap, then you are one of the lucky ones, in terms of allocation of time. If not, with more efforts, good organization and managing your time wisely, you will eventually succeed to balance both. Having high expectations is the most natural state of mind, when you have ‘given your all’, but always bear a pinch of doubt (the world is not perfect), and keep working.
Exercise gratitude for what you have in your life, and focus on helping others too.
Challenge the conventional thinking and do not close eyes to poor judgment, prejudices or other form of injustice. Just thinking of such makes my heart start racing. I cannot bite my tongue, stay still or indifferent, as it will burn me inside slowly and painfully, if I do not raise my voice or find a way to make a change. There is so much to say and do to change things for the better.
This is how my restless soul finds solace. Do many of you feel the same way?