Something for Nothing and the Entitlement Mentality

A loser from Louisiana, John Kiel Patterson is suing Apple because he claims that their iPod music player can cause hearing loss in people who use it. As reported in this CNN story,

“The suit, which Patterson wants certified as a class-action, seeks compensation for unspecified damages and upgrades that will make iPods safer. Patterson’s suit said he bought an iPod last year, but does not specify whether he suffered hearing loss from the device.

Patterson does not know if the device has damaged his hearing, said his attorney, Steve W. Berman, of Seattle. But that’s beside the point of the lawsuit, which takes issue with the potential the iPod has to cause irreparable hearing loss, Berman said.”

OH MY GAWD! The suit doesn’t even say whether he suffered hearing loss and he doesn’t even know if the iPod damaged his hearing!? Clearly this loser is seeking something for nothing.

You and I would never do anything like this, right? Wrong. This downward pull of something for nothing and sense of entitlement is very attractive to our “lower” self. This base part of us is always seeking the greatest possible pleasure, and the avoidance of pain, with the least amount of effort. Here are some examples of where you and I are probably expecting something for nothing. These examples differ in scale but not in kind to the Apple iPod hearing “loss” suit.

Work - Do you automatically expect to get an increase in your salary because 365 days have passed? Why should whomever you’re working for pay you more, and increase their expenses and presumably the costs of the goods or services they provide, just because it’s a new year? Do you deserve it or do you feel entitled to an automatic annual raise because the owners/executives make a lot? Are you always looking for ways to improve whatever you do so you help the business increase sales, lower expenses or improve service? Or do you do just enough so that you don’t get fired? Maybe you deserve a raise every other year or only when the company’s sales increase.

Lottery – The lottery is the obvious, ultimate example of expecting something for nothing. I know that people say they get some entertainment value from playing but let’s be honest, they simply want to get rich. The lottery mentality implies that you need more to be happy and, if you do want more, that you won’t be able to get it through work.

Internet – Do you think that it’s OK to “share” music, DVD’s, software or other digital products through such applications as LimeWire even though the creator hasn’t allowed it? To argue that it’s OK since the owners, musicians and record and movie companies, are already rich and this won’t hurt them is to completely miss the point and is simply justifying something for nothing. In this case it’s outright stealing.

General – Do you want free TV but don’t want commercials? Do you want free websites and articles without ads? Have you ever considered the kind of “business opportunity”, typically shown on late-night TV, that promises you’ll “get rich quick” with hardly any effort. Or better yet, they’ll “do the work for you”.

Spiritual Growth – Those of us interested in spiritual growth want to know the meaning of life, death, God, disease, etc. We want to understand and express the life of spirit. However how much effort are we willing to put into it? Most would love to just be able to read a book or two and get enlightened between episodes of Desperate Housewives. This is not how it works.

My final example of something for nothing and the entitlement mentality is separate from the above because it doesn’t involve most people but rather a distinct group.

Work (part 2) – Now I hope you’re sitting down because you may feel faint after hearing about this. I heard it on NPR on the same day I heard about the Apple iPod hearing loss lawsuit. Since the mid-1980’s General Motors and Ford, at the insistence of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union, have been paying thousands of workers to do nothing! It’s called the Jobs Bank and when the auto makers wanted to outsource jobs and increase their use of technology, instead of laying off any unnecessary workers, they agreed to pay them their full salary and benefits to sit in the “holding tank” or “stockade” and sleep, knit, talk, read and watch movies. Currently there are over 6,000 workers in the Jobs Bank at a cost of between $130,000 and $140,000 per worker per year. Some of these workers are doing community service but most sit around eight hours a day a doing nothing. If you’ve ever bought a car from, or own the stock of, General Motors or Ford this should make you sick because you’re paying for this hundred of million of dollars in waste!. Here is the link for the complete story on NPR and note the “Listen” link at the top left corner, Idled Auto Workers Tap the Jobs Bank.

What’s wrong with something for nothing and the entitlement mentality? Simply put it lack integrity. Integrity means to be whole (in math an integer is a whole or perfect number). To be whole means to be in accord with your “higher” self. That divine, noble part of you that helps you to realize you should work for what you get. That the only true and lasting rewards and accomplishments are the ones that you deserve because you’ve earned them.

In researching this article I typed “something for nothing” in Google and found this WorldNetDaily review of a book by Brian Tracy called “Something for Nothing: The All-Consuming Desire that Turns the American Dream into a Social Nightmare” I have not read it but I am going to check it out. I have read some very good advice from Brian regarding personal development. From this review I found this appropriate quote from Thomas Jefferson, “The worst day in a man’s life is when he sits down and begins thinking about how he can get something for nothing.”

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