Entitlement is not a disease of the Millennials. Each and every generation has its own sense of entitlement. The question is not of entitlement but entitlement to what? This does not mean every member of every generation believes the same, but there are some fairly common understandings, all the same. For example…
Each generation expects something, at times unearned. The ELDERS… 70+ in age…. born on or before 1945 expect first person communications (they expect to talk face to face… remember The Cat’s in the Cradle?). They expect family traditions, respect, hard work and individual responsibility. They expect orderliness and honor. The BOOMERS… 50-69 in age… born 1945-1965 expect in-person communications albeit by phone probably… Cat’s in the Cradle indeed. They came to expect education (at the post secondary level), and the dream of wealth and retirement. We were born of THE BOOM, after all. Generation X… 35 to 49 in age… born 1965-1980 expect fun, excitement and freedom…. the latchkey kids, a tad rebellious. Remember D-Gen X? Generation Y… 15-34 in age… born 1980-2000… your Millennials… expect fun and social and tech connection. They value and expect now. After all, they were born of the most turbulent times in recent history… the falling of walls and changing of borders… so much uncertainty in the world. Now, is expected. Balance is expected.
We all have expectations. Often times, those expectations can be deserved and earned, but not always.
EARNING THE RIGHT
So, we all have expectations, justified or not; earned or not. When I witness and experience the worlds of leadership and speaking these days, I suggest that there is a personal struggle for me. The world does not need more gurus and messiahs, especially if self proclaimed or promoted. It does not need people who expect others to listen and heed and adhere. The world does need teachers; teachers who have earned the right to teach. They have a specific skill or talent or thought process that they can pass on to others for the betterment of the world at work, school, community or beyond. That gift is proven; hard earned of experience and expertise. Great teachers are life long students. They earn the right (as Dale Carnegie put it) to teach through their own hard earned learning; not by title or presumption or expectation.
Learning is earned. Great teachers need not call themselves such because they recognize the earned right, by their example. At best, we can master an area and hope to pass along that learning, to advance work and life and society. This is not an attack on good work being done in the world. It is to suggest that, at best, we must each focus our expertise and not play the role of savior of all. Great teachers do not expect others to listen or heed. With humility and integrity, they learn and acquire wisdom and they know that the right students (for their expertise) will pay attention. There is no need to beat chests or preach. There is only the need to humbly and truthfully go about learning and perfecting and being a great example. The example is, after all, the teacher.
As a life long educator, I choose to remind myself that I am and will always hope to be a lifelong learner. I need to be vigilant and aware of the slippery slope that is mastery. Mastery, true mastery, requires humility as we will always be learning. I must and will consistently remind myself of the need for humility and integrity and excellence in what I do… what we do.
The world does not need unearned expectations. It does not need self acknowledging or proclaiming or promoting gurus. It needs people of earned expertise who can and are passionate to teach those interested. So, this is a call to anyone listening. Find your expertise, your craft, your aim of mastery… take on a life long journey of learning… and be prepared to pass it on to others… at work, school, community and/or family. Therein, through education and learning, lies the hope for us all.
The path to great education and teaching, lies in learning and the humility, integrity and excellence demanded of the best kind of learning. It lies in:
- approaching each day with an attitude of humble learning (HUMILITY)
- walking your path determining your ways to pay it forward (INTEGRITY)
- understanding that the example, not the title, teaches (EXCELLENCE).
To close, I offer this…
The Master in the Art of Living
- The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he is always doing both. — LP Jacks
Master, teach and let others decide how to describe that.
Peace, passion and prosperity.
Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™
A video version, for those inclined. 🙂