The Entitlement Cure: Not Everyone Gets a Trophy

Updated: Jan 15, 2020

Basketball is Psychology IV


Psychologist Dr. John Townsend defines the attitude of entitlement as the belief that I am exempt from responsibility and am owed special treatment.

Entitlement is an attitudinal disease.

This disease can come in many different forms.

Entitlement is refusing to accept responsibility.

Entitlement is thinking I am above the rules.

Entitlement is thinking I am the victim.

Entitlement is thinking it’s not my problem.

Entitlement is thinking it’s not my fault.

Entitlement is thinking I should be appreciated just for showing up.

Entitlement is believing I deserve.

"Whatever the cause of the sense of entitlement, the end result is that the person believes that he or she doesn’t have to play by the rules of responsibility, ownership, and commitment.” (Dr. Townsend)

This Disease Has a Cure

Entitlement is an attitude, which means it’s a habit of thought, and you choose your thoughts. Although entitlement gets blamed on this generation, it is not a new problem. Entitlement has been around forever and we all struggle with it to some degree.

Many believe they deserve a trophy, deserve more playing time, deserve a scholarship, and deserve to take more shots in a game -- all without having to do the hard work to earn them. Parents, culture, and experiences may influence someone towards entitlement, but they don’t create it.

Entitlement is a choice.

Instead, adopt the attitude that we are responsible for our own lives, and no one owes us anything. The solution to entitlement is doing life the hard way. Dr. Townsend defines the hard way as the habit of doing what is best, rather than what is comfortable to achieve a worthwhile outcome. Dr. Townsend offers 4 solutions that all focus on doing hard things the right way to achieve a worthwhile result.

Make no mistake, there is no easy way. There is the hard way and there is the harder way. The harder way (entitlement) takes shortcuts that catch up to you in the long run.


The Four Solutions to Entitlement:

1. Understand the Power of Words

Words matter. Words reveal your thoughts. It is physically impossible to say something you haven't first thought about. Words affect our feelings, behavior, relationships, and emotions.

The first step to curing entitlement is to remove the phrase “I deserve” from your vocabulary, and replace it with “I am responsible”.

I deserve is a dangerous phrase.

“I deserve more playing time”

“I deserve to be the mvp”

“I deserve to take a day off”

“I deserve to start”

“I deserve to be more appreciated”

What did you do to deserve this? “I don't know, I just deserve it”

You have lots of needs, but you don't deserve anything in the basketball world.

The phrase “I deserve” is DISEMPOWERING.

It takes the power out of your control because it means what I want has to be given to me. There's nothing I can do to get it, I have to sit around and wait for someone else to give it to me. I have no power.

The phrase “I am responsible” is EMPOWERING.

It places the ball in your court. Responsibility puts you in charge and gives you the choice to take action.

Example: “I deserve more playing time.” Feel out that thought; now try this: “I am responsible to do what it takes to earn more playing time.” The second phrase implies “I need to get more shots up, work on post moves individually with my coaches, watch more film and know the plays, get in better shape,