Part of our human nature is we tend to convert a gift and make it an entitlement. When we keep receiving a gift and have come to expect it, we get disappointed or even demonstrate aggressive behavior when those expectations are not met. We become petulant and angry when we don’t get our way. On today’s podcast, Merrill Chandler dives into when gifts become entitlements, and what it has to do with what’s going on in the world.

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You Deserve It All…Or Have You Been Lied To?

In this episode, this is a heart to heart. There’s a lot of uncertainty and some things. There’s a feeling of entitlement from everybody in the country. There’s a feeling of rightness and wrongness. I wanted to address that in this episode and it has nothing to do with the election per se. It’s how we as human beings relate to each other and our world. We’ll dive into when gifts become entitlements.

What a day and night, lots of things are happening. It just happens that my subject has vastly more to do with what’s going on in the world, but it definitely applies. We’re in that dead period where there was election, but this doesn’t have to do with the elections, right, or left, up or down, red, blue, or pink. What we’re talking about is the human tendency, how human nature will convert a gift and make it an entitlement. We’re going to talk about both sides. Who’s giving the gift and becomes an entitlement over there or how we might be the recipient of a gift even subconsciously.

When Gifts Become Entitlements

We have no clue how we get to it, but all of a sudden, we think it’s an entitlement. This has nothing to do with governments and politics. It has everything to do with how we operate, how we’re programmed, and the way we think. Let’s get into it. First of all, there’s been numerous experiments on entitlement. Some were experiments on animals, lab rats, where somebody went to a feeder, you got food and you got the reward. All of a sudden, they stopped getting the reward and the behavior that was exhibited by the lab rats. There was a psychology experiment that was done. A psychology major, I believe it was her thesis and funded this project where she picked a random person in a middle to the low middle-class neighborhood and in an envelope, began to provide a $100 on the same day of the week, each week for six weeks.

She’s recording all of it. The first time that the person opened up the envelope, the recipient of this gift is looking around confusion, completely flummoxed. No message, no writing, no nothing, it was just an envelope. She opened it up and there was a $100. The next week went out normal, the same day, the same envelope, the same $100, all of a sudden with no clue, she’s looking around. I always say one of my maxims, “Once the mistake, twice a habit, three times a character trait.” This is the second time and the recipient’s looking around going, “I have no clue what is happening here.” All of our beliefs come into play. Nobody just gives $100. Nobody does it for anonymous reasons. I’m projecting onto the recipients a thing but if I were receiving this, these would be the thoughts going through my head. They may be the thoughts going through your head.

AYF/GF 111 | Entitlement

Entitlement: Don’t confuse civil rights with the things we think we should have just because we had it before.


The third week, the same day, the same envelope, another crisp $100. This time, the behavior was limited. It was more like a shrug of a shoulder, pocketed the $100, left and went back into the house. In the fourth week, you can see the behavior of the recipient. You can see the behavior that comes out after the mailman leaves to look for this $100. There’s an expectation or in my language, there’s a hope that another one is there. She’s like, “Cool.” The recipient goes into the house. The fifth week, she is waiting for the mailman to get there.

The mailman arrives, there’s the blank thing. Remember, I don’t know all the details about hooking up the mailman to deliver the envelope, any of that stuff. The fourth week waits and looks at what’s happening in the mailbox. They let the mailman get out of the way before the recipient looks in the mailbox and there’s another one. The sixth week asks the mailman, “Do you know where this is coming from?” He says, “It’s in my pouch. I’m just delivering it.”

In the seventh week, we’re $600 at this point. They get out there and the recipient gets angry at the mailman for not bringing the envelope with the cash. Afterwards, the recipient was interviewed and told that this was a thing and keep the money. They were interviewed about what was going on in each one. It is revisionist history. It’s anecdotal. It’s not a double-blind experiment, but the idea was to find out what the internal experience was of this individual. They demonstrated aggressive behavior when the expectation was not met.

What I continually ask myself is, where have I made gifts in my life an entitlement? #getfundable Click To Tweet

In the interview, they were saying, “I had come to rely on that money,” because apparently, six times is enough in this experiment anyway, to trade a gift and make it an entitlement. That is the base. I was told this anecdote by one of my psychology professors when I was in college. I’ve looked everywhere for the actual experiment. It certainly isn’t called from gifts to entitlements. I’ve looked for it, but I shared it with you for how it was delivered to me. The interesting thing about this experiment is how easily gifts become entitlements.

You might have an employee or a team member, and you say, “Everybody, we start work at 7:00 AM.” The construction crew, part of your crews, you’re fixing and flipping whatever. You say, “Go ahead and come in at 7:30.” If you do 7:30 and you even tell that employee, “7:30 this week,” and then you hired them based on 7:00 AM you go back to 7:00 AM as the schedule after giving them a week or two of 7:30s, how does that employee respond to you? It’s usually with a little bit of assertiveness, if not aggression or hostility. “We’ve been going to work for 7:30. We’re doing just fine.”

You hired them at 7:00. You told them this is only temporary but every one of us, we grumble and groan when we have been given something and then we believe it’s taken away. When we’ve been given a gift and we think it’s been taken away when a gift is never ours, to begin with. What I continually ask myself is where have I made gifts in my life an entitlement? A lot of this has to do with gratitude, but we’re going to hold that off. How do I convert a blatant gift to an entitlement? I go to elections. Some of us have been around for a long time. We’ve seen it all.

Some people are brand new to the political marketplace. How many of us have converted the opportunity to vote, which some countries have never had? Some countries have barely gained the opportunity. In other countries, some disenfranchised portions of the population barely have gotten the right to vote. How many of us believe that this amazing privilege, this gift that we have created in this country that it’s an entitlement? I’m not saying it’s not a right, of course. I’m saying, how many of us hold it as an entitlement and not as a gift? How many of us have converted many things, the wages we make, or the opportunity to have a job?

AYF/GF 111 | Entitlement

Entitlement: Entitlement has never served a single human being, and it has never served a population.


How many of us have converted the lifestyle that we have? Some of us have worked hard, done many positive things, have built up our standard of living, have increased our quality of life, and then a recession starts, COVID hits. We feel that something has been taken away from us as though we are entitled to it. I will compare anything that you have to 100 things that other people don’t have and they would look at your life and my life as a gift, not an entitlement. They would be thrilled with clean water and fresh clothes, clothes that fit, and things that we believe we are entitled to.

Before COVID, I went shopping with one of my friends. We’re out getting another person a birthday present. It was like Sunday afternoon, or otherwise. We’re in Utah and the stores were closed. He was angry because he’s entitled to get what he wants when he wants it. Maybe it’s a fast style example. How many of us are not gracious about all of the things, resources, money, opportunities that we have, and we believe we are entitled to those things just because we have had them for X period of time? When did they become entitlements? I’m not talking about common human rights. There’s plenty of people who don’t even have those.

I’m talking about us being spoiled, petulant, and angry when we don’t get our way. It’s funny to watch the run-up to this election. It’s true for every election. There’s nothing special about this election. It happens all the time. Everybody thinks that the world is going to end if the other team wins this round, yet here we go flipping back, red, blue, black, white, yellow, orange, up, or down. We’re always swinging back and forth on the pendulum. Nobody ever remains consistently either in power or influential forever, yet we belittle, cajole, and shame other people for what they love in their world and what makes them happy, their value set.

Take care to be generous, thoughtful, and compassionate for all. #getfundable Click To Tweet

Entitlement And Expectations

None of us has the same values. Most of us value being able to breathe, having food, but many of us begin to feel that we’re entitled to be in power in our business, country, and relationships. If something changes in our relationships, I throw a fit. My entitlement of being the most powerful person in my relationship, my job, my company, or the country, something dynamically shifts. I’m no longer in power or have the most sway or the most influential. I suffer because of my entitlement and expectations. I’m entitled to be that person. We converted into a right to be in charge or to be the winner of an election. It’s my right. That is an entitlement.

Please don’t confuse civil rights with the things we think we should be just because we had it before. What is vital for me in our lives, our intimate relationships, family relationships, our business relationships, and our relationships with the outer world? It is possible that we wouldn’t have all of the great things that we have, all of the opportunities. To the degree, we hold those opportunities as an entitlement, we might be strangled by them or drowned by our own expectations.

During COVID, many of the people who believed it was their right to not wear a mask, I’m not saying wear a mask or don’t wear a mask. I’m saying everybody who believed it, they had the right to not wear one. There were consequences that came with that entitlement. I’m not falling on one side or the other. I’m saying that entitlement is not compassionate. I don’t want to rag on the youth because it happens every time. You have the Depression-era people and the World War II-era people, and then the Baby Boomers. They want to make sure that nobody else has those problems so they do all the heavy lifting in society. The next generation is a little more entitled to certain privileges.

The generation after that, a little more entitled still. After that, even more entitled because it’s the norm for them. They never experienced the Depression themselves. They never experienced the ravages of war. The United States, we’re the only country in the world that hasn’t had a foreign power occupy us. There’s a little bit of arrogance to us because we believe that is our divine to not be like everybody else, maybe or maybe not. The point is, if we’re sitting this high on a pedestal, we better damn well take care to be generous, thoughtful, and compassionate for all of the countries who have had a horrible history of war, deprivation, and horrors that accompany them.

AYF/GF 111 | Entitlement

Entitlement: If we hold everything in our life as a gift and not as an entitlement, our lives will not only blossom, but our relationships will deepen and become richer, more fun, powerful, passionate, and loving.


As a country and individuals, most of us were not compassionate. We are not generous. We are entitled and then we put it on God, the universe, and our grandparents for working hard and fighting so hard. Whoever we put it on, we’re entitled. Entitlement has never served a single human being and it has never served a population. In ancient history, the entitlements that Athens came to believe were their God-given right or taken away by the Persians, and Rome took away Athens. The Huns took away the glory of Rome what they called Barbarians.

Every society that got arrogant and entitled always blamed it on their deities, first of all, rather than taking personal responsibility to be humble, compassionate, generous, loving, and supportive. Where do you stand? Where are you? Are you compassionate with your neighbors who are of a different faith, political belief, race or ethnicity, even economic strata? Are you humble, generous, and compassionate, or are you entitled and therefore arrogant, capricious, and even defiant because your site is winning, whatever that means? Be careful and be wise. It is my hope that we take our preeminence in the world as an opportunity to lead by example, not lead by arrogant mandate.

I would hope that in our families as mothers, fathers, or couples that we lead our families with compassion and generosity, rather than by entitled mandate with our children. I want our intimate, our loving relationships, are we entitled to behaviors? Do we feel entitled because our spouse has done a thing six times for us? Are we hurt by it because they didn’t do it the seventh time? My challenge to you, especially me and to us, is to look at everything in our life as a gift that can be taken away and can be lost. If we hold it as a gift and never as an entitlement, the results of our lives will not only blossom but our relationships will deepen and become richer, more fun, powerful, passionate, and loving. That person who shares our bed, table and boardroom is a gift to us. We’re not entitled to anything from them other than what they choose to give or what we collaborate on giving each other. I beg you to be deliberate and holding everything in your life as a gift, and not as an entitlement.

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