An American psychologist Judith Bardwick (1998) reflects how the post-war economic development and increasing number of employees who considered themselves to be entitled to high pay and many social advantages started to break during the energy crisis of the seventies and eighties. She claims the habit of entitlement remained in spite of the American economy no longer being competitive. She draws a parallel between entitlement and motivation. According to Yerkes-Dodson’s motivation law the productivity has the shape of a reverse U. To a certain point the more we are motivated the more productive we are, but then when the motivation reaches an optimum point a further increase in motivation leads to a decrease in productivity. She associates the entitlement phenomenon with the first phase of Yerkes-Dodson’s law of motivation. It is related to low anxiety and accordingly leads to low productivity. The earning phase is related to a medium level of anxiety, which leads to the highest level of productivity in the Yerkes-Dodson curve. According to Bardwick the phase of fear appears when the anxiety is so high that it reduces the productivity. Entitlement and comfort are closely related. The problem is that at a certain point either on an organizational level, community or even national level we no longer deserve the comfort we think we are entitled to.

Entitlement may by harmful for your health

In the longitudinal studies of stress, where stress level can be correlated with its fatal consequences it was found out that it is not stress that kills us but its meaninglessness. When we perceive stress as our enemy and try to reduce it or fight with it, it really has a negative impact on us. Interestingly, when we perceive stress as a facilitator that may have a positive impact on us and can increase our efficiency by properly preparing our bodies to deal with the stressful situation, the stress does not have that negative meaning. But what is even more important for the participative companies as communities of people is the importance of other people in dealing with stress. If our stress is related with other people it is not harmful, while if we are concentrated on things it is. These studies confirm again the significance of other people in our lives.

A comfortable life in its most common meaning is associated with life without stress. The research results show that such life may not be as good for us as we predict. But this means we should redefine the concept of stress altogether. For more information on this topic watch the TED talk under the link below.

Experiencing entitlement