We are all humans, and we all think that we deserve this, that and the other. We guard what we think are our rights jealously. We laud those who affirm our rights, and look with a jaundiced eye at those who emphasize the fact that we really should be happily busy with our responsibilities. Convenience is what we seem to crave for. Anything that makes it easy, and helps us to take it easy. After all, life is hard enough as it is, right? Therefore we should take whatever is our entitlement.
I was having lunch with a friend some time ago and the topic of the Pursuit of Life, Liberty and Happiness somehow came up. My friend mentioned that those were inalienable rights of all human beings. “Who gave you those rights?” I asked him. A glazed look came over him and he said that that was something to ponder over. Really, now. Who gave us those rights? If a man is drowning in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, does he have a right to life? Does the ocean heed his calls and glub-glubs for help? Didn’t think so.
This is the main FOE of joy and happiness today. The fallacy that we somehow have a right to this or a right to that. No, we have no rights. We have responsibilities. Our responsibility is to DO what is right. To love and respect others. To protect the weak. To encourage the strong in doing well. To work in order to increase wealth overall, wherever we are. To stand firm for justice, not fairness.
As leaders, if we do not focus on responsibilities, we do our companies, our people, our stakeholders, a great disfavour. That does not mean we can not fly First Class. It does not mean that we cannot own a yacht and a private jet. It does mean that we care for others more than we care for ourselves. Some of you may not be able to reconcile this, since you think that giving handouts to the poor will solve all the world’s ills, but it’s not that simple. Rich and poor all need to embrace our own responsibilities. Only then will we be able to overcome our real FOE. The Fallacy of Entitlement.