We’re living in the golden age of selfishness and entitlement. There is a lot of debate about why this is, but frankly I don’t care how it has come to be. What I’m interested in, is what do we do about it? As adults, we all have to take responsibility for our current actions.
You see this everywhere, people who walk up in front of lines at the supermarket and then if someone says something, they feign not noticing the line. The place you see it most however is on the road. The person who tailgates you even though you’re driving over the speed limit. The massive amount of people looking at their phones while driving who don’t know the light has changed, are suddenly driving super slow or my personal favorite, the people who stop in traffic to look at their GPS and figure out if they’ve missed their turn. I’ve not just seen this on city streets, but even on two lane state highways, on a turn as a bonus.
People in apartments don’t care about the impact of their TV’s or stereos have on their neighbors. People will arrive home at night with music blaring out of their cars no matter what time it is. And don’t get me started on people who purposely put tailpipe amplifiers on crappy little cars so their exhaust noise is super loud. We see it at the gym, the people who never wipe down machines, never put their weights back or wear enough cologne or perfume that any one within ten feet is choking on their scent.
I see it at work, I have faculty I supervise who make requests that are completely about them to the detriment of the students. Typically the same faculty who are always screaming, students first, at the administration. And here is a great example, faculty have access to a copier in our workroom. We ordered a lot of paper and so the garbage can was sitting on top of some paper boxes. Someone moved the can, took out paper and left two reams vertical so they were standing above the box rim. They put the lid on which of course didn’t fit it was at an angle, then they replaced the can. Setting up a situation where someone would toss in some garbage and it would slide off and spill the garbage. But they didn’t care, they couldn’t be bothered to take one second to correct things and besides, someone else would have to pickup the garbage. (cue Alice’s Restaurant)
Selfishness and entitlement makes life worse for everyone. It increases people’s frustration and anger and that can lead to issues like the violence associated with road rage. It doesn’t take much to turn this around, because truly it’s the small things and comes down to one simple question. How will my decision or current action impact others? If it could impact others negatively than mitigate or change your decision or action.
Lot’s of little things can help as well. You don’t always need to be the first to go if two of you arrive at the same time, smile and wave at people to show them you know they are there. Be apologetic if you make a mistake and do something inconsiderate. These simple acts could make for happier days for all of us my friend. ~ Rev Kane