The Zero You Deserve is Finally Here

Photo by Brandon Richardson at Pexels

By Murray Gottheil | September 19, 2023

The title of this post is from an advertisement for Dr. Pepper’s zero sugar soft drink and is a nifty introduction to the topic of entitlement.

One of my minor pet peeves is advertisements that tell me that I “deserve” things. How do people trying to sell me stuff know what I deserve?  On the other hand, one of my major pet peeves is people who actually believe that they deserve stuff – especially when they have not worked to earn it.

We have all come across professionals whose worldview goes something like this:

  1. I was born lucky enough to have an easy route through school;
  2. I was smart enough to succeed at school (sometimes using tutors that my family was able to afford);
  3. Now I am a (fill in the blank: doctor, dentist, lawyer, etc.) and I deserve to earn some multiple of a hundred thousand dollars a year;
  4. I therefore am a more successful person than others who are not as fortunate as I am and will prove that by my conspicuous consumption; and
  5. I have no compassion for people who have not achieved what I have (in my mind) earned.

Of course there are others who worked for everything that they have and sometimes conquered significant obstacles to success. I respect them way too much to be writing about them today.

I have never really understood the whole entitlement thing. For example, I understand why someone who comes to Canada or the United States from a war-torn country with nothing, works incredibly hard, takes risks, and ends up filthy rich, feels successful. I cannot comprehend why their children, or more likely, grandchildren, who were born with every advantage and coasted to a professional position, think that they are somehow better than the next person.

Entitled people vex me, and I deserve not to be vexed because I am a professional with a healthy bank account.

Steve Maraboli said, “A sense of entitlement is a cancerous thought process that is devoid of gratitude and can be deadly to our relationships.” There are more than a few entitled people in the legal profession.

There are more than a few entitled people in the legal profession. Want to build a law firm with a positive culture?  Root them out.  Even if they have family connections which can bring in a tonne of business. Replace them with people who are grateful for what they have. As Stephen Furtick said, “Gratitude begins where my sense of entitlement ends.”

Murray is a happily retired lawyer who lives in the country, drives a pick-up truck, writes, teaches and mentors. You can reach him at [email protected] or see what he is up to at


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