Article in brief: With rapid economic development in a very young nation comes a need to heavily invest in the human capital of the nation. Education, learning opportunities, and massive investments are a thing of the norm for the youth of the region – unfortunately for some, that has turned into a sense of entitlement for the opportunities provided, rather than a recognition that it is a privilege that is being afforded.
Two hunters walk through the forest, both hungry, both with families to bring food back to. Their stomachs growl and their hands tremble. They’ve been searching for a kill for hours, with no luck. The thought of going back to the village empty handed is unbearable. What would they tell their wives? How could they let their children sleep with nothing but hunger to fill their bellies? Suddenly, an animal appears, and the two hunters feel the excitement, they know that gaining that kill will wash all their worries away. One of the hunters gets into his zone, readies his spear, and crouches down, with eyes firmly fixed on the target. The other seems laid back, he makes no effort, and almost seems uninterested in pursuing the object of his desire.
Once the kill is made, and the first hunter has the animal ready to be transported, the second hunter appears and makes a claim for half of the animal. Without having made an effort, the second hunter expects to gets his share of the kill. No logic or discourse can divert him away from that stance, and he is adamant that he gets his way.
As odd as that may seem, and as puzzling as his stance might be, it is not something that is unheard of in our modern times. Time and time again, encounters of individuals that walk with an air of entitlement, particularly those in their adolescent years, can be found. Overtime, you would have heard or known of individuals that would rather not make an effort, and yet still expect to have the fruit of their labor (or lack thereof) to be handed to them. This can be found in all walks of life, and particularly in the areas that require that extra effort.
Take the workplace, for example. Many times, a young man or woman walks into a job expecting things to be handed to them. Expecting to be trained, taught, invested in, and then given what they expect – a promotion, a pay raise, recognition, or whatever it may be. Now, there is nothing wrong with that process. If anything, it sounds like the perfect scenario, save for one point.
Across all of the things that are incoming, and all the efforts that are being made towards the individual, one thing must ring true: the proactive effort, the willingness to go the extra mile, and to remain patient throughout. Without those, all the effort in the world from an external force will never amount to anything on a personal level. A sense of entitlement negates that underlying principle of hard work combined with humbleness.
The problem with entitlement is that it makes a person feel as though he or she shouldn’t have to work hard for what they want to receive. That he or she should simply receive what they would like to get, with no effort, no hard work, and no patience. Whatever happened to the hard working attitudes of our ancestors? Whatever happened to walking for days and days in the scorching desert to get to a well, simply for some water to quench your thirst?
Perhaps it is a by-product of our economic growth, of the wealth and lavishness that the oil and gas industry has brought upon our cities, our countries, and our region. The need for rapid economic growth requires the rapid development of human capital. That is why one can witness massive amounts of investment in the young generation, with a multitude of opportunities afforded to them. That being said, that young generation needs to be reminded that such prospects are a privilege, not an expectation.
Taking a step back, and going back to the beginning of the article and the story of the hunters. Have we become so pampered that we’ve forgotten one of the most basic facts of life? That we are, as a species, eternally in a competitive environment? That we must fight for what we want, never give up, and always look forward?
The leadership on a country level, on an organizational level, and even within the family have always encouraged hard work and exemplified it terrifically. Having seen the days before the oil wealth came in gave them a sense of perspective of where this region was and how far it has come. That lesson should be etched in the minds of the youth, and forever recited.