Want to Be Successful? Quit Being Entitled. Nothing worth achieving is ever easy. It always takes smarts, guts, hard work, and perseverance.

By Steve Tobak

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


At a recent event, my wife, who's in the culinary and nutrition business, was asked an interesting question about the obesity crisis in America: "In an era where everyone seems to be aware of the importance of diet and fitness, why are so many people overweight and out of shape?"

"Taking care of yourself is hard work," she said. "Eating right and exercising is hard work. And in today's world, everyone wants everything to be easy."

She's right, you know. Everyone wants so many things these days, but they don't seem willing to do the work to achieve them. And that's an enormous chasm that doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

The question is, what's the source of that gross misconception? Why do so many people think they can accomplish anything worthwhile in life without doing the heavy lifting?

It comes down to a growing disconnect between goals and the reality of what it takes to achieve them. It's one thing to say you want to live life on your own terms. That's called empowerment. I think a lot of people have jumped right over empowerment and gone all the way to entitlement. That's a whole different story.

Let me explain how this works. You have the right to set any goals you want in life and the power to achieve them, but that's the easy part. The hard part is doing the work that's necessary to achieve your desired outcome. Not only is that hard, it always requires that you do certain things you do not want to do.

Related: 5 Ways to Never Miss a Deadline

Nothing worth achieving is ever easy. It always takes smarts, guts, hard work, and perseverance. Becoming really good at something is always hard, but that's the only way to get anywhere in the working world. And you know what? Building a successful career or business over the long haul is even harder.

And yet, many of you who say you want to be successful entrepreneurs are also picky about all the things you don't think you should have to put up with to achieve that success. Well I've got news for you. You can't simply avoid the things you don't want to do for one simple reason: those are usually the things you need to do to succeed.

Look, if you want to get anywhere in life, you have to learn to face what comes your way and deal with it, especially if it's hard and you desperately don't want to do it.

For example, I hear a lot of you don't like sitting through meetings. You think they're an inefficient waste of time. But meetings are how decisions are made. They're how the business world works. And how do you know beforehand whether a meeting is going to be a waste of time versus one where something critical gets decided? That's right, you don't.

You wouldn't believe how many people hate dealing with contracts and agreements. They despise having to negotiate pricing and terms. So they avoid that stuff like the plague. You know what happens to those people? They get the short end of the stick. They do lousy business deals that cost them big-time down the road.

Related: 7 Signs of a Future Success Story

There are all these articles about avoiding negative people who put you down and sap your energy. Everyone should be nice and no one should have to deal with jerks. Fair enough. But don't you see how subjective that is? Haven't you ever disliked someone you met and changed your mind later?

Besides, some of the most brilliant entrepreneurs who built some of the greatest companies on earth have been egotistical jerks. Are you saying you wouldn't work with them if you had the opportunity? The sooner you learn to be flexible, to adapt, to deal with all kinds of people, the better things will turn out for you.

Lots of folks don't like having to tell others what they don't want to hear. They avoid giving employees direct feedback in real time. Never mind giving the boss or a customer bad news. So they put it off or sugarcoat the truth to make it easier on themselves. All that does is destroy their organization's effectiveness.

Avoidance of things we don't like to do is never a good idea. Never.

Look, if you want to delude yourself into believing that your hopes, dreams, and positive thinking are powerful enough to make things happen in the real world without you having to do the heavy lifting that comes with the territory, be my guest. Enjoy your entitled life in utopia.

But here's the thing. If you avoid healthy food and exercise, someday you'll wake up out of shape and in poor health. Likewise, if you avoid dealing with hard things at work, you're bound to end up poor and miserable.

Related: The Only Good Reasons to Start a Business

Wavy Line
Steve Tobak

Author of Real Leaders Don't Follow

Steve Tobak is a management consultant, columnist, former senior executive, and author of Real Leaders Don’t Follow: Being Extraordinary in the Age of the Entrepreneur (Entrepreneur Press, October 2015). Tobak runs Silicon Valley-based Invisor Consulting and blogs at stevetobak.com, where you can contact him and learn more.

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