We too often hear people state that they, or someone they know, deserve “this” or “that”. The word “deserve” is used as if the outcome was an entitlement … earned … or a guarantee.
The problem … life doesn’t provide many guarantees.
Typically, the confusion begins with very honorable intentions. Someone goes out of their way to sincerely provide assistance … perhaps works extremely long and diligent hours towards a goal … or attains a higher level of education.
Once this objective is reached, the natural next step is to assume the “reward” is not far off. After all, we “performed” satisfactory, now don’t we “deserve” the obvious “reward”?
This cause and effect relationship (“action” and “reward”) can be called the scoreboard syndrome. It happens all the time in sports: a team scores a touchdown … or shoots a three-point basket; the scoreboard (reward) almost instantly reflects the action. The scoreboard is apparent in non-sport venues, too. The sales associate has a great month and receives a large commission check … someone attains a post-graduate degree or advanced certification to command a higher salary in the workforce.
Maybe the problem is that we see the “action” and “reward” partnered so frequently, that we have become callous to the point that we “expect” one to follow the other. That’s where the word “deserve” comes into play. The feeling is that after you complete a certain “action”, you deserve, or are guaranteed the “reward” outcome.
Going back to our second paragraph … “life doesn’t provide many guarantees.”
We would have far less dissatisfaction in the world if we all stopped thinking of what we believe we deserve. We should just continue working in a positive direction to do good. You may be fortunate and actually receive what you “deserve” … or you may see no positive reward for months, years, or even forever. You should be doing “good” deeds for your own satisfaction and enrichment … not solely for the purpose of others to observe and for you to be rewarded.
So, the next time you are disappointed because your reward either didn’t materialize or was less than what you expected, remember that it’s not a condition of deserving … but rather of having the frame of mind to be a positive force.