Jay Rifenbary

Jay Rifenbary's Blog

Entitlement - A Catalyst for Catastrophe


There is a growing trend towards a societal sense of entitlement progressing across this country, and it is only becoming stronger and more evident as leaders, and the government itself, market themselves as the caretakers for all of our nations’ citizens and non-citizens problems and disappointments. It is not the responsibility of some other entity to take care of our personal problems and correct our own mistakes. It is the responsibility of each individual to learn from mistakes and take the necessary steps to improve their own personal challenges. I do not believe we are entitled to things we have not participated in or made an attempt to earn. When an individual, and subsequently a society, begin to become dependent on someone or something else to take care of them, individual creativity, innovation, entrepreneurial spirit, and personal accountability deteriorates rapidly. Why would I take the steps to excel in any endeavor when there is no incentive or reward for putting greater effort into the endeavor then someone else? This entitlement attitude also has a significant impact on an individual’s self-respect. If one did not know how to earn what they have, or does not know how to earn what they want, how could one have any degree of self-worth? When we spoil our children, give them things they have not earned, the destructive aftermath of a lack of self-worth becomes evident. I do not believe we are entitled to the resulting efforts of others.

What message do we send our children when they are inundated with propagandized rational that they should have the same as everyone else without having to earn it? What they learn is their life, its’ successes and failures are a result of someone else’s actions.. Another result is that mediocrity becomes the norm, and apathy towards achievement is accepted. The ability and right to choose the course of our own lives will be over; and the principle of self-determination will be lost forever. Our core values should not include the idea that our life is not our life but the instrument of some other entity that controls it. Our core values should include principles that encourage personal ownership for our behaviors, and an attitude promoting the ability to structure our own future.

As a society I do believe we have a responsibility to help our fellow citizens in need. To make sure a child does not starve, a victim of poverty does not suffer, care and aid are provided to those who have truly been victimized, and those who have been on the receiving end of nature’s wrath. What can we do as parents and citizens? Do not set an example that it is someone else’s fault for the mistakes we make and have made. Do exemplify behaviors that encourage self-reliance, initiative, accountability, creativity, integrity and other core values that enhance an understanding of personal life ownership.

We all have the ability, and given the opportunity, to become aware of our potential as individuals; and to build upon the unique skills and talents we possess to expand life’s understanding and make a positive impact on one another. A world where everyone is patterned to be the same, and controlled by the few, will only diminish our ability to reach our full human potential. Take the time to assess your own future, the current decisions that have to be made, and the path upon which those decisions are implemented. With a solid foundation of core values, an understanding of self-reliance, an acceptance of personal accountability, and an attitude of selfless behavior, how could we not be happy? Relying on something else to mange our life is analogous to being behind bars. You are trapped from creating the future you want. Enjoy the freedom that comes with self-reliance because you will have earned it.

Simmer Down – A Key To Professionalism


One of the first tests in determining a level of our own personal emotional security is our proficiency in handling stressful and pressure packed situations. To create a successful communicative working atmosphere, and a harmonious home environment it is essential that individuals maintain a level of emotional self-control when challenged with difficult decisions, tasks and personnel interactions. What is the danger of “losing it” in the work place, and at home? The primary consequence is a serious deterioration in communication between all individuals involved in an emotional melt down taking place. For example, if I am part of an organization where leaders and colleagues become emotional volcanoes when faced with stress and difficult decisions, constructive communication immediately declines.

The behavioral culprit that spurs this decline is typically verbal abuse, and is a key indicator in evaluating ones ability or inability to handle situations in a mature and professional manner. How can one think clearly and respond rationally when one is being verbally attacked? They cannot, and as a result the shut down of any proactive listening begins. In addition, the desire to avoid further communication with the attacking individual is initiated because no one wants to associate themselves, nor be in an environment where the opportunity to be on the receiving end of verbal abuse exists. The result is a sequence of events that take place. Subsequent to the verbal abuse being initiated, communication deteriorates, therefore the flow of information breaks down, and if the flow of information breaks down how could any organization be as efficient, productive, and profitable as they possibly could be when people are not talking with one another? Once again, they cannot. On the home front, why would a child want to listen to the instructions of a parent when the parent has a historical consistency of screaming and verbally humiliating the child? They will not. As a result, the child avoids and turns off any desire to listen, and typically responds with the same tone and degrading verbiage as the parent. Thus, the child learns to handle stress and conflict in the same manner as the parent, resulting in and creating a new future verbally abusive parent.

Former Saturday Night Live star Cheri Oteri would humorously say in one of her skits, “simmer down”. Performance under pressure is the key to determining ones inner strength, confidence and emotional stability. I define “performance under pressure” as “an indication of ones professionalism” and define professionalism as “emotional patience”. It is paramount that our behavior reflects a high degree of professionalism when dealing with conflict, stress and pressure. The key is being patient with our emotions and how we react to them. This emotional patience stems from our security with our personal core values, providing the inner strength to be proficient at handling difficult situations. If I squeeze an orange what comes out, grapefruit juice, apples juice, cranberry juice? Of course not, just orange juice is extracted. The same is true with human beings. When a person is squeezed, i.e. put under stress and pressure what’s inside comes out. For example, if an individual is internally frustrated, resentful, discontent, and jealous, to name a few destructive characteristics, I doubt seriously that the individual would display a kind, loving, and compassionate demeanor when put under emotional pressure.

Patience is still a virtue and emotional reactivity to any situation is the barometer in evaluating our success with that virtue. Personal core values provide the building blocks to solidify a foundation of strength against life’s pressures and stresses, and to maintain a high level of professionalism that demonstrates superior leadership. Have fun, be that positive example, and enjoy the stress relieving benefits of simmering down.

Friday, August 14, 2020

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