Researchers from the University of Michigan, St. Joseph University, and Ohio State University investigated the links between an individual's sense of entitlement and his or her willingness to do work that didn't seem to have any immediate benefit to him or her. They found that people who are more entitled have less patience for tasks that don't provide them with an immediate benefit. The scary part: "tasks without any immediate benefit" can include not just duties such as housekeeping but weightier efforts such as volunteering or trying to improve a personal relationship.
Bored, or bored and irritated?
In one experiment, students were shown a giant block of letters and asked to copy it exactly. In the second study, researchers did their best to come up with dull survey questions involving everyday activities. Students were asked zingers such as "In which campus building do you spend the most time?" and "How many meals do you tend to eat per day?"
In general, students who had a greater sense of entitlement thought boring tasks took longer.
- In the big-block-of-letters test, everyone got 10 minutes to work on it, but entitled students thought it took much longer.
- When answering the survey, entitled students thought the survey took 11 minutes to complete, while those in the control group thought it took just eight minutes.
- The entitled folks also were more likely to say the exercises were a waste of time.
How do you stay focused during boring tasks?
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Kimberly Weisul is a freelance writer, editor and editorial consultant. Follow her on twitter at www.twitter.com/weisul.