Never Enough

I like watching those shows on HGTV where people shop for their first home. I always lose it when I see some 25 year old engaged couple rejecting a house because it only has “two bathrooms” or “not enough space for a formal dining room.” It’s banal and insidious and makes me shudder.

When I think about it, that’s a lot like how we judge and make complaints about other people. Deep down there’s no other explanation but entitlement. I mean, have you ever once thought that you’d be willing to trade something you do appreciate in someone in exchange for the thing you’re complaining about?

Our grievances against other people are mostly rooted in this tendency to take what we do get for granted and whatever else we want as justly deserved. It’s a petty kind of narcissism shined over with rationalizations about social cues or the ‘future of customer service’ or reciprocity. And when I look at it that way, I realize there isn’t much honor in criticism, just greed.

Written by Ryan Holiday
Ryan Holiday is the bestselling author of Trust Me, I’m Lying, The Obstacle Is The Way, Ego Is The Enemy, and other books about marketing, culture, and the human condition. His work has been translated into thirty languages and has appeared everywhere from the Columbia Journalism Review to Fast Company. His company, Brass Check, has advised companies such as Google, TASER, and Complex, as well as Grammy Award winning musicians and some of the biggest authors in the world. He lives in Austin, Texas.