The Concept of Free
The word ‘free’ is such a lovely idea. Free food is great, a stress-free job is ideal, an injury-free sports season is amazing. These are all technically ‘free,’ but only in one aspect.
Google defines ‘free’ as “without cost or payment.” This is extremely broad so our definition of the word would be something along the lines of, “receiving something in exchange for something else.”
When you get that free sample of a new smoothie, the only thing free about it is the monetary cost of the drink. It may not cost you anything financially to drink a small cup of orange-mango smoothie but you’re exchanging your time and focus. You could be halfway down the suprtmarket’s aisle and closing a sales lead on the phone by the time you finish the sample.
Would you rather have a free sample of a smoothie or a sales lead and 2 minutes of time?
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Having a stress-free job is nice and all, but stress may be the only thing you won’t have to worry about. You can go through your work day without worrying about deadlines or a horrible boss but you may ultimately have to sacrifice money and time. Extra time with your family and a higher salary isn’t possible but at least you can say you’re calm at work.
Would you rather be worry-free at work or have an extra 2 hours with your family and an extra $10,000 a year?
If you’re an athlete and have made it to the end of the year ‘injury-free,’ the only thing you’re free of is injuries. It says N/A on your injury report before and after every game but you can only claim this because of the hours spent in the gym and that healthy diet you went on which costs time and money. When you reflect upon your year, it’s possible that a minor injury or two would have been more beneficial than all the time and money you spent in the gym and on food if you can afford it.
Would you rather play all 82 games in the season or miss 8 due to injury but claim an extra 2 hours a week and $150 due to the diet you decided not to go on?
The bottom line is that truly nothing is free, “no strings attached” is never that. You always have a choice between at least two things. Time and money are the most relatable but those can lead to even better things such as more time with your family or that extra pocket change that helped you pay your credit card bill on time.
Think about what you’ll have to sacrifice next time someone offers you anything “free.” Then, make the appropriate decision.