When I was 20 years old and working in a home theatre shop in Dubai, UAE as a in-store salesman and shopkeeper, a very intelligent young man walked into the outlet. He was educated, smart, successful and well-to-do. After giving him a demo of some of the products that were displayed he then proceeded to ask me questions about me.
I was candid and honest with him about me, my life and what I did. And then before leaving he told me to keep in touch via email.
I looked at him and told him:
- I didn’t have an email
- I didn’t know what was an email.
He looked at me and said, “Oh okay. No issues. I’ll help you create one for free.”
I was like WHAT?
You will give me an email account — FOR FREE???
I couldn’t believe it.
Here I was an ordinary shopkeeper, a good for nothing, a person with no education and qualification and there he was an educated guy with an MBA, a Laptop, working in a Multinational company, earning good money — and he wanted to help me FOR FREE!
I was absolutely overjoyed!
Within the next few minutes, this smart young man went out of the way to create my first email account — loytheboy on hotmail.com (its no longer available) .
I was so happy.
So very happy.
My 1st ever email account.
And then I logged into the internet everyday to check my own email account. I would log in, check if I received any email and log out (remember those days it was a dial up connection).
This young man would send me an email once a while, send me a few forwards, a few worthwhile messages. Sometimes he would even invite me to his gatherings and outings.
I was so touched and honored by his kindness and generosity.
This young man’s name is Amit Mitbawker and today he runs his own independent consulting firm with the same name helping others make money.
Soon after creating my own email address for FREE, I found out I could get not just one email but have many email addresses for FREE! I was super happy! And so I created more emails for FREE!
Soon I started to snoop around for the FREE bits both online and offline.
Tech Magazines started offering Games CD’s for FREE.
Supermarkets started offering products and samples for FREE.
Soon the internet got into the FREE Economy.
- Wikipedia provided me information for FREE.
- Youtube provided me entertainment for FREE.
- Google gave me email, drive storage, directions, information and even productivity apps for FREE
- Social Media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & Snapchat were for FREE
- Online Educational & Training websites like W3schools, TED, MIT, Khan Academy were for FREE
- Applying for Jobs through job sites & through Linkedin became FREE
- Even getting coaching, training & mentoring became for FREE with Tony Robbins, Gary Vaynerchuck, Tim Ferriss sharing their knowledge for free with other star achievers
- And then the best & worst part of it all (Best for people like me & worst for people like the creators) P2P ushered in Content Piracy from sharing FREE movies, FREE songs, FREE content & FREE everything.
So now everything was FREE and I was super happy. I kept downloading, copying, and storing all the FREE content that I could. And my collection grew and grew and grew.
Until one day….. I suddenly just stopped.
I looked around and saw tons of FREE material, tons of FREE knowledge, tons of FREE services. But then why wasn’t I improving? Why wasn’t I getting more successful? Why wasn’t my life getting any better?
I mean, given the FREE facilities, the quality of my life was improving but really — was it?
I had all the FREE content in the world but then why wasn’t my life improving? Why wasn’t I getting any richer? Why wasn’t I get much more smarter? Why wasn’t I getting more successful?
What was missing?
And so I sat down totally confused without having any idea or any direction or any answer.
But you know how life is — you get busy working in a dead-end job. And since you get a monthly income, since you have new products & services where you can spend money — from the restaurants, to the movies, to the gadgets & gizmos, you just forget about those life-changing questions and move on.
And this went on until one fine day, I lost everything.
And when you lose your money, your career and your power, with that you also lose:
Suddenly you come face-to-face with reality. Because all of a sudden, when you do not have money, you realize — Oh sheesh, I need money. And then when you realize you need money, well guess what — No one wants to lend it to you or give you any. And then when that happens, you realize ‘Oh boy, I am NOT as skilled or as smart as I assumed I was.’
And that is where reality hits you.
All of a sudden, I questioned myself, the same question I had once asked but had totally forgotten about “If everything is for FREE and I have everything I need for FREE — then why isn’t the quality of my life improving?”
I guess that question wasn’t so important and urgent to be answered until I reached 2011 — when I finally became penniless on the streets of Mumbai and I had decided to end my life. It was there I questioned my life more than anything else, like never before.
Finally, I realized, if I had to change my life FREE was not going to cut it. If I had for FREE what everyone also was offered for FREE, there would be no change, no improvement and no difference to my life. If I had to change my life — well, now I had to spend money.
But here was the dilemma — Now I had no money. When I had money, instead of spending money on what mattered, I spent money on luxuries I didn’t need, moments I didn’t require & friends I shouldn’t have kept. And now when I needed to really save myself on things that really mattered, there wasn’t any reserve.
So now what?
It was a painful lesson for me to realize that if I wanted something worthwhile — from professional advice, to professional guidance to professional coaching — that would NEVER come for FREE.
And so, I had to beg, plead, steal, sell, cheat — do whatever it took for me to collect money to pay those professionals for my education, my development and my training. And I spend more money those two years after that 2011 attempted suicide than I had ever spent in the last 30 years of my life.
Today, nothing in my life which is worthwhile is for FREE.
- My online presence: I pay for my website, my youtube channel, my social media marketing team & my team of consultants
- The softwares that I use are never the FREE versions. I pay a premium to use the best.
- My Mentors I no longer keep FREE mentors. I pay a very high price but I also get the best
- The Educational Material — I stopped downloading the FREE pirated versions and now pay full price because I know when I pay, I value them more. And I am also contributing to the author who created it.
Very strangely, my life has improved for the better and today I am earning 100 times more than what I was earning once upon a time.
I am pretty sure someone in your life must have come in to teach you, train you and tutor you for FREE. When I was young I was lucky to have someone like Amit Mitbawker offer me his services for FREE. But not everyone is a Amit Mitbawker. And not everyone is so lucky.
What I realized is, when you get something for free, there is no much value in it both for you and the other person. But when you pay that person, you not only respect the other person but you respect yourself too.
I can never repay Amit Mitbawker for all that he did for me when I was a nothing and nobody. Forget the FREE drinks, sandwiches and trips he offered to take me. That wasn’t the big deal. But the advice, guidance and insights he gave me were priceless.
I never forgot what he did for me and that is why I kept in touch with him always. Today, if I even have a grateful heart in my body for him — it is because of what he did for me. And that is why I recommend him, promote him in within my circles and yes endorse him.
However, don’t mistake one thing, if I do go to him today for his Professional Services — he will charge me. And he is comes to me for my Professional Services, I too will charge him. Simply because today we both know what is the value of getting a Professional Service. And most importantly we respect each other.
So the next time someone offers you something for FREE and you feel you are getting a good deal — I think you need to ask yourself this question:
Is there anything of value that is really for FREE like a Rolls Royce for FREE? Rolex for FREE? $1,000,000 for FREE?
Or is my own greed & stupidity luring me into this FREE concept and I will eventually end up being — another victim in FREE economy as a nothing and nobody?
Think about it and Reflect on this question — for FREE.