How “Free” Could Keep You Captive

Personal Development
Free Cheese

Are you in a hypnotic state now? If there is one word that will bring most people into a hypnotic state where they salivate just like Pavlov’s dog its the word “Free”. It is THE buzzword of our last decade and wherever you look (especially with software and the internet) that is the word that people flock to.

I’ve been there too my brother for quite a while, but then it dawned on me, that this word, with that oh so sweet sound to it, could be one of the meanest traps towards experiencing real growth – especially when it comes to those areas of financial abundance and self-appreciation.

You might be dazzled by my words, but follow me for some lines and you might agree, that “Free” is not always free for your mind – indeed it could be the word that kept you enslaved to your miserable life for too long.

We Got Used to “Free”

Nowadays with the internet and its vast collection of free material available, people expect to get almost everything for free – software, music, video, entertainment in ever area, books, knowledge – everything is free.

I won’t go into the discussion that some media moguls started recently – and yes this blog gives away lots of valuable tips and my most profound knowledge without charging – but I also know that this is a problem. However it is not so much a problem for me, I am not afraid that I won’t get my share of money if I don’t threaten you to pay me for my wisdom. No, that would be a step back towards scarcity mentality for me – read my article „Release Your Fear of Scarcity” about it.

It‘s Not About Price – It‘s About Value

What I am referring to, is not the price you have to pay (in $) but the value you have to invest in the knowledge.

What do I mean? Let me give you an example.

Let’s say that I give you a certain valuable information via my blog. That is free. You don’t have to pay anything. So the price is $0. The question is how much do you value the information? Especially, if it is one of 5, 10, 20 or more articles you read that day.

Why (Sometimes) An Expensive Coach Is Better

What if I would give you the same information during a coaching, but I would charge you $1,000 for it. Would that change your perception? Would you make sure, that you apply the knowledge in your life? Would that increase your awareness for the content? You bet.

You see, very often charging a high amount of money is one of the best motivators to get people using the stuff they already knew inside their head anyway. But knowledge is not power. Knowledge is potential (or dead) power, until you awaken it through your actions. Read my article ”This Article is Dead – Awaken It from Death” for more.

The Danger of Free or Cheap Knowledge

You see the danger of free (or cheap) knowledge is, that you collect it and leave it until it is covered with the dust of your mind forgetting about it, without applying the potential power to your life.

If you’ve ever been to a coaching I bet that you paid a decent amount of money not to hear anything new, but to be reminded and motivated to use the stuff you already had within you as potential. That’s why I call a great coach a highly paid reminder service. And I don’t mean it tongue in cheek – I know that a great coaching is worth every damn penny. I have been around coaches charging over $1,000 per hour and they were worth their money and yes, you are focused once they start charging you.

Think about it this way – who do you think is more capable in helping you become successful – a coach who charges $10 per hour, $100 per hour or $1,000 per hour. Now $1,000 might feel quite uncomfortable for you, but I bet you are intrigued and associate a level of expertise and knowledge with it that is at least 10x that of the $10 per hour consultant.

Yet, the $1,000 consultant might say the same thing as the $10 consultant – but you value it at least 100x as much.

Price => Value => Commitment

Why? Simply because by paying upfront $1,000 you would commit 100x as much of your awareness and focus on getting as much as possible out of that coaching session.

Now does that mean, that I should charge you $1,000 for my upcoming articles? Well, I guess that would drive most of you away – but if I would be left with 1 or 2 people I would knew that those would have radical breakthroughs in their life within a short period of time (or that they already had so much money, that they couldn’t care less for that 1 grant – but I would love them anyway lol). But I would unfortunately lose also those people, who couldn’t afford that kind of money at this time. So trust me, it is not about the money here.

What Could You Invest?

I am not speaking about paying $ 1,000 here, I am speaking about value investment. Yes, you could invest US-$ 1,000, but what else could you invest. How about your time, your effort, your focus. That’s what I am talking about.

What if you would decide that you would select one piece of information per month and made the decision to invest $1,000 – either in currency or in efforts of applying it. Would that change your mindset.

How Much Is Your Awareness and Focus Worth?

Now how much is an hour of your focus currently worth? Well just calculate how much you get paid at your job. Divide your monthly gross (or net if you are brave) income by 160 or how many hours you work per month. There you have it. You might say that‘s not true – but let‘s start with that figure, because you currently might sell 8 hours of your focus and (physical) presence by that rate. What if you decided to commit that many hours for month that equal $1,000? Would that be different than you reading lots of articles, saying inside “Great content, and then move on to the next.

Why I Like to Pay for Software and Information

And what I am saying doesn‘t only relate to knowledge – it also relates to products. I‘ve seen people shying away from great software just because they needed to invest $20 or $50, just because the producer of that software was charging something. And that is especially true for people who are collecting software, ebooks, music just for the sake of having it. Now I am a geek myself constantly downloading & testing out great software – but I rarely look at the price tag upfront. What I do ask myself, how much could this software (or knowledge) help me free up my time, do things more efficient. And since I value my time and focus highly, I started not only raising my rates but I also am willing to pay good money for things that help me save my time and focus for other things.

The Psychological Danger of Being Cheap

I found out that people who are obsessed with hunting for the free stuff also tend to value their own worth very little. They come from a scarcity mindset were there is not enough to give to others, so they are craving for free.

And the marketing industry knows about it – and uses the word „free“ to get you used to something were you have to pay later once you get used to it or want an upgrade. Bizarre concept – but it works.

How Paying Can Increase Your Self-Esteem

However if you are willing to pay for things and knowledge, you are at the same time acknowledging the fact, that you have the power to do so. You are acknowledging the value of the product and might use it much better in your life. Since I am not about bargain-hunting I never needed to fight other people who wanted to bargain me.

If you value other things, honor them and commit the necessary focus, time and money investment – you value yourself

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20 comments… add one

  • I saw a man with ‘freedom’ written on his inner forearm in an Arabic tattoo. Free, freedom? It must mean something else in each culture. Would a Russian in 1960’s USSR say freedom is knowing they’ll always have a place to live and work? Freedom in Nazi Germany means what? Freedom in emerging nations is based on economic power?

    Freedom used to mean sending kids to college on a blue collar job.

    Free? There’s always a trade, and it’s not always up front. Good post to see. Thanks

    David

    deegeesbb.wordpress.com

    • Patrick

      David, your comment opens up quite another level of what freedom is used for in different cultures and situations. Very often the definition if Freedom is based on a very restricted mindset (what a bizarre concept) – yet I guess the only Freedom lies within us – the freedom to select what we put our focus on, what we think.

      • The fall back might be Kris Kristofferson’s Me and Bobby McGee, “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.”

  • Another great article. I see that there’s always a cost, if it’s even your time, or lack of clarity in a software filled computer with application and utilities we rarely use.

    .-= ´s last blog ..Humildad es decir la verdad =-.

    • Patrick

      Miguel, there is always a cost – so true, but we have the freedom to chose where we want to invest our time, focus, money, etc. I guess that is our ultimate freedom.

  • I think your point about people valuing things they pay for is right on. The paradox of having so much free information on the web is that you have to find what the best value is for you. And definitely avoid the scarcity mindset. Don’t settle for something inferior that will only slow you down or divert you from your goals and higher purpose.

    • Patrick

      Setting high standards for yourself is the first step towards overcoming lack of self-esteem and scarcity mindset.

  • A good (if mundane) example from my childhood:

    My dad was (and is) a huge penny pincher. Not only would he spend months agonizing over any significant purchase (anything over $100), but he would invariably suffer from buyer’s remorse immediately after purchasing. This unwillingness to pay, I think, was rooted in a disconnect in how he judged value.

    From watching my dad’s purchase-remorse habits, I learned not to agonize over decisions simply because of money. Instead, I try to take a hard look at the benefits of whatever I want to buy, weigh those benefits quickly against the potential value of the money I would spend, and make my decision confidently.

    Paradoxically, by not being chronically attached to and paranoid about money, I’ve noticed that saving and being frugal actually comes easier.

    .-= ´s last blog ..1,000 Readers and a Personal Confession =-.

    • Patrick

      Jeffrey, what a great example. Thank you for sharing. I’ve seen this vicious cycle of penny pinchers who are not able to get out of the rut (that they thrown themselves into). Whatever you get attached to much emotionally holds you captive. Whatever you are able to detach from (so you can focus on achieving it without fear or paranoia) will get into your hands much more easily.

  • “However if you are willing to pay for things and knowledge, you are at the same time acknowledging the fact, that you have the power to do so.”

    Patrick, awesom line and I couldn’t agree more! Most, if not all areas where I used to get freebies I tend to pay for those services now! Just today I bought a full spotify account as I know it’ll come in handy for my radio/dj work.

    When I spend money, I remind myself I’m creating wealth for others! :-)

    .-= ´s last blog ..Honouring People And Cultures With Language Skills =-.

    • Patrick

      Amid, it is the same for me – whatever I find really useful (not just playing around with), I tend to pay for it. That’s with software, web services, books, etc.

      1. With software and services (like your spotifiy account) you get much more for paying a fairly small amount of money
      2. You know you are creating wealth for others
      3. You are attracting much more wealth into your life, because you escaped the scarcity mindset and you changed your vibrational frequency that allows more money to come into your life.

      Here is an example for that last point. Last year I made the decision to become the sponsor of not only 1 but 4 children through Plan International. Beside other charities I support, some people asked me, why I go for 4 (for them it add’s up to serious money – more than 1 month of salary per year). I however made more than 10 times that much from one of my businesses (without working 1 hour longer). I am pretty sure that I would never have made that money would I’ve decided to go along the scarcity road. Ever since I started giving to charity (and paying for good services good money), my income has grown constantly.

  • Hi Patrick – I agree with much of what you say, especially about the link between scarcity mindset and self-worth. But as a coach, I’m not so sure that paying 10 times more than whatever the going rate is (say $1000 as opposed to $100) will ensure 10 times more commitment on the part of clients. So many things other than the price per session affect client commitment. And personally, I’m not intrigued by someone who charges unusually high fees.

    .-= ´s last blog ..Why Self-Help Bores Me =-.

    • Patrick

      Patty, ok – that might be a drastic example and yes there is much more affecting client commitment than money (developing a good trust relationship, showing up your competence and being able to prove amongst many others). But I very often seen consultants who were highly gifted yet they weren’t able to affect the client as good as possible because of their own lack of self-worth (and of course their low rates as an expression of that). And $1,000 is for a personal coach quite unusual (unless you maybe are consulting Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie through their relationship issues :-), but I guess on the other end of the continuum it gets quite clear – what is your initial reaction to a personal coach charging $10/hour?

      So, to make it clear – I’m not about advising to go for high-fee consultants – I’m about high-committing yourself towards the process of change (with or without a personal coach).

  • Patrick -

    Making the distinction between price and value hits right at the heart of this issue. Nothing is truly free as there is always at least a time cost associated with finding and reading “free” information. Taking in a bunch of free things and doing nothing at all is a waste of our finite energy supplies. It is only when we use the “free” information to make a change in our lives that the value is realised. Thanks for this clarification.

    Phil

    .-= ´s last blog ..Six steps to Stress-free Productivity =-.

    • Patrick

      Phil, you captured the essence – great job. It is absolutely not about paying money (and of course the 50$ consultant can do you a better service than a $1,000 consultant – if you valued the information more – and the information was more valuable to you.

  • On the other side there is also the danger of something being paid for (Especially online) and someone expecting it to be good because it cost something. Not necessary.

    • Patrick

      Richard – of course scam is all around, and cheap information sold at high prices. That is because value and price have no correlation by itself – only if you create it. That’s why a low priced book/consultant/advice that you value high is better to you than an expensive book/consultant/advice that you don’t value (or that has no value).

  • Hi Patrick,

    When my children were young and driving me crazy my husband and I invested in a counselor. We paid him $50 per hour, drove 45 minutes each way and hired a babysitter.

    We worked out arses off to do what we needed to do to make our marriage work. Our kids are in their 30’s now and we’re still married!

    About charging $1000 an hr. as a coach…I think when your calender is booked you raise your prices. If one starts out charging that much, you have a coach with a big ego, not a good coach.

    .-= ´s last blog ..Born To Run =-.

    • Patrick

      Tess, I picked $1,000 as an extreme. I’ve met business consultants (who were multi-millionaires before they became consultants). And yes, they have a big ego. But not being able to imagine that a consulting hour could be worth $1,000 tells us also a lot about our own limits.

      What if you had a problem – and you could go for 2 years to a good consultant who charged $50 – or you could go to a specialist who could enlighten you with the solution in 1 hour. Wouldn’t that information been worth $1,000?

      That reminds me of this often quoted story:

      A “factory manager” at a local factory called-in an “outside emergency maintenance guy” because one of his machines had “broken.” The maintenance guy arrived at the factory shortly after receiving the call. The “factory manager” then explained the problem he was experiencing to the “maintenance guy.” The maintenance guy responded, “I know exactly what the problem is,” then he quickly replaced a screw in the machine, and the machine began to work like new.
      The maintenance guy then said, “That’ll be $1,000.00!” The factory manager responded, “$1,000.00! You just replaced one screw; that screw cost $1.00; I could have easily done that!”
      The maintenance guy responded, “Yes, the screw did cost $1.00, but the knowledge of how to fix your machine cost $999, …and by the way, I only accept cash.”

      So, what are your (and our) limits of not being able to come up with $1,000 advice? Something to think about!

  • Unwrap your mind…Mind your unwrapping…I really enjoy your subjects and writing style, being attentive on using words like “almost always”. How “Free” COULD (how right you are to use “Could”) Keep You Captive. Still, I found out that everything is equal to its opposite even if it doesn’t look like it for some people (most of people ?).
    Sylvie from France

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