Free! We all love something for nothing, nada, nix, zip… free. It is a basic part of the human condition allowing us to feel like we have had the win. A feeling like we got something almost as good as the real deal but we didn’t have to pay – we beat the system!
Think about this though, when was the last time you got something for free which actually delivered what you had really wanted? I’m not talking about your Angry Birds or Candy Crush apps – I’m talking about something that was intended to actually help you and improve life in some way.
I have always wanted to learn to speak Spanish properly. I have a few basics, but I wanted to become more proficient. Not only is it a fluent, beautiful sounding language but it is spoken in many nations by many millions of people and therefore, may have some practical use too. So, I looked around for what I could get my hands on to help me learn this language fast and of course for free.
I started the search with great hope and it seemed so easy and so simple. Very quickly I found 100’s of free resources, apps, online lessons, ideas. I began to click away and download to my hearts content. I began to engage with the vast gamut of resources I had found for free! I had beat the system. But was I winning?
Not really, but I did confirm two things.
First, learning a language is hard work. It takes time, commitment, flexibility, practice and feedback. You cannot learn and develop only in isolation. Secondly, I discovered that though the word ‘free’ may sound appealing, attractive and alluring – in the context of attaining a skill development for personal or professional growth, it is pointless. It was a time waste. I may as well have been playing Candy Crush.
What does it all mean?
Get real. The old saying ‘you get what you pay for’ is true in reverse… ‘you get what you don’t pay for’. In other words, no requirement for exchange of money equates to no value and no result. Ok now, I hear you, “paying for something does not guarantee value.” That is true. Yet, also true is that no requirement for payment ensures a lack of value.
Learning a language is best done in conjunction with a real person in the real world having real interaction and real feedback. It takes time, it takes effort, but it takes a financial commitment too.
While it is not free it will be value for time, money and a great investment in your future success.
Don’t chase free-dumb. Just bite the bullet and smash your goals. Hasta la vista!
Managing Director ESL Tutoring Services
Educator and Encourager | Creator of the 4wards Program