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There is a current trend of, what use to be hoping to get something for nothing, to now having the expectation that one should get something – anything – without giving something in return. Be it monetary payment, an acknowledgement, or some other form of compensation.  And then there’s a subset within this, namely, those who put up a pretense at the beginning, get what they want and then renege, because they’ve already received what they were after. How does this translate in the world of work, one’s professional development, and life overall?  It doesn’t!  At least, not for the majority of professionals.  Not long-term. Whether it’s your time, energy, knowledge, or money, you will, at some point, give up something in exchange for something else.  

What is Rooted in the Idea of Getting Something for Nothing?

 The answers to this are probably as long as America’s debt and its obligations to other countries.  But, from exposure to experience, quite often the something-for-nothing mindset stems from people’s laziness, selfishness, and/or sense of entitlement.  Another unspoken reason is that there are those who know in their heart of hearts that they do not have the wherewithal (innate abilities) and gravitas to secure that (fill in the blank) that they so desperately want.  That is, they can’t get it the right way (and they couldn’t and wouldn’t dare admit it!).  

Getting something for nothing is not as clear cut and dry as one may think.  Many times it comes with conditions and or psychological disturbances that perpetually stick with a person.  No matter how much we mask it, I’m sure you would agree, that the worst torment of all, is that internal torment that prevents us from getting out of our head and pushes us to overcompensate in other areas.  But, whether we recognize it or not, no one is fooled, not even we ourselves.  That said, we’ll leave something for nothing right here, because it has no place in pushing professionals forward and it is unsustainable.  Consider instead … something FROM nothing. 

What is Something FROM Nothing? 

The something from nothing mindset is the desire to, belief in, and process of bringing together different elements, approaches, and methods to produce a desired outcome, that does not already exist.  It is the coming together of blood, sweat, tears, and intellectual shrewdness to create, own, and possess, tangible  and/ or intangible assets, goods, and values.  Examples of this include starting a business from scratch, being a new employee and establishing an unmatched, hardworking, attention to detail work ethic, or creating a revolutionary technological invention that disrupts existing markets and the status quo.  Creating something from nothing applies to professionals and business owners alike, as development and the need for same transcend career paths. 

Now that you see the difference between the two – ‘Something for nothing’ versus ‘Something from nothing’ – which do you prefer?  What boat are YOU currently in?  



Sandrea Flowers

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