There's No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.

"There's No Such Thing As A Free Lunch." A powerful quote by Milton Friedman, a prominent American economist in the 20th century. I first heard this saying at my freshman introductory orientation at Ripon College with Dean Harris, Dean of Men. He was speaking to the entire male freshman class (the ladies were in another room in a similar talk with the Dean of Women — boy would I have liked to have been a fly on that wall!). Dean Harris was a wonderful man who reached out to me at different junctures of my college career — giving me sage advice (and reprimanding me when I stepped over the line). He's a special person in my life.

To this day, I can't think of a month that goes by when I either think or speak these words. As a successful corporate executive and coach, what does it mean to me?

  1. If you work hard, results and rewards will follow.
  2. Odds are, if someone gives something to you, it will probably cost you something in the end.
  3. Don't expect anything to happen, plan and ensure that it does.
  4. Don't go through life thinking everything will be easy.

Those are MY definitions. What are yours?

Oh, by the way, here's a great corollary to the Friedman quote:

“The small businessman is smart; he realizes there's no free lunch. On the other hand, he knows where to go to get a good inexpensive sandwich.” - Adam Osborne