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Never accept free things, there's always a cost!

 If it is free, you are the product (Photo: iStock)

I came across a poster with three important lessons in life, which I will expound, on with my experiences from my early and present life.

One, when one subscribes to a company that offers streaming service and production so as to watch films and TV series at a fee of Sh5, 000, this is not the cost of streaming but costs to the subscriber’s time.

Unlike in the olden days when we used to have VOK as the only TV channel, which operated between 5 pm and 10 pm, nowadays TV is a 24-hour affair. We have similarly become 24-hour viewers.

In turn, it has affected our youth most of whom have become unhealthy couch potatoes. Most of them after earning a degree keep complaining about a lack of jobs, yet they watch streaming services all day instead of going to hustle.

Unfortunately, the streaming of movies and series can also be found on our smartphones.  As my father used to say: once you waste a minute of your time, you will never recover it. Instead of wasting your time on content streaming, one should be asking what productive thing they have achieved at the end of the day.

Two, when you decide to take a carbonated soft drink that costs Sh70, you should not look at cost of the drink but the cost to your health. When growing up, money was scarce and it was only on special occasions that some of us took soda. But nowadays, due to competition, soda is cheap and also due to lack of proper parental advice, especially from the mothers, most young people are not drinking healthily.

That explains why young adults are grappling with heart and cholesterol issues. As my cardiologist once told me, I have reached an age when I should have had enough of soda and now just enjoy freshly made drinks or water. It is the reason I carry a five- litre bottle of water to Peter Maitha at Nairobi West shopping centre to get my sugar cane juice mixed with ginger and lemon.

Three, social media is not free as we are meant to believe since it costs you your focus. I remember those days we used to go to cybercafes to be assisted to open a Facebook account at a fee. Now, all that one needs to do to open a social media account is double-click away on phone.

Everyone has experienced how social media has become so addictive to an extent it makes people lose their focus. It is one of the things that have made mental health issues increase. Social media is an addictive drug just like cocaine and if not treated, it will cause a lot of harm to future generations.

Depression and suicide cases have been on the rise because of social media. It has made people lose genuine friends because they assume their followers are real friends only to realise they are not when they get in trouble. With an increase in the availability of Wifi, social media has infected even the older generation in their struggle not to be left behind.

Thanks to social media, people don’t want to work hard. They have decided to fake it till they make it. Social media has made relationships and families break because of a lack of communication.

Some of us never go for free things because we were taught that there is no free lunch and everything has a cost. 

I have said here before if a man approaches you and offers a free drink, ask yourself if you are the fairest of them all. If you are not, then know it is a trap and run.

Always ask yourself, why? Then the ‘because’ reason will always give you an answer. Always remember when something is free, you are the product.

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