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Nothing is free.

Free lunches are a figment of your imagination. For real.

Chidi Afulezi
Chidi Afulezi
4 min read
Nothing is free.

(soundtrack for this Fashi is The IsoCorona Pandemic-Monium Rouse Mix v1, on Spotify.)

Ah. My people. How body?

Last year I read what folks call a quake book. As in, this book literally tackled  me off my feet jiu-jitsu style and body slammed me like Hulk Hogan slammed Andre the Giant back in the day when wrestling was real.

As in. Anotha. Ban-ga! (Rema is blaspheming on my ones and twos in my ear right now).

I won’t mention the book yet, as I want to focus on the aftermath of my encounter and continued combat with said book. But I am telling you…podcasts, cage fights, webinars, roadmaps, presidential campaigns, cooking books are being spawned by yours truly from this book. I’ll name the book at another time and place.

After I’m done finishing everything.

One of the chapters in the book is named “Nothing’s Free”, and it had me hopping. Like I just chewed raw Rwandan coffee, no chaser. You know how you’re reading or listening to or watching something and you drop the book, or press pause on the phone, and start doing your TED Talk right there and then? Eh-hehn. That was me. The basic premise of the chapter was that everything has a price. Period. And that price is key because we must figure what that price is, and whether we are willing to pay that price. For everything.

The problem is that the price of a lot of things is not obvious until you’ve experienced them first, when the bill is overdue.

Right? Every damn thing demands a price. No such thing as free.

The big juicy job and title is not free. The job looks easy when you’re not the one doing it. You’re looking at the black dude running things and you say, “it’s not that hard, I will do 100X better, believe me. I’m a genius. Everyone is saying it.” As you and your spaceship and Twitter account hurtle down in a vat of burning rocket fuel with arrows and machetes sticking out your back at the end of your term, you’re looking at your daughter and concluding the job ain’t all its cracked up to be, yeah?

Marriage is not free. What makes you think when you sign the papers, everything is all smooth sailing from there? My Guy, Boss Lady. You just added a whole new human being to your life. With all their wahala and baggage. Your career will be impacted. Your money will be impacted. Your freaking body will change. You will lose some personal and physical space. Even your attention span will get shady on you once the children start showing up—”You don’t love like you used to”. Yes, thou shall giveth up stuff. If you’re not willing to pay the bill when it’s overdue, don’t sign the papers. Seriously.

Posting on social media is not free. When you are sitting there waiting and hoping for likes and comments, especially after you dropped some serious knowledge or humor, price dey. When you temporarily deactivate your account because no one liked your epic rant of Facebook, that was your Amex sliding on the POS. When you take three hundred pics just to find one to post on Insta so you can sustain the 2K likes a post you are used to? And you only get 1.9K? Price. Believe me, I know…I was kidnapped by my family and deposited at social media rehab in 2018.

Success in business is not free.

Behind every great fortune is an equally great crime—Balzac.

Of course I don’t believe this is 100% true, but there just seems to be a price for that lionized and celebrated stratospheric business successes.“Breaking News: Chidi Afulezi and Zain Verjee, the founders of The Massive Company have raised $21M in a Series B round”. Ask them how many arms and legs and children they had to give up for that money. And the company hasn’t even broken even yet. (Wait, you do realize that was metaphorical, right? Please don’t blow up my WhatsApp). Zuckerberg is paying the price. Bezos is paying the price. Yes, Oprah paid a price. The Kardasians paid a price. Ok, Kim paid the price and then the rest entered the theater, including the self-made quasi billionaire. Even Beyonce (unclutch your pearls)…remember the original Destiny’s Child? Heads had to roll in order to clear the path to Parkwood.

A banging body is not free. All those Instagram fitness fairies and fire breathing dragons who look like they eat raw concrete and drink unfiltered vegan ambrosia need to show receipts so you know which payment method you’ll need to pay the piper to get that summer banger. ‘Cos it ain’t just three hours of burpees and triple distilled water from the untouched hills of Kilimanjaro, I can assure you.

Nothing’s free. Most things are harder in practice than they are in theory, the challenges faced by someone in the arena are often invisible to those in the crowd. Ask them, if they tell you it was all roses and easy, tell them “Get out of here, my friend!”

So abeg, before you do that thing, find out what the fee is, the cost of membership, the price of admission. And make sure they include the hidden fees—the volatility and uncertainty and adversity fees—in there too.

Ok. Let me go and eat, please. The concrete is on the stove.

Fashi Mindset by Chidi Afulezi