Before you read any further, kindly take this tiny survey.
[If thou art reading this without taking that survey above, thou art…*use your imagination*]
If you’re anything remotely like any young person I’ve ever met, I’d bet you chose the first option. I know, we all do that, right? I mean, who reads that stuff- like seriously? The language is boring (let’s not even get into the confused juxtaposition of grammatical elements that just makes your eyes automatically locate the ‘I Accept’ button, and your finger complies without the slightest hesitation). Sometimes, I wonder why they bother to hire lawyers to come up with those lengthy, mind numbing mumbo jumbo. But of course, there must be a reason.
I’m no lawyer so I won’t dare act like one by trying to explain all the ‘learned’ reasons behind choosing to intimidate innocent citizens like you and I who can’t understand legalese (by the way, that’s like chinese for lawyers…legal….chinese…get the drift? I knew you would, genius)
About a year ago, I was about to sign up for a literary project I found on facebook. The organization’s vision sounded really compelling and noble, so I said “hey, why not give this a try for a change”. Before fixing in my details though, on a whim, I felt a need to check out the comments others had made about the project.
What I found shocked me. Comment after comment lambasted the organization and advised prospective ‘recruits’ to NOT have anything to do with the organization or its supposedly noble project. The overwhelming theme had something to do with their terms and conditions which the facebook commenters described in not-so-flattering terms.
Being my ever curious self, I decided to, for probably the first time in my life, read through the Terms and Conditions statement. Let’s just say the comments weren’t too harsh afterall. On closer examination, that so-called worthy project looked like a crafty ploy to steal intellectual property from any one who chose to participate. Thank goodness for facebook comments. What would we do without them?
Importing this to everyday life, isn’t it also true that many, times, we click on ‘I Accept’ without checking the attached Terms and conditions? We agree to ideas, counsel, suggestions and all that without pausing long enough to really process what we’re saying ‘yes’ to.
So we say yes to that guy (or girl- it happens, some girls are quite bold, you know) without fully understanding what we’re getting into. “We’re ‘in love'”, we tell ourselves, until harsh realities smack us in the face and force us to face the truth.
EVERY THING in life, every decision, every friendship, every career move, every commitment, every thing MUST cost you something. That’s just how life works. The cost usually isn’t money, but it has to be paid all the same. As young people, we usually take pride in getting to that age where mum and dad can no longer tell us absolutely everything- we enjoy the semi-independence. But we must always remember (pause. get this), that every CHOICE has CONSEQUENCES. Never forget those two words- choices and consequences.
That’s why it’s important that we train ourselves to read between the lines, look closely and always think deeply about the associated consequences of our choices and actions (or inaction).
Sure, we may not be able to see all the possible fallouts from our choices today. We all have blind spots. But to mindlessly say yes (or no) when we get to those crossroads is just plain stupid. And we ain’t stupid, right?
So we all can be content with leaving the legalese to the lawyers. That’s their job. But by all means, when it comes to the important issues of our lives, we should NEVER, ever forget to read the Terms and Conditions.
Remember: Choices. Consequences.
“I have read and agreed with the terms and conditions”. Yeah right. Just don’t end up like this dude.
Till next time, keep growing!