End the entitlement: Rich people owe you nothing!
There is this global simmering expectation that well off people should take care of those around them that are not well off. Someone wins Sh 100 million in a lottery and you will come across comments such as ‘I hope he will not forget the people who live near him’, ‘I hope he will donate half of it’, ‘How obscene/evil for one person to own all that money while others lack’ or you will see people coming out of the woodwork with long forgotten friendships and unexplained kinships to try and pinch off some of the winnings.
Earlier this week, Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge, a superstar, world renowned and celebrated marathoner won one of the biggest marathons in the world, the Berlin Marathon. Praise and congratulatory messages came fast and furious; and the country was proud of how high he flew the flag. But then, among the hundreds of thousands of celebratory messages, were those sprinkled negative comments regarding his achievements, philanthropy and his lifestyle.
People who claimed to know about his private life and those who claimed to be his neighbors alleged that Eliud, despite being rich, never offers a helping hand to those around him. Other claims emerged that he neither shares his borehole water with his village neighbors nor greets them. Others claimed that he does not help nurture athletics talents and does not give back to the community.
Before mentioning how Eliud Kipchoge factually does take care of those around him- near and far- we must address why people feel entitled to his properties, his time and his wealth. Eliud Kipchoge sacrificed, worked hard and smart to achieve his success and own what he has today. He has his family, team mates, management and inner circle who stood by him in the valley and on the mountains. His love for them and his gratefulness for their support is renowned worldwide via his celebratory statements after wining. Strangers played no role in his journey to become the greatest marathoner of all times except cheer him on from the comfort of their homes, in clubs, on the streets and from behind their mobile phone screens.
As fans and detractors alike, when it comes to his money- or any other rich person around- you must learn to respect their personal property. They have a right to privately enjoy what they worked for. You want free water? Find your area MP to dig boreholes for the village- or better yet, did these neighbors kindly approach Eliud for water or first speedily ran online to make allegations without providing any evidence?
Additionally, critics and those salivating over his wealth must focus on their own personal responsibility. No one owes you an easy life. You must work hard for your own success rather than rely on other people’s wealth. You are not their dependents and you must respect that a boundary exists between you and wealthy people- spoken or unspoken. Assuming entitlement to someone else’s money or property will lead to conflicts and disregard for these boundaries. You cannot sit down and begin dictating how someone can use and enjoy their hard earned wealth just because you were friends with his previous maid ten times removed, or because your children go to the same school or he once bought you 10 liters of cooking oil and suddenly he is your assistant hustler.
And for the detractors, Eliud Kipchoge does help his community. The Eliud Kipchoge Foundation does exist. It focuses on education and the environment in and out of Kenya. His education goals are to sponsor school fees to give more children access to education, build libraries and inspire people through the importance of education and the power of books.
Environmentally, this is one of his pillars because it is attached to athletics. He recognizes that athletes train in the forest because it is good for their health and for their breathing. His goals are to maintain forests as he plants more trees to also enhance fruit and vegetable farming, conserve the environment for the next generation and help make running become a lifestyle for many. His foundation also does takes care of vulnerable athletes when they endure hard times.
Where again did y’all say he is selfish and does not help his community?
So dear Eliud’s neighbors, alleged acquaintances and bitter critics, his wealth is not community wealth. You are not entitled to it. You can only appreciate what he choses to do for the community as part of his social responsibility. Work hard for yours and hope people will not behave as entitled to your wealth as you did with Eliud’s.