The early hours of Sunday evening the 28th of March brought an intense feeling of glee, better than anything Sunday morning will ever offer.
The country was in a cheerful mood as one of our favorite sons had won the London marathon, for the fourth time. This marathon was billed as second fastest in history.
Expectedly, victory parties are usually contagious and therefore we had to accommodate the Prince Harry the Duke of Sussex and the rest of the world as well.
Eliud Kipchoge 34, had broken the marathon’s world record the previous year in Berlin and for the foreseeable future, he is on a good streak.
While Kipchoge was taking selfies with Prince Harry in London, another of our sons was making headline news for all the wrong reasons back at home.
Asbel Kiprop, a middle distance ace was threating to unleash terror unless someone literary restrained him. He is a police officer and recent incidences of needless bloodletting prompted authorities to call the bluff and confiscate his gun. He is not altogether new to controversy as he is currently serving a four-year ban by IAAF for testing positive to performance-enhancing substances besides being caught in some rather disconcerting circumstances.
Uasin Gishu County has a long history of grass to grace and back again such that clocking record-breaking times on the racing track is in itself no longer considered a blessing.
About ten years ago a young, lanky and athletic Pamela Jelimo stunned the world with her hair raising dashes in the 800-meter sprints seemingly with little effort. Within a year, she had broken several records and eventually became the first Kenyan female athlete to win the golden league jackpot pocketing a whopping one million dollars in prize money. It was not long though before she lost steam and even started skipping races. Eventually, even her marriage to her longtime trainer could not withstand the strain and Jelimo joined the long list of good prospects gone cold.
The most heartbreaking of these stories were in fact not from the north rift but from Laikipia, home to the Lewa Conservancy that hosts a popular marathon and a favorite endurance training destination. It is also the birthplace of world-renowned the late Samuel Wanjiru the winner of the fastest marathon in history.
The exploits of Samuel on the marathon streets of the world are legendary but his off-track reputation was not. His personal life so spiraled out of control that he literary plunged to death from his own single-story mansion aged 24. Understandably, his mother fiercely refutes these claims and suggests foul play.
Perhaps, Samuel’s story is the nadir of a neglected cash crop that foreshadows an industry crying out for help. Success in whatever is considered in most cultures as the climax of fruitful human endeavor and that successful people are our most sort after benefactors. We are mistaken; successful people are probably needier than the average person. With the limelight constantly shining on them and unrealistic expectations placed upon their human shoulders, it is only the strongest that can endure this kind of scrutiny.
A few years ago, I initiated a study to establish human elements that are prerequisite to economic success. One of the attributes that stood out for me was resilience; the ability to survive and thrive adversity that I described as the Displacement Phenomenon. Upon further inquiry, I discovered that some of the previous success stories had plunged back into mediocrity in a phenomenon that I termed Reverse Displacement. This was an unusual finding because, like most of us, I imagined that the kind of endurance required to achieve success exceeds the one required to maintain it.
Though achieving success is considered to be no small feat, surviving success seems to be the more onerous undertaking. History is replete with tales of self-destruction and while we look down upon the subjects as irresponsible and spoilt, we forget that managing success requires a different skill set from the one that got them there. Success is not a destination; rather it is an elevated milestone for a new and even more strenuous journey. I am alive to this fact and therefore one of the bespoke soft skills programs that I offer is for managing personal success. It is with the authority of personal experiences and reflection that I can state that success is not for the faint-hearted.