Success Intoxicates the Faint-hearted

Aug 6 , 2022
By Eden Sahle

A few months ago, my husband introduced me to a wealthy woman who had recently lost her husband of fifty-five years. She has several businesses and giant commercial buildings around the capital’s prime locations. But her house is filled only with the necessary items. From how they lived to how they presented themselves, it is hard to tell the family carries so much wealth.

When I lost my beloved father, she comforted me and we became closer. I discovered much about her initiatives. She and her husband built schools in the rural areas of Butajira and supported the vulnerable to enable them to run their own businesses.

They felt their wealth is not only for them to enjoy but also to share with the needy. People hired at their commercial buildings and businesses were once homeless, orphans, and underprivileged children and adults. They raised many of them and sent them to school. If they were already adults, they trained and gave them seed money to do business. They did not hold back on creating access to education and entrepreneurship opportunities, doing for others what they did not get themselves.

The woman does not bring up her wealth. She misses her late husband but regrets nothing about his life and how he lived; inspiring and supporting others is his primary goal in life. She feels the same way about herself. Early on, they both understood it is not money that gives meaning to one's life, but good deeds.

The couple did not have formal education except attending teachings in the church, commonly known as yeqes timehert bet. They came to the capital city as adults several decades ago, empty-handed. With no education and money, they seemed doomed from the beginning. They knew they would not have space in the white-collar sector. But they saw a great opportunity that they could pursue doing their own business. They returned and worked at their family’s farmland to generate and save a little cash. They brought it back and invested the money in a small café. The rest is history, though one that many have not heard.

They proved that success is possible wherever someone comes from and even if the person lacks formal education. She says all it takes is passion and enduring challenges that come in many forms. The failures that came in between did not stop them but pushed them to press hard, learning from their mistakes.

They never forgot their beginnings even after attaining a massive level of success that created the potential to change their way of life. They treat everyone with equal respect and dignity, knowing that people’s values do not come from their wallets but from being a human. They instilled this in their children, who laboured by themselves to achieve their own success. All of them have thriving businesses. They did not teach their children to relax and inherit their parents’ wealth but to work and earn. The children paid rent when they used their parents’ buildings for offices.

They let their children struggle so that comfort does not come in the way of their future. They were told that their parents' wealth was not theirs. They taught them their responsibility and how they can work their way up, starting small. Although the children were sent to school, unlike their parents, they got challenged working at their family businesses, testing their endurance. Their mother says the pain we feel while working on our life goals and ourselves is the fuel that drives us.

She has so much advice for young people. Climbing the ladder of success is not for the faint-hearted. She says it is vital not to let triumph intoxicate us, forgetting where we came from and the importance of uplifting others. Boasting is a setback that has rushed many to failures. Many she knew in the business arena started well but lost it all because they got comfortable and stopped adding value to their business and the ever-changing market crushed them out.

The family says they have never burdened themselves compared with the competition and what is on the market. But they have focused on discovering new ways of adding value to their business and society’s needs. They put their eggs into several baskets so that they have a backup to stand strong and revive when one fails.

For them, it is never all about business but also about contributing to the larger good of society. Social and national responsibility is engrained in their core beliefs. They get more meaning from sharing what they have than by overspending it on themselves. Indeed, when I looked into the family, what radiated was not their wealth but the impact they were creating.

PUBLISHED ON Aug 06,2022 [ VOL 23 , NO 1162]

Eden Sahle is founder and CEO of Yada Technology Plc. She has studied law with a focus on international economic law. She can be reached at

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