To Find Inspiration, Look to the Most Personal

Jan 3 , 2021
By Eden Sahle

Five years ago, I met James and his family in Paris, near the Eiffel Tower. We were both taking pictures when he came to where I was standing and introduced himself. We chatted a bit before he took me to where his family was hanging out. His parents and his younger sister welcomed me with kindness.

From buying me gifts to paying for our trip expenses to including me into family pictures, we became very close. I was invited to their breakfast and dinner events and a trip to other towns in France. The country’s stunning architecture was heart-warming, and the same was true for the affection the parents showed for one another.

They had been married for nearly three decades. They still acted as if they had just met one another. In an era when people and friends are too easily replaced, where strong personal bonds are considered cheesy, they remained my greatest inspiration.

There was more to relationships — plutonic or otherwise — than an exchange of favours. Quid pro quos in the form of money or status, where care and affection are attached to objects, fade away with time — relationships anchored in genuine understanding and empathy for one another last longer.

This fleeting nature of conditional relationships is usually something people can only discover as time goes by, where they are growing apart as the going gets tough.

James and his family were a tight-knit group that prioritised unconditional love, where both felt accepted unconditionally without additional expectations. Over the years, they learned how to deeply appreciate one another, despite flaws, mistakes and misunderstandings. They were not impressing others but enjoying each other’s company.

It has since been five years since we last saw each other in person. But we kept in touch virtually. We planned to get together and kept counting the days. But sad news came last week. I received a call from James that broke the bad news. His father had a heart attack and suddenly passed away. Before the family could properly grieve, the wife also died just weeks later.

“She cannot live without him, and I am no longer sad, because they are reunited,” James said, as I was speechless in disbelief.

His statement took me back to the first time I met them. They were inseparable not just in life but in death as well. In a world of cynicism, it was inspiring to have known such individuals. As I grieved their passing, it astonished me how much their pleasant memory filled my heart and mind with comfort.

At a time when intolerance rules, and sometimes utter brutality, such stories could inspire us to do better, treat others with more sympathy. This is not a lecture on Western values. Indeed, France, their home country, is itself facing its demons, with police brutality and perceived Islamophobia.

But triumph is often found in personal achievements, especially toward one another. Our life in any capacity can inspire or break others. We have it in our nature to be emotionally mature and help others. When we are finally gone, we would have inspired many and left the world with something that can be emulated.

We do not need to be famous political figures to make a mark in the world. There is strength in numbers; thus if enough people in the world are true to themselves, we would leave this a better world than we found it.

PUBLISHED ON Jan 03,2021 [ VOL 21 , NO 1079]

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

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

Put your comments here

N.B: A submit button will appear once you fill out all the required fields.

Editors' Pick


Fortune news