In the Centre of Influence

Albert Einstein wrote of the importance of suppressing egotism and instead have a concern the welfare of other.

Continent Frank Marrenbah


Albert Einstein wrote of the importance of suppressing egotism and instead have a concern the welfare of other. The thoughts of great people are heard but all too often lost in eternal care of «ME» itself, the very thing the Scientist warned against. We cannot be sure that good for «ME» will still have sense when there’s no one around. But the power of creative energy is so strong that it’s definitely enough for more than one person. Frank Marrenbach CEO of Oetker Collection’s world-wide group of highly personal hotels explains.

Germany has had seventy years of peace and I have lived and enjoyed the last fifty.

Born as I was as the post war economic miracle gathered pace, I created wealth for myself and now have the opportunity to share with others. And as I grow older, I discover that trying to be the best one alone is not rewarding. Trying to be the best one with the team and seeing young people also flourishing is possibly the biggest return we can get and it’s what I call life. It’s the essence of it. It’s your own family, the team you are responsible for, it’s business partners. I guess we all work for these real moments when we accomplish something extraordinary. That’s the joy.

I remember the moment of triumph in recent Olympics. Champions go up the pedestal. They made something they might have considered impossible. A great moment. But you look at their faces and you see uncounted hours in empty stadiums beating their own times, dealing with body pain, nobody watching, nobody applauding. It’s your train without audience. And so you have to feel this enormous desire to get somewhere. And this fire, this energy is the essence of ambition.

If we don’t try to be better we were never good enough in the first place. It’s important not to lose this insight when someone becomes more successful. At first, he is young, competitive and wants to achieve something. He achieves. Then a hunger is born and he wants more. If life brings him luck he becomes more successful and close to his own vision of a perfect himself. This is the moment when his own narcissism grows and he starts to believe in his own significance. And this is the first step to become less significant. It seems to be the most difficult thing — to be ambitious, to believe in yourself, to overcome difficulties and still be modest. These two powers like «ing» and «yang» coexist in people and keeping them balanced is hard but very important if a person wants to go on being successful.

I met a lot of people like myself and I always tried to understand why some people are more successful than others. Success for me is not only professional success, life has more than this to offer. You can be successful the way you see it, no need to be famous. Looking at it, there are couple of things that I’ve witnessed. Life-successful people like themselves. Not in a narcissistic way. They are accepting their imperfections. Accepting their imperfections allows them to accept imperfections in other people. My expectations of ideal you and belief in an eternally ideal me doesn’t work neither in business nor in relationships. So we are imperfect and people who accept it are more at ease and at harmony with themselves. This must help them keep their energy and overcome difficulties on their way to dreams and goals. Reality opens differently to them.

Now it’s high time to ask: what do you think of reality? Is it something we should live in or something we should create? I think many people would say: «No, we can’t create it». But I’d say: «Of course we can!» If we don’t then there’s someone who thought about it and created it — better or worse — before us. As a result, we live in a world as it is. No need to be sad or scared — it just means that today we can think of the future reality. Our mind and body are capable of plenty of things. Much more than just satisfy our needs. Why not to use it properly? I learnt it long ago from my school teacher.

I adored the history lessons when I was seventeen Once we read «One Hundred Years of Solitude» by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The writer told that people didn’t have a collective memory therefore repeating mistakes is just a question of time: same wars, same politics, same wrong steps in economics. Everything repeats he wrote. I was so disappointed and told my teacher: «I won’t learn history any more. What’s the gain if it makes no sense. Why would I learn it?!» I was extremely disappointed and angry. The lesson was finished and I was about to leave when the teacher stopped me. «No, Frank. Listen, same happens to me through all of my life. But remember: you are able to affect the world. Your deeds or no deeds will always affect the reality. So, you are responsible of taking a conscious decision what exactly your influence is». Then she told something which seemed to me a metaphoric banality by that time:

«Imagine that you stand on the lake’s shoreline. Throw a stone into the water and look what happens».

«What will happen? I’m 17, I know what will happen! What are you talking about? I’m not throwing stones here, I want to study!»

I was boiling inside. When we are young we think we know almost everything. Older people are just showing how clever they are as if they are not aware of our knowledge.

«Then you might know that stone will cause circles. 1st, 2nd, 3rd. You are a stone. Remember it, Frank».

Of course, she was right. That story repeatedly reminded me of itself. I pushed it away remembering my pain after the Marquez words I recalled every time I remembered that day. But as time passed the story found its way to my heart and mind. Since that moment I never forget — I’m the stone thrown into the water.

— Life-successful people like themselves>.