Each Saturday in the FT magazine is this catalogue of questions which is being asked to celebrities: The Inventory. It might be a bit early for me to fill it in, but maybe I could make that a regular every 12 months to see where we are at….until I get a feature in the FT.
Here we go:
1 ) What was your earliest ambition?
I wanted to be a vet but thought I could not stand the blood, besides I was afraid of dogs biting me. So I started a degree in mechanical engineering as it interested me, and business management as this is what I thought I wanted to do.
2 ) Public school or state school? University or straight into work?
Normal state school, 10 months in the navy (compulsory), then University.
3 ) Who is your mentor?
I have several. My dad’s parents always fascinated me with their entrepreneurial spirit. Then people at uni, my mentor in my fraternity, my mentor at the University of Aberdeen. Then big leaders in their field like Tony Robbins or Obama to mention a few.
4 ) How physically fit are you?
I am not. A weak point. Once you have kids you put them first and drink more because you do. I hope that will change now as they both sleep through and I will be able to go back to the gym.
5 ) Ambition or talent: which matters more to success?
Talent is important but ambition is what gets you where you want to be.
6 ) Have you ever taken an IQ test?
Yupp, and I believe it has been quite good.
7 ) How politically committed are you?
I was thinking of joining the conservative party in Germany but move to the UK. Now I am a bystander.
8 ) Do you consider your carbon footprint?
No, but I don’t travel too much at the moment.
9 ) Do you have more than one home?
No, but I would like to have a little cottage in Scotland.
10 ) What would you like to own that you don’t currently possess?
As a Buddhist it is not about possessions. So maybe the gift of being able to improve more lives.
11 ) What is your biggest extravagance?
Our car: we don’t need it but it helps. We don’t drive it a lot but we can afford it. I often consider getting rid of it.
12 ) When are you happiest?
Being with my family, my wife, my two boys.
13 ) What ambition do you still have?
Making a difference in the world and work for the UN or another big charity, helping others. But before that I want to continue my career in media for a good while.
14 ) What drives you on?
Money of course. But less so as you move up the ranks. It is achievement, making differences, getting recognition for things you do. Also to fight setbacks, being able to learn.
15 ) What is your greatest achievement of your life so far?
Besides my family and my career to date I am proud of my personal development. I have been able to uncover myself. Not many people can say that.
16 ) What has been your greatest disappointment?
Maybe that it took so long and still drags on to discover in life what really makes you happy. It disappoints that you cannot do everything 100%, e.g. career and family. Life is always a compromise.
17 ) If your 20-year old self could see you now, what would he think?
I am glad you made it to where you are. I thought you eventually gave up and emigrate to Australia to work on a farm.
18 ) If you lost everything tomorrow, what would you do?
Start again. I am a fighter.
19 ) Do you believe in assisted suicide?
No. As a Buddhist you only kill your life but your soul/spirit lives on. That means you get reborn and have the same suffering/problems you had in this life. If you don’t overcome obstacles in this life, things will be coming up again until you resolve them. In either this life or next.
20 ) Do you believe in an afterlife?
See previous question: yes, I believe in rebirth.
21 ) If you had to rate your satisfaction with your life so far, out of 10, what you score?
7.5 – I have achieved a lot but want to achieve much more. However, Volker is a person that is never happy, so will never achieve a 10. Until I finally figured out what life is all about 🙂