David Strittmatter

Role Modeling

When working out in the gym in Düsseldorf today, I was coincidentally listening to AVICII.

AVICII died on the 1st of Apr 2018 in Maskat, Oman. He committed suicide at the age of 28.

He was a multi-millionaire, loved by his fans and fellow musicians. He could fly around the world, play gigs for tens of thousands of people, and live a life that is difficult to even imagine for a normal human being.

Yet, he couldn’t sustain what life brought upon him.

His whole life he suffered from a severe anxiety disorder. All the traveling and the shows were against his nature.

To live up to his own standards and those of his management, he used drugs to compensate for it.

He could eventually quit and focus on spending time in his studio and with his family despite pressure from his management to continuing to perform live.

Though already too late: Not many months later, he ended his life.

This tragedy reminds me of the importance of having a firm purpose in life.

Life is hard.

Every year about 700 000 people commit suicide because life is too hard for them.

That’s more than the number of people living in Düsseldorf – the city where I’m currently living.

About every 2nd adult in the Western world has not felt true happiness for more than two years.

My heart hurts when I’m contemplating this.

And I feel deeply grateful for having a firm sense of purpose.

Finding purpose is easy but committing and truly believing in it is hard.

I spent hours and hours to reflect and refine my thinking. And it’s a never-ending exercise.

My purpose is to live the happiest life possible. To make every second of life count. To live life to the fullest.

But how to put this into practice?

My current thinking is to be a great role model – not for everyone but for myself.

I strive to be the person I would aspire to be if I were a few years younger.

This person doesn’t care about monumental achievements, grand gestures, titles, or salaries.

This person cares about integrity and living values every day: To think long-term, to be never satisfied but always grateful, to always give 100%, to appreciate the beauty of life, and to experience fun, joy, and pleasure.

Building a hard startup is freaking hard. It’s like a marathon in sprints without assurance to ever finish the race.

A major share of founders suffer from depression and anxiety. Some of them abuse drugs as well.

They jumped into the founder journey without having a strong why and being mentally prepared.

To not only sustain it but to make it a stepping stone towards my purpose to live the happiest life possible, I regularly ask myself what would a great role model do.

For instance:

How to enjoy the highs of the entrepreneurial journey like closing a new customer or signing with a new A-player?

How to reframe anxiety when a key partner decides putting our collaboration on hold?

How to overcome fear of missing out and work through the weekends to deliver on a project?

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