Read in June ’15

The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair by Joel Dicker

I read this while visiting my parents after my younger brother recommended it to me (we have very similar taste). What can I say except I finished the >700 pages in 24h. It is thrilling, the story keeps changing and developing, it engaged me to think about moral issues and entertained me all the way through.

The Client: A Novel by John Grisham

This is an absolute classic for me and I recently picked it up again. The fictional story of brave 11-years old Marc fighting not only the Mafia but also the american government while trying to protect his mother and younger breaks my heart every time. My edition is quite tattered by now as I’ve personally read it at least 5 times and both my siblings also grabbed it at some point.

Tough Mudder 2015

I initially set out to run a Tough Mudder in November when a good friend of mine asked me whether I wanted to do it with her. At that time I was horribly unathletic but had just started to go to the gym regularly and thought that this might be easier if I was training towards a target so I agreed, unknowing of what that would mean.

Together, we went to the gym regularly and started Tabata training, led by an incredible trainer that would continuously push us to our limits which quickly resulted in first improvements (and me being unable to wash my hair properly for several weeks as I just couldn’t move my arms high enough anymore).

In addition, I started running in the forests around Vallendar, beginning with 4km and slowly increasing to 12km at the end.

When the big weekend came, I was an intern at Deloitte Digital in Munich so on Friday afternoon I got in my car, drove to Erlangen where I picked up her little sister who had decided to join our team. We continued to Bonn to pick her up and then onwards to Arnsberg where we would start the next day at 10am. As always, things didn’t go according to plan as we needed 9h instead of the planned 7h and when we arrived at our hotel at 1am we were unable to find the entrance (we had to pick up the key at a partner hotel half an hour away and were the only guests at ours, therefore they didn’t see the need to have a night portier). After an hour of frenetic search and almost giving up, deciding to sleep in the car we got lucky and finally found a door that matched our keys.

After 4 1/2h of sleep we got up, had some breakfast and then drove to the event location where many pumped up Mudders were already swarming the place. When it was our cohorts turn, we warmed up and then went to the start area. To get there, we had to climb a 2m high wooden wall and as I just reached the top an overly ambitious Mudder pushed me, resulting in me falling onto my hands, leading to some pain in my right wrist for the first kilometers. After taking the obligatory oath we went our ways.

The tough mudder is a challenge, not a race. I put teamwork and camaraderie before my course time. I do not whine, kids whine. I help my fellow mudders complete the course. And I overcome all my fears.

The run itself was a little over 18km, sporting 19 obstacles including the all-time favorites Arctic Enegma 2.0, Birth Canal, Berlin Wall and the obligatory Electroshock Therapy we arrived with a few scratches and covered in dirt at the finish line. We managed to overcome every obstacle except for the Funky Monkey 2.0 where all three of us landed in the water after the first few bars. The atmosphere was festival-like with everyone enjoying the challenge and reminded me a lot of a very relaxed festival.

Overall, it was an awesome experience and I am proud of what we achieved as a team. Therefore, I quite certain that this was not my last Tough Mudder.


7 Habits From Navy SEALs

I recently stumbled upon this article in Business Insider  “7 Habits from Navy SEALs that will make you more successful” and really liked it. I believe that these habits not only make you more successful, they lead to better relationships with others, lead to more interesting conversations and are therefore principles to live by.

So here are the 7 habits in the short form:

  1. Be loyal.
  2. Put others before yourself.
  3. Be reflective.
  4. Be obsessively organized.
  5. Assume you don’t know enough.
  6. Be detail-oriented.
  7. Never get comfortable.

When looking at these 7 routines I realize that I still have a lot of room for improvement, especially when it comes to organization and detail-orientation. However, I believe that I could do much worse for the first three so I believe I am on a good track and hope that I’ ll continue to get better at the others.

WHU scholarship

Four weeks ago I applied for the “Student Commitment Scholarship” at WHU. This scholarship is for students who are involved in one or more of the following areas:

  • Engagement for the student body in general
  • Engagement for a student initiative in a responsible position
  • Engagement outside of the university with a charitable background

I was required to write a 2 page motivation letter (which, thanks to the revisions of several friends looked quite good in the end) and provide sufficient proof of my engagement. In my letter I referenced among others my work to accommodate new students, my engagement as head of finance for WHU First Responder e.V. and my job as fundraiser for NPOs like WWF, Malteser and SOS Kinderdörfer. Fortunately, I was provided by very nice reference letters by the First Responders, the DLRG and talk2move.

Today, I am incredibly happy to report that I am one of the scholars receiving a significant remission of the tuition fee 🙂 .

Building a Speaker – first attempt: fail

After the shopping was done, I started out together with Philip (a friend of mine) to build the speaker. We initially hat some problems soldering the different parts onto the circuit board as we had never done this before but quickly developed a working routine. It took us two evenings to put everything together and then we plugged in my iPhone, hoping things would magically work. But they didn’t. Our first thought was that we did something wrong with the energy or sound wiring so we thoroughly checked that but couldn’ t discover any mistakes. After 45 minutes of staring at the finished speaker without a clue what went wrong, I discovered the mistake. I had inverted the numbering of the sides of the plate and therefore everything was exactly opposite of where it should be.

Lesson learned: A good preparation in the beginning of a project will save you tons of frustration and anger in the end.

Next step: Go back to the electronic stores, buy all the tiny appliances again and give it another shot.

Motorboat and Sailing license

As I wrote here, one of my goals is to do my motorboat and sailing licenses. In Germany there are a multitude of different options for this ranging from inland waters only to full captain’s patents. I choose to go for the inland water license as this is most likely the one I really need. After some internal discussions, my whole family decided to participate and my father, my brother and I set the ambitious goal to do the license in just little over 3 weeks. We settled on the Segelschule Hering, a nice and well located school in Berlin. So for the last few weeks I spent a lot of time out on the water (25h of practical training are necessary) and we all went to the theoretical instructions which lasted a full weekend. Yesterday we had the theoretical exam which is set to last 1h but it took everyone at most 15 minutes to complete. We all passed and the next morning we were at the Nikolassee to do the practical exam both for motorboat and sailing. We started out with a knot exam, showing off 7 different knots that were rather easy to remember once you got the hang of them. As there was a little wind and the prediction was that it would tune down later, we then directly proceeded to our sailing boats and got out on the lake. One boat after the other was examined and although I made a little mistake ( I jibed when I really should have gone straight), I passed and so did my dad and my brother. We then continued with the motorboat exam which consisted of doing a man overboard manoeuvre  and landing the boat. Fortunately, we all passed this part as well and therefore are now allowed to steer both types of boats.

Building a speaker

A few days ago I got really interested in the maker movement so after reading a few initial posts on it like the history as well as some great resources on actual projects like Make: Projects and Instructables I decided to jump right into it and make my first own project: A speaker. To be more specific: A MonoBox. This is a project very well described over here so I made a little shopping list, went to two electronic shops to buy all the parts and will now start to assemble them. If I don’t get carried away too much I will try to take some pictures of the different stages so in the end I can see where I went wrong ;-).

Speaker parts

Speaker parts

Hunting License Part III

I did it!!

After two training days on the 24th and 25th I finally passed my shooting test yesterday! The training itself went really well after some initial warm up problems. When shooting the final round at each category, I took down 13 out of 15 doves, hit 10, 10, 9, 8 and 5 points at the boar and hit perfect score (50 out of 50 points) at the deer stand. Therefore, I was rather relaxed when I arrived at the shooting range Saturday morning 8am. Together with another student I was greeted by a total of 12 testers. The atmosphere was very relaxed and I started out at the deer stand shooting 37 points (I was rather shaky… you know the feeling ;-). After that I continued to the boar and needed 3 shots to pass as the first one was too low. Finally, we continued to shoot skeet where I had my five pigeons down after six shots. After a little speech I was handed my test certificate and am now incredibly happy!

2014-05-09 11.30.12

This also marks the completion of my first goal – pass the hunting license :-).

Flow – they have it.

A friend of mine, Christian, sent me this video about a year ago. I totally forgot about it until this morning when I was trying to find it again but was unable to remember the title or anything so I wrote him. Our conversation went sort of like this:

Me: “Dude. Remember you showed me that video of a couple dancing swing once?”

Him: “Man – you have any idea how many dancing videos I have seen and shown to other people?” (fyi  – he was a dancing instructor)

Me: “She was blond and the guy was wearing a hat.”

Him: “Hold on. I got it.”

So thanks to him here you have it. In this video Maxence and Tatiana show an incredible amount of what I’ d like to call “flow”. They harmonize perfectly and you can almost see the spark between them. There is a dynamic between them that I truly admire.