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800-year-old influencers

LIQUI MOLY Managing Director Ernst Prost on passion and success

Good morning, dear colleagues!

It is the old and noble likenesses that whisper to me every night what life is really all about. But my ‘influencers’ are not the numerous inhabitants of this castle, the diverse and changing owners through the ages, to whom I also belong. No, they are the original builders who, all of 800 years ago, rode into the castle hall to escape from enemies. Where today my Easy Rider Harley-Davidson stands together with my computer – isn’t that amazing? It is the richly bubbling inspiration within these old walls that drives me, not only in these days and nights, with a constant stream of new ideas through crises and disasters – but also on the road to success. Here at Castle Leipheim, people loved, celebrated, laughed, cried and, of course, also died. And have been doing so for hundreds of years … In any case, I must turn 102, because then this castle, as it stands today, will celebrate its 500th anniversary. That will be a splendid double jubilee – my 102 years with the castle’s 500.

I enjoy living and working in this old, historic castle, which whispers secrets to me every night. I like to let myself be carried away by the inspiration I feel in this place. In the book by Erich Broy, I read about people who obsessively threw themselves into their work and toiled on their tasks until they were exhausted, until everything was a 100% fit and was simply perfect. I admire that sort of thing. That is perfectionism, that is fervor, that is passion – and passion is timeless.

However, I only take all the trappings in life seriously to a limited extent. I do take my tasks very seriously, but definitely not my own importance. The cemeteries are full of formerly important, powerful and also rich people. Such is the transience of fate that puts an end to all life. So why upset about it? Why accumulate wealth just for the sake of wealth? The epitaph “Here lies the richest man in the whole cemetery” is not all that satisfying. The path from the laurel wreath on your head to the funeral wreath on your coffin – that is, the life span in between – is so short. Carpe diem, as the ancient Romans said. Seize the day. But with what? I like to work, and work also plays a big role in my life. But I am much more of an artist and much less of a manager.

Formulating organizational rules has never been my forte. Rather, developing visions, deriving missions from them, and realizing them with a strong team to achieve 200%. But, of course, I also like to hang around on some islands between as many animals as possible during my holidays, and for three weeks I have nothing else on than a cap on my head. Both are part of life: Exertion and relaxation. Still, I’m addicted to the stuff. No, not to the motor oil, the additives and certainly not to money, but as a hankering for new things and variety, for movement, for creation, for meaningful shaping and building, for implementing ideas, for working day and night, for success and perfection, and for ever new challenges. In search of excellence … Sometimes it is like the rush of intoxication – but a healthy one. Or like Monopoly with real money. The main thing is that one’s play instinct is satisfied and, to a certain extent as a byproduct, good deeds are done with purpose and benefit for other people. In the meantime, I can allow myself the luxury of not doing anything I have to, but only doing what I enjoy. Working, for example. Everything I do is enjoyment for me – but then I also only do what I enjoy.

I hope that you too will enjoy what you are doing and I look forward to a wonderful new week with you and all our business friends.

Incidentally: You gave me this knight’s armor as a present for my 50th birthday in 2007. Tempus fugit … Time flies. Let’s make the most of it!

Best regards,

Ernst Prost

Great Britain