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  • Robin Lohmann – About me

    My mindset, my principles, my story.

    From an early stage of my life I had the burning ambition to do something creative – something exciting – something special. Right from day one I appreciated the gravity of the creative’s life – a life of continual learning and improving – of advancing one’s thoughts and actions. It soon became clear that the dynamism involved in the effort is the most important thing not only in the creative industry, but in almost everything we do.

    Yet most don’t cultivate creativity. These are the people who don’t know how it can be applied to literally everything in their life.

    Nourish your soul by fulfilling your destiny.

    The quality of your life depends on the quality of the decisions you make.

    After I graduated, I began my journey as an investment banker at a private bank in Frankfurt, Germany. I spent 4 years here, before entering the realm of renewable energy investments for a short period, then ending up in the field of real estate investment.

    I’ll be blunt – my first impression of this sector was it being conservative and boring – as far removed from the creative industry as possible.

    3 years on, my life and experience have shown me that the opposite is true. When I left Europe behind and entered the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) which had opened in early 2004, I set off in the world of branding, selling real estate developments in the Middle East.

    At that point, branding for real estate projects in Dubai was unique. I was among the first to take on this challenge – a challenge that saw me hype up the media and collect several business awards.

    To conquer without risk is to triumph without glory.

    Always question your own assumptions.

    I was ‘in the right place, at the right time’. And combined with the amazing support of my family (something I consider central to my business success), I was flying high.

    Business grew at an exceptional rate – a rate today more comparable to a Silicon Valley tech start-up, than a real estate firm.

    It was a successful business model, with amazing leverage and significant profit to be made. At this point, I was 32. At this still tender age, I was already used to billion-dollar turnover, success and money.

    I, like the rest of the real estate industry, rarely considered market risks or change.

    Riding a wave of success, it’s almost impossible not to feel that it will continue as it has. This was all I knew – I made good money, reinvested even more money into the market, and only diversified a small portion of my capital and profits into different business models.

    Hindsight would later show that this was naïve – that the belief that the market would continue for years to come was a symptom of my success, effectively blindfolding me.

    Then the financial crisis hit

    The financial crisis of 2008/2009 tore through the market like a Tsunami. Along with the industry, my business was also destroyed. Yet even when the crisis had hit the news, I truly believed that the crisis would affect everyone else. Not me. Nor my high-flying life. I was proven wrong, as wrong as I could be. It was the worst financial crisis the world had seen since the Great Depression of 1929. Alongside many, many other investors I lost almost everything – everything I had worked so hard for – day, night, weekends – it all vanished – destroyed almost overnight.

    Then the blame game began.

    Everybody was blaming, accusing and filing cases against everybody – people lost control – nobody wanted to lose. But lose they did, big time.

    Sharing good times is far easier than sharing bad times, especially when vast sums of money are involved. I learned the hard way that the legal time is much different than business time.

    Today, I’m more relaxed and prepared for what business life throws my way. As a creative you will need to weather storms, you may suffer defeat. A fundamental to embrace is to persevere – as all creatives must do if they’re to be successful.

    If you can’t win, change the rules.

    Easy? Not at all. Here’s why…

    Humans are programmed to succeed. The hardest thing we face in life is failing at something – at something we created – something we have thrown ourselves into – poured sweat and tears into. Something we loved doing. Failing can shake the very foundations of your identity.

    Yet I know now that if I don’t fail at anything, I won’t live a full life. If I don’t fail, it will be because I’m living cautiously – treading a path that provides guaranteed outcomes – a path that is safe, dull, predictable. This is a path that avoids what this amazing world offers. This is not the nature of a creative.

    We must do the hardest thing that life has not prepared us for – not at school, not in any job – we must be prepared to fail. To fail is to learn, to expand and to grow.
    You must never slacken in your efforts to build your new life. As you work through the process of failing and learning, you will develop into the human being you were always meant to be.

    All greatness comes from suffering.

    Every moment has to be complete in and of itself.

    Once you work through the process of learning and failing, you’ll begin to see that the world is continually unfolding possibilities and opportunities.

    On the one hand courage is called for to face the unfamiliar. On the other, you must have the wisdom to commit, and stop exploring, once you’ve uncovered something worth sticking around for.

    This is true of places, people, and friends. Balancing those two things – the courage of exploring and the commitment of staying – and getting the ratio right is undoubtedly a challenge. My life experience has proven to me, that what we fear most is doing what we need to do to find inner peace. It is the fear of unknown outcomes that stand in our way. So define the worst case, accept it, and do it. It’s as simple as that.

    The faster you move, the slower time passes, the longer you live.

    All the real benefits in life come from compound interest.

    Creativeness means to push open the heavy door of life, even if it’s the hardest task in the world. Opening the door to your own life is often more difficult than opening the doors to the mysteries of the universe.

    By opening your own door, you vindicate your existence as a human being and make life worth living. No one, believe me, is lonelier or unhappier than the person who does not know the pure joy of creating a life for himself.

    To be human is not merely to stand up and acquire reason and intellect: to be human in the full sense of the word is to lead, in my opinion, a creative life. When you put creativity into everything you do, everything becomes available to you. And when you see this for yourself, you’ll realize that creativity is one of the greatest gifts that we can be born with.

    The day before something is a breakthrough, it’s a crazy idea.

    Become the change you want to see.

    My real learning began at 33. Over the coming 11 years I would endure many bumps in the road, more twists and turns than I care to mention. Yet I wouldn’t tell my 33-year-old anything if I could talk to him today. Because if I hadn’t had the bumps I have, I wouldn’t be me.

    You have one chance here to do amazing things. Being afraid of being wrong, making a mistake or falling down is not how you do something of impact. You must be fearless.

    Nothing in life is to be feared – it is only to be understood.

    You get what you incentivize.

    If you have a clear vision of where you want to go, everything else falls into place far easier. But always, always remember that achieving the extraordinary is never a linear process. Life is about defining your vision of success and getting there in your own signature style.

    When I was growing from a boy to a man, my father said something to me that I knew would stay with me forever. He told me: “Every morning when you watch the face in the mirror while you are shaving, there is no hiding. Can you live with what you are seeing? Because you are the best judge of yourself”. Everything I have ever done has been with that in my mind.

    Use help from allies wherever you may find them.

    I would never have found my way to a creative mindset if it weren’t for the constant support and unconditional love of my family and children – support and love which is deeply reciprocated. This also extends to my friends, among which is one individual who has always encouraged, supported and stood by me – thank you, Khash. And thank you, also, Laura – I am glad, happy and thankful to everyone who has allowed me to be me.