This Letter of Inspiration covers strong topics such as power, money, and betrayal. What may sound like the beginning of a James Bond movie is a rather poetic and philosophical take on these classic images. I hope you enjoy reading it.

The power of money

Have you ever tried to get through a whole day without spending any money? No coffee-to-go on the way to the office, no tram or Uber to your appointment, and you can't park your car in the multi-storey car park. The lunch appointment turns into a walk, you eat sandwiches you've brought with you, you can forget about your afternoon tennis lesson, and unfortunately you have to pass on a spontaneous dinner with friends at the new trendy restaurant. How does that feel? I recently tried it out for myself. Initially, I found it oppressive, constricting and that it made me socially excluded. As I got into it, however, I discovered the liberating aspect of not having to (or being able to) make everything possible. Saying no without feeling guilty, simply because you’re not spending any money and therefore have no options. And, crucially: it gives you more time. One question remains: Does money have power over us or our desire to belong?

Thinking another way around: if money doesn't play a role (because it's there), does it even make things more complicated? Because it suddenly opens up other questions. Just a few examples... Should I go to this dinner, after all an ambassador is coming, or the boss, or even the Federal Chancellor? It would be good to be seen or to keep in touch, wouldn't it? Or you need a new car and the fan of options opens up: sporty or elegant, SUV or coupé? Flashy or discreet? Petrol or electric? Does money perhaps also come with a certain complexity and the responsibility of sharing your life? Whether it's with the public, friends or business partners, you may be generous. However, this includes not only your own money, but also your own time. Financial commitments also involve visibility. If you compare this to the one-day "zero-spending" experiment, the opposite becomes apparent, the complexity is gone and the extra time is secured for yourself. This knowledge is of course useful, especially if you are about to finalise a project or want to write your book. Zero-spending helps your own focus and simplifies life immensely.

Let's leave the extreme and go away from zero. Where is the balance when everything is possible? How much belonging or visibility is needed and how much solitude is fruitful? By choosing my meetings, I decide what or who is important to me. By choosing where I go, I decide the context in which I want to be seen. What I consume, intellectually or literally, shows who I am. For me, this answers the question of what has power over me: The more I am myself, the more power is in my hands.

What has inspired me recently? Betrayal.

Probably not the topic you normally read or write about. And yet many managers are confronted with cases that lead to mistrust or loss of trust. What to do in a moment of fraud? Is it even possible to trust these people again and continue to work with them?
The controversial Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson has answered this very question with Dante Alighieri's Inferno, the first part of his legendary poem The Divine Comedy. The picture that Dante paints of hell is probably the best known and most widely used. At the lowest point, at the bottom of hell, sits the devil. Now watch out, Dante has placed the impostors just one rank above him! Almost one with the devil. The difficulty of the question of whether we can forgive cheating is self-evident and is perhaps linked to the question of whether we are prepared to take the risk of burning our fingers again. We tend to see the good in people. But a cheater, on the other hand, needs time to see the good in themselves again. It is a long way to work your way back up from almost the lowest point of hell. And certainly not an easy one.