My relationship with cars didn't necessarily begin with the greatest enthusiasm at a young age. When we were finally able to afford a car in the family, it was a much greater source of pride for my father than for me. Admittedly, I was pleased, but I couldn't see the advantage at first. Instead, I felt the disadvantages all the more, for example this sentence from my father:
"We'd have to wash the car again!"
Interestingly, it was always "we," but meant me, of course. So my "car life" began with the feeling that you always have a lot of work with it. And I don't have the fondest memories of the 10-hour vacation trips either.
Things got more interesting when I got my first car quartet game. We naturally gravitated towards certain brands and had favorites with corresponding horsepower numbers. Suddenly, the cars with the highest chances of winning the game became important. It's interesting to see what kind of imprints were created even back then! For example, the Jaguar brand was very important in the quartet, and to this day the name creates a very specific feeling in me.
Then, when television and cinema became more important in my teenage life, suggestions about which cars were particularly great and which weren't also came from there. As teenagers, we naturally liked cars that embodied a certain lifestyle. The car dreams we had as schoolchildren and young students were essentially shaped by appearance.
So a lot of my life, whether it was my job or even my first house, had a lot to do with the view from the outside - the facade. It took me quite a while to learn that it hardly matters what something is like from the outside, but what is inside.
A nice anecdote: I once wanted to buy a Porsche 911. So I enter the dealer's showroom and try to sit comfortably inside, but it doesn't work. I'm just too big for this car! Says the salesman, "Well, you'll just have to jerk back and forth a little and slide down a bit." I thought that was crazy, spending 150,000 just to jerk back and forth and slide down a bit to fit in.
Such cars were then ruled out for me, it just did not fit. In particular, a disc operation helped me to pay more consistent attention to my seating position. But that doesn't mean that I was then completely free from being impressed by the outside. On the way from the outside to the inside, I bought (at that time still in Bern) two cars, with which I was already on the way to a relative understatement - but as you can clearly see from my "Mack" pose, I was still very much caught up in the outside effect.
By the way, the photo was taken at that time on a meadow, near which I happen to live today. But a lot has changed in the meantime. My focus has almost completely swung from the outside to designing from within, both in business and in my private life.
And you can see this change in my cars today: One is a Mini Clubman, ideal on the narrow streets and small parking lots here in Switzerland. Again and again, fellow drivers say "Boah, it's got a lot more room inside than you'd think from the outside!" Yes, hard to believe: I didn't choose the car that would win in the quartet, but the one in which I can sit comfortably and freely and have all-round visibility.
When I was looking for a car, I had even looked at a Bentley, but at the garage I was told, "You always have to connect power, otherwise the battery runs out pretty quickly." That reminded me of my Mercedes E55 from Bern, where the battery often ran out faster than the gas tank. It was mostly parked in the Bellevue hotel garage in Bern, without power, and always needed service when I came into town in Bern.
When I still had my office in the Lüneburg Heath, I ordered an Alexander Technique teacher to come to us so that we could all learn to sit reasonably correctly to maintain energy flow and health. I saw him arrive in an old VW Beetle. At first I thought, "oh well, a classic helper, he just doesn't earn that much and can't afford a bigger car." But he enlightened me and said it was really the only car you could sit in properly like a chair. This story stuck with me over the years, and after my odyssey through various luxury cars, I actually ended up with a Beetle now.
Now I enjoy sitting comfortably and freely and healthily and straight in it, don't have to wrap a towel around my neck (an orthopedist once advised me to do this because he said you can't sit healthily in most modern cars - you always unconsciously pull your head down and let your shoulders slump, which leads to severe tension) and feel good with an all-round view. And I don't care whether other people worry that Sonnenburg can no longer afford a big car.
The really important is free
I tell all this not because I get commissions from car companies, but because this question keeps bothering me: Isn't it interesting how much people emphasize appearance: Of cars, or apartments, houses, or even relationships? One is focused on what impression the exterior makes on others, and in exchange is happily willing to ruin one's own health - physical or mental!
It took me decades to realize that the right car is not the one that gets the most astonished looks from the outside world, but the one in which I can sit best with my body, my figure, my measurements, and in which my billion cells feel most comfortable. And it took me decades to realize that the beach and the sun are free, so you don't have to go to a luxury hotel.
It is not easy to penetrate our ingrained, whipped-in view of the outside, learned over often many years. But I guarantee you: If you manage to look at what's really, really important, your life will turn 180 degrees - it's like opening a convertible top you never knew you had in the first place.