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Embrace Change at TEDxWHU 2021

“Failure is part of success and the best opportunity to find out how much we really want something.”

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How do we succeed in evaluating change or even failure in a positive way? For the seventh time, students of WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management organized the TEDxWHU conference on January 30. 94 participants from across Germany followed the virtual event, which was this year titled "Embrace Change." Among others, best-selling author Greta Silver, adventurer and extreme athlete Hein Wagner, and professional soccer player Tony Mamodaly presented their perspective on change and transformation.

Greta Silver - The perks of getting older

Living from the age of 30 to 60 takes the same amount of time as from 60 to 90 - exactly 30 years. This is the message of Greta Silver, who is best known throughout Germany for her books "Wie Brausepulver auf der Zunge" and "Alt genug, um mich jung zu fühlen." At the age of 60, the now 72-year-old began modelling, and at the age of 66, she launched her YouTube channel. In her TEDxWHU talk, she encouraged people to appreciate getting older and to acknowledge its benefits. Retirement provides you with the same "life package" all over again, except this time without all the stress and job worries. "This is the time to realize the dreams we didn't have time for when we were younger," Silver says. Instead, many at her age would stop dreaming as soon as they get a walker. Silver's mindset, however, is different: “We are responsible for our happiness,” she says. And it is never too late to make your goals and dreams come true.

Tony Mamodaly - Failure as a success factor

Tony Mamodaly learned early on how important it is to work hard and never lose sight of your goals. As a former professional soccer player, he now works as Head of International Operations at the TSG Hoffenheim soccer club and is the owner of a sports agency. The road to that position, however, was arduous. Mamodaly describes it as "four years of failure." After his contract with Dynamo Dresden had not been renewed and he could not find employment at another club despite outstanding performances, the then 21-year-old was faced with one of the most difficult decisions of his life: should he give up professional sports or keep fighting? Tony chose the latter and, after countless setbacks, received a full scholarship at a university in the U.S. where he was able to study while playing soccer. "Where there's a will, there's a way," he says. Over time, he has learned that failure and success are not opposites; rather, failure is part of success. It is the best opportunity to find out how committed you are to achieving a goal. His recipe for success is therefore: don't be afraid and just keep going.

Hein Wagner - How a change of perspective can change a life

In his TEDxWHU talk, Hein Wagner presented another dimension of change. As an extreme athlete who has finished an Ironman and run a marathon in the Arctic, he is not afraid of failure, even if he has every reason to be. What makes Wagner unique is that he has been blind since birth. In his talk, he recalled how he learned of the rarity of his diagnosis as a child. Only one in 80,000 children is born with the retinal disorder that took Wagner's sight. For Wagner, there were two ways to deal with the diagnosis: Either lose hope or see it as a chance. The choice fell on the latter. Changing his perspective, seeing his blindness as a differentiating factor, was what helped Wagner to achieve the success he now enjoys. Today, as a blind adventurer and extreme athlete, he inspires thousands with his story and helps them to regard obstacles as opportunities.