31.03.2020 HARALD SEIZ
From the bottom to the top: The Harald Seiz Story
As the head of a global technology and gold group, Harald Seiz knows a thing or two about the secret success. But nothing defines him better than his own motto: "You have to burn yourself to kindle the fire in others". It has been a long way from the very bottom to the very top. Harald Seiz remembers in his book "Think Big". Here are some highlights from his early story, in his own words.
From visionary to millionaire – an unbelievable rise
At the beginning of every successful career, is a vision. A dream and a plan of how to create your life. Like a captain guiding his ship to its port through both quiet and volatile waters. With his sights set to the stars in the sky and his intuition as a compass.
When I first gazed into the future, I saw only an endless expanse. But even in this great vastness, the first benchmarks came into focus that would later become the cornerstones of my career. My "stars" were as different as they were authentic.
Burning yourself for others
Dr. Martin Luther King inspired me with his famous statement, "I have a dream," with unbridled rhetorical power and his revolutionary drive for a better world for his people. He dared to talk openly about things that others hadn't allowed themselves to think. He put himself at the vanguard of a movement and stayed true to his dream – right up to the bitter end.
Full of conviction, he fought for what he believed. He set tremendous societal forces in motion, becoming immortalized in the hearts of many. Like virtually no other, he is an enduring example of how far one can go when one fully invested with heart and soul.
He put his mark on a country that I enjoy touring today. Despite all the criticism that you hear in the current Trump atmosphere, I am a big fan of the American way. The country lives the spirit of freedom and independence. I have always enjoyed being in the USA and exploring its far corners and meeting new people.
My second King
My second big idol is also an American. Elvis Presley, the "King of Rock'n'Roll," with his unbelievably incredible voice. He showed me how dreams could come true with passion and a commanding presence. The conditions that he grew up in were anything but easy, and his childhood was not anywhere close to what you'd call carefree.
His twin brother died during birth and his parents worked on a farm and in a factory with very modest means. Although there was not much money for recreational activities, the family made the best of the little they had for young Elvis.
The small town he grew up in Mississippi was called Tupelo. The technical advances of the time had not yet reached this area of the world. Almost no one in Tupelo owned a radio, let alone a television. Instead, the Presley house was the epicenter of entertainment in the neighborhood. They were so creative that there was sure to be a good time at the Presley's with their gospel choir. With little Elvis in the middle of it all, his powerful voice soon became the main attraction in the little town, and later in all of the United States.
My tough upbringing in Germany
Like Elvis, I also grew up in modest circumstances. Born in Stuttgart, Germany, in 1963, I had to bid farewell to my father at the age of three, when he decided to return to his hometown in Greece. Although I had my mother and grandmother at my side, I had to learn to stand on my own two feet at an early age. This difficult family situation meant it was not an easy time for me.
In these days of patchwork families and open marital partnerships, it's hard to believe how different family life was in a West German province in the 1960s. Patterned wallpaper, furniture that one could only find in a retro shop today, and rigid definitions of how a "good" family behaved – were all characteristics of the time.
Over and over again I sensed the skepticism
In the 1960s, a single mother was not at all common. On the contrary, they were regarded quite critically. Their lifestyle was always standing trial. Over and over again, I sensed the skepticism that my family was greeted with. As little as I was, I could sense the looks of the neighbors and noticed their questions: Where is the husband? Why did he leave his wife? How can a mother take care of her son alone and also go to work without neglecting him?
If I learned anything from that time, it was that one should never allow oneself to depend on the opinions of others. Regardless of how stifling or oppressive the majority opinion might be, or how massive the social peer pressures are: you have to stay true to yourself.
From small acorns...
Who would have believed that the little boy from the small town Weil, the child of an immigrant without a father figure, would someday be running a company worth millions? No one! And yet I managed to accomplish this against all the odds. Because I went my own way – I ignored the advice and the reproach of others. And this path has lead me to become the successful entrepreneur that I am today.
There were plenty of obstacles and hurdles along the way – personally and professionally, from a very early age. I had to learn quickly to be completely self-reliant.
My mother and my grandmother worked in a nearby factory to make ends meet. They saved every penny and didn't waste anything. Their work on the assembly line didn't allow them much time to look after me, so they sent me to a daycare center in a small, sedate little town nearby. Every weekday we took the first train at 5:30 am. While most other kids were still sleeping, deep in their dreams, I was ready to step out of the door.
But I was happy and full of energy. I wanted to go out and discover the world and gather more experience. This was a curiosity that I still have today, and which always leads me to new shores.
Tough times at school
This curiosity would find a new source of nourishment when I started school at the age of six. I expected a lot from school, wanted to learn new things. But it was an uphill battle. It all started when I realized after a few days that I couldn't read the letters of the alphabet correctly on the blackboard.
They blurred into an illegible white mass against a green backdrop. From then on and after a short visit to an optician, it became clear: I needed glasses. But I didn't get the usual ones. No, I had to wear huge, chunky, black, thick-rimmed glasses. They made me shrink in comparison. And before I knew it, I was the class "four-eyes." It started when I was on the way to school. The other kids would start taunting, "four-eyes, four-eyes!"
No one wanted to play with me. Once, when I asked a kid in my class if he wanted to play, he said, "First learn to look where you're going." The taunting carried on in the playground and in the classroom. At first, the teacher tried to defend me from the tormenting. But as soon as she turned her back on the class, or wasn't nearby, they carried on with the "four-eyes, four-eyes!" Children can be so cruel. My situation in school was not enviable.
Always problems at home
You might say: "At least the boy could gather strength from within the bosom of the family." And to a certain extent, that was true. At the same time, however, there were problems waiting for me at home that I had to come to terms with very early on.
Even as a young boy, I noticed that there was something funny about my mother and grandmother. One day they would be in ecstatic high-spirits, without any apparent reason, at least that I could see. The next day they would be worn out, lying in bed, tired and "hungover."
On those days, it was impossible even to get them to get up. At first, I could think of no explanation for their mood swings. I was just too young for these things.
From the bottom right to the top: The story of Harald Seiz sounds like a blockbuster Hollywood movie. Harald Seiz grew up with his mother and grandmother near Stuttgart in impoverished conditions. Both struggled with alcohol problems, so Seiz had to learn from early on to stand on his own two feet. From a beverage supplier to a vacuum cleaner salesman, he went through numerous professions and—despite harsh setbacks—always adhered to his dream of success and independence.
In 2011 Seiz laid the foundation stone for his company Karatbars International GmbH. The goal was for every human being to be able to own gold. What was once a one-man show is now a worldwide empire of companies that generates an annual turnover of more than 100 million euros.
But Harald Seiz has even bigger goals: A gold-based means of payment, which is crisis-proof and will revolutionize our financial system. His mission was initially just laughed at. Today he is the market leader for innovative Gold products. And yet Seiz still sees himself at the beginning; a payment system based on gold, gold mines, and the establishment of a bank are only a few of the building blocks which he wants to lay in order to get all the way to the top.
Think Big—a book that encourages you to live your dream. And that reveals the recipes for success in achieving your aims.