Rihanna’s treasurer’s mismanaging her finances in 2009 inspired her to write a song, titled ‘Bitch Better Have My Money’. In 2022, she became America’s youngest self-made female billionaire, her current net worth estimated at $1,400,000,000. If you’re heading for something like this, Alex Reinhardt, a serial entrepreneur and investor, ranked among the Top 10 most influential people in the crypto world and the Top 100 most influential people in Dubai, has some advice for you. In an exclusive interview with Lara Palmer, World Arabia’s Editor-in-Chief, Alex explains how he manages to maintain motivation and where he finds strength to achieve his goals.
Lara Palmer: Alex, have you ever had to grit your teeth and keep on tracking, so to speak? If so, what helped you avoid giving up?
Alex Reinhardt: Of course, I’ve faced such challenges, as have most people I believe. I was 15 when my parents decided to relocate to Germany, the ancestral homeland of my family. Already learning German at school, I thought I’d adapt easily. However, my linguistic knowledge proving insufficient for the German school I went to, my teacher soon informed me that if I went on at the same pace, I’d be expelled before the end of the school year, implying I’d be no more than a general labourer in the future anyway. Furious with the teacher and the whole wide world, I looked in the mirror, wondering, ‘Is this really happening to me?
To cut a long story short, refusing to throw in the towel, I started learning German all over again. Memorising 300 words every day and striking up conversations with everybody I met, I achieved the required level of language proficiency within six months. Then, came a series of grueling exams - eight subjects in one day, accompanied by the teachers’ rampant prejudice. Nevertheless, having committed practically all the textbooks to memory, survive I did! I stayed at that school, eventually gaining admission to an elite high school, paving my further way to university. The clarity of my goal - to enter a university, learn a profession, build a successful career, or start a business - helped me stay the course.
L.P.: Each of us has an ‘inner critic’, sometimes telling us we are going to fail. When in doubt, what’s to be done?
A.R.: You know a good game-changer would be keeping a diary. Every time your inner critic speaks up, jot down what you hear, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem. And here’s the kicker: use the second person pronoun - instead of ‘I can’t handle this task’ or ‘I won’t make a good manager’ write ‘You can’t get the job done’ and ‘You are no good as a manager’ respectively. Besides, every time you make a comment, ask yourself, ‘What’s next?’ And watch your ‘inner critic’ struggle to find a solid argument. Spoiler Alert: in all likelihood, you will hear nothing of worth. This technique helps me to keep my ‘inner critic’ at a distance, calmly assessing his criticism to finally get rid of any negative feelings about myself.
L.P.: Do you remember working hard for a goal only to fail in the end? How do you cope with your failures?
A.R.: Of course, I’d always dreamt of running my own business, but my first business partners betrayed me by depriving me of my share in our project - an online marketplace for repair services - once it became profitable. I was left outside alone, with a ton of debts, my bank informing me I’d have to pay them back within the next four months or face serious consequences, including social services taking away my children. The situation frightening indeed, I had to do whatever necessary to make things right again. At the outset of that uphill battle, I felt it would be virtually impossible to earn 1,000,000 Euros in such a short time. I feared I might break down and lose my family. Nevertheless, firmly determined to save my family from falling apart and make it to the deadline, I decided to do my best and utmost, sparing no effort – that’s what fueled me to push through. Despite the setback of my failed partnership, I refused to be a failure, focusing on the task at hand instead. Tough as that sprint was, it taught me to go on, keep knocking on doors, and never give up. Now, I know that doing just that, I am capable of anything.
L.P.: What motivates you to move on the most?
A.R.: What ignites my passion and drives me the most is competition, challenging contests especially. Since early childhood, I’ve always loved facing such challenges. I remember making a bet with my father that I’d throw a stone into a garbage can with a little opening from a long distance. After about 40 attempts, we bet approximately 100 Euros on my next throw, and, sure enough, I finally hit the target! I will never forget how excited I felt about my success.
Years later, I found myself in a similar situation. New to the country and unable to speak the local language well, I still wanted to play tennis with a group of locals. I lost all games until someone proposed a wager of 50 Euros on the next one. I wouldn’t have been able to pay off the debt in case I lost again, so I stepped up to the challenge and went all in - the thrill of the challenge giving me a second breath - and beat the best player of the neighborhood!
I believe competition and wagers make us improve ourselves, fueling our drive to succeed. It’s the adrenaline rush, the feeling of being pushed to the limit, and the indescribable sense of accomplishment that keep me moving on.
L.P.: Isn’t it too stressful for you to work so much?
A.R.: I constantly learn and hone my skills and competencies, always seeking new ways to develop myself. It being essential to keep up with the changing times, I simply cannot imagine living without learning. I believe it is crucial to have a specific goal for your life to revolve around, so you could manifest yourself as soon as possible. Some people are afraid of being narrowly focused. In the meanwhile, if one’s achieving a goal brings only fear or doubt, it might just have been a wrongly chosen one. In such cases, I advise people to reevaluate their goals and search for something truly resonating with them.
L.P.: How do you ‘recharge your batteries’, so to speak?
A.R.: One of my favourite and most invigorating rituals is rising early. An early bird catching the worm, as goes the famous proverb, I do believe the early-to-rise routine is a good start of a productive day and a sure path to a positive mindset. I jump out of bed and begin my day with a refreshing workout, a bracing contrast shower to wake up my senses, and a hearty breakfast.
Physical fitness being one of my top priorities, I am in the habit of training my body and mind daily, either in a gym or at home. And that’s not all - a voracious reader, I spend at least 30 minutes every day reading books on self-development from my large library.
To relax and rejuvenate, I prefer taking a stroll. This simple activity is, indeed, an amazing way to ‘recharge your batteries’, refresh your mind, reconnect with yourself, and gain perspective. Leaving my smartphone at home, I immerse in the views and sounds of the wonderful outdoors.
L.P.: So focused on winning big, some people often miss out on simple joys. Your pragmatic approach, however, seems incredibly down-to-earth. How do you ‘ground’ yourself?
A.R.: I feel immense gratitude to life for being blessed with a good fortune, nothing terrible ever happening to me. I mean it. I’ve got many reasons to feel grateful. My loved ones are alive and healthy, and I’ve never had to go hungry or live in the streets. Even though once, I could have ended up there, in the end, I did not. Now, I live in Dubai, one of the most high-energy and challenging places on earth, where I’ve just been announced as one of the top 100 most influential individuals. Difficulties may certainly come my way again, but I am sure of my capabilities to handle them.
I do believe even a most crushing defeat can be turned into the brightest victory. If something doesn’t work out for me, I simply try again and again until I succeed. There’s nothing stopping me from achieving my goals now. I will continue working hard until I reach them. And let me tell you - I always do now and will in the future!