Marcel Gasser: “My Mission is to Combine the Business and Spiritual World”
What do you do today?
Today, as a businessperson, I help startups achieve their dreams. I built up a few companies but I left my own businesses in 2015. Since then, I have been helping others. I sometimes say that I switched from Service to Self (STS) to Service to Others (STO). I feel like my mission is to combine business and the spiritual world. This also resonates with the .Cocoon program (.Contriber program for startup founders) because I can see the benefits of combining the mind and heart. Many successful entrepreneurs are proof that you need to have both. However, in the traditional business world, we tend to use only the mind.
Besides helping others I have two projects. These are co-living communities. In the past, we shared apartments together but in the future, we share villages. We want to build 25 of those villages around the world and link them with each other. You can buy a bedroom but it can be in any village – you can move around and partly own one part of those 25 communities.
Secondly, I am working on the documentary “The Secrets of Being an Entrepreneur”. I think the key factors are the same as I said before – the mind and the heart. I believe that the most successful business people today can combine both and I want to do a documentary about this. In the past 4 years, I have spoken with many entrepreneurs and tried to find the patterns.
I really enjoy this process of understanding minds in the business and spiritual perspective. I am also very happy that I can travel 10 months of the year. I have been a nomad since 2015. Actually, I never said that I wanted to be a nomad – I just ended up like this. I am always so excited but it would also be nice to rest sometimes. Therefore, when I feel like I need to rest I can go back to Switzerland. Nevertheless, the rest of the time I can work with amazing people all over Europe, also from Asia.
I think I cannot complain about anything in my life right now. I know how fortunate I am to be in this position to help others. Because I built up my own businesses, I have a constant income and I can work, although I would not call it work. I can do what I want, regardless of the money. That is actually the luxury of life if you don’t have to run behind the money and can use this financial independence that gives you time and you can choose where you are going to invest that time for free. With startups, I can work for free or I can work on some ideas myself.
How did you get there?
The funny thing is – there are no coincidences in life. The most significant part for me was when I had a tumor in my head in 2014 and I was very frightened for two days. Will I survive? How will I survive? After two days, I even told my parents that this is the best that that could have happened. Therefore, before I had the treatments and solutions for the tumor I realized that this will be an amazing life-changing event. I didn’t run away. After two days, I understood how beneficial such an experience could be for me. I would also say that I was prepared. To be honest I knew nothing, but the only thing I had was the trust that I will find a solution and it will be a positive solution. Even if it seems dark and bad, it is going to be positive. I shifted my life with this – it changed completely.
I learned a lot. I was running around for my healing journey. I went to Tibet. I didn’t want to use chemicals and used herbs for my healing. I learned so much in this process. I was fortunate to meet the right people. There are no coincidences – I kept meeting different people.
How I got there – you have to have trust. So simple. Many people say they want to flow through life. Yes, you are flowing, but if you don’t have trust in yourself and the universe it will not happen. It’s like when you go to a restaurant and you trust that you will get food served. You don’t have to do anything. You just need to trust that you will get the food. I think life serves the same – it will serve everything you need.
Another thing is not forcing it. I tended to force everything. Before the tumor I had four companies, I did an MBA, I was very successful. Then I burned out, was unhappy. So the more you force things, the more difficult it gets. It’s because you create resistance. It happens naturally. Even if I fly on a plane very fast, there is still a lot of resistance. I need a lot of energy to fly fast. If you don’t have the resistance then you just float. It takes a little bit more but I would say it is much more efficient.
Another thing that I really believe is that everything non-achieving or non-forcing comes from spirit. When you switch to “I’ll go wherever it carries me”, it is very spiritual and you have all the support. It might be difficult to understand but life is actually very simple. I didn’t have a big goal to become what I am now; it was just very organic trusting and flowing. I am so excited! I don’t even know what will happen after a few months. I never know.
Why do you do what you do today?
I already gave some hints. To be honest it is really this STO – Service to Others. It’s not my rational mind, it’s my heart talking. I really care about people and nature. I think I care so much for other beings because I discovered myself in this process of healing and leaving my business, taking off some masks.
Another big motivation is to inspire others. If you have a diagnosis of a tumor - it’s not the end. Even if it is the end, it’s still not the end. You can’t really lose something – it is only in your mind. You get scared. I want to share with people something in a nutshell, that took me many years to discover, because life gets so much more intense and interesting once you understand a little bit about how it works. I am not saying I am right – I am only talking about myself and I can’t talk about someone else. I see my life and can conclude what is right for me. I believe that everybody has their own interpretation of life. Therefore, the motivation is really to inspire and create.
When it comes to creation, I don't want to be a creator, I want to be the creation. It has a big difference. Also with dance - I don't want to be a dancer, I want to be the dance. It sounds big, but I think if we can become a dance or a creation, it's much more powerful. This is why I focus on being the creation, rather than achieving something. It’s not about the product, it’s rather the whole thing around it. I am not focused on single items.
Where are you going? What is your vision?
I focus much more internally. It is almost like I am going backwards. Where we came from as a child, then we go through career, adulthood, we are eternally oriented. I can say I am more internally oriented. My way is going back to me. I think when we get old or die we go back to the roots naturally. Like when old people act like kids sometimes. Also with diseases – we are dependent on help from others just like when we were kids. I already started my journey back to myself.
In terms of the business's future, I would say the co-living communities are a big motivation. I want to live with like-minded people. I want to live with inspiring people in inspiring places. I also call it Growth University. I want to live forever in the campus of growth. Having the right people who to support each other's growth. For that co-creation and co-growth is important. If we can have it, it should be on the whole planet. That’s how we did it in the past. Like in the villages - maybe one person had a fridge and everybody shared. Even when TVs came - one had a TV and everybody went there to watch it. Now everybody has five TVs.
Therefore, I really look forward to getting back to where we came from, that we care for each other and we share. The ownership is also important. I mean the financial not the greed. My own interests or ego can’t drive it. Without caring about each other it doesn’t work. I think we have many problems. For me this is my egoistic solution for myself. To have those communities where I can live by myself. So it is service to others but it's also service to self because I want to live there. I get both.
Marcel Gasser is giving a workshop „How To Create a Simple Life In a Complex World“ at sTARTUp Psychology conference on 30th of September.
About his topic:
Founders struggles comes out of four core “mismatched” field: relationship, effort system, skills and trust. Beside these four crucial “success” factors of a venture or entrepreneur it is very important to align the personal mission and vision with the business. Why do we do so? Because once you are aligned in the “what matters most” of your person, you can flow, succeed and become the happy being we’re all looking for. At the end we will discover the “flow” through business and private life and see that going with the current of the universe is even the fastest way, even if your mind sometimes tell us something else.
If you are interested in psychology, self-development and human behavior, then this is an opportunity for you. Being an entrepreneur can be a great opportunity to grow not only business wise but as a person as well. Your victories and failures give you valuable reflections about your behavior and leadership skills. And if you know how to use this information you can take your business and yourself to a whole new level of success! We invite you to sTARTUp Psychology! 11 worldwide speakers will share their knowledge, personal stories and practical tips on how to hack yourself and elevate your relationships.
Buy tickets HERE for September 30 in Tartu!