"Beautiful Waiting" - Free the Hostage Within You!

by | 25. August 2023

Months have passed since my last blog post. Was it because I was too lazy? On the contrary! I have been exceptionally busy, preparing for both my professional and private future. There's much beauty to come! Stay tuned – I will report in more detail in the coming months.


Waiting is (Almost Always) Worthwhile

Don't believe it? Waiting is pointless and a waste of time? Understandable, a common attitude. But we overlook that waiting is an art, an unexpected gift that offers us positive freedom.

Here's also the printed proof: The new book by my esteemed colleague Armin Nagel!

ARMIN NAGEL Beautiful Waiting – On Dealing with an Inevitable State
Bastei-Lübbe/Lübbe Life, 2023
ISBN: 978-3-431-07052-1

Available in stores from 25.08.2023.


"Beautiful Waiting – On Dealing with an Inevitable State"

Beautiful Waiting deals in a positive and entertaining way with the art of waiting and shows the possibilities this unexpected freedom can offer.

In his book, Armin Nagel gathers numerous "waiting advisors" who share their expertise in interviews, inspiring texts, and humorous miniatures, celebrating the art of waiting. Among the authors are many well-known names, including celebrities like Rainer Callmund or personal role models like René Borbonus.

To my great pleasure, I was also able to contribute a chapter to his book.


My Contribution: "Free the Hostage Within You"

In my text "Free the Hostage Within You," I write about my kidnapping. A true boot camp in terms of waiting!

Exclusively for you (and to make the wait until the next blog post a little more beautiful), you can find my complete contribution right here.

Enjoy reading!





Free the Hostage Within You


Waiting Advisor Marc Wallert, SPIEGELBestseller Author, Keynote Speaker

Marc Wallert from Göttingen is the author of the bestseller Strong Through Crises. As Germany's most famous resilience expert, he strengthens people in dealing with stress or crises and is known as "the Uprighter" according to STERN. At the age of 27, Marc survived 140 days in the Philippine jungle as a hostage. If anyone knows what waiting means, it's him.


From April 23 to September 9, 2000, I sat in the Philippine jungle and waited as a hostage for my freedom, kidnapped by fighters of the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf. Until I was released, it remained uncertain whether I would survive. The hostage situation was a hardcore endurance boot camp. Had I known from the beginning that 140 days of captivity in the midst of a guerrilla war awaited me, I might have given up.

Back then, at 26, I had hoped for one thing from my vacation in Malaysia: a lot of time. A break from my hectic consulting routine at PwC and quality time with my parents, whom I had hardly seen since starting my international career. We enjoyed the underwater paradise of Sipadan, a fantastic diving island. No stress, no exaggeration, just diving in!

On Easter Sunday 2000, my father tried to persuade us to go on a night dive after a wonderful day. I preferred to relax with a cocktail and enjoy the sunset.

On the beach, we gazed together into the reddish evening sky and watched other swimmers dive into the dark Pacific. It couldn't be more peaceful.

"Go, Go, Go!" – armed men stormed our diving resort and shouted at us. With assault rifles pointed at us, they forced us onto two fishing boats. For us and eighteen other hostages, a nightmarish waiting period began.



On the kidnappers' boat, my thoughts revolved around two sentences: "Why us?" and "If only we had gone diving." It's human to struggle with your own fate, but it's pointless in the long run. The best thing you can do in difficult situations is to make the best of them. Sounds trivial. But that's the way it is.

Whether you're kidnapped or miss your train due to a silly coincidence: it can't be undone. It is what it is. Sooner or later, most of us become hostages of adverse circumstances. We get caught up involuntarily and undeservedly in something. A hopeful inner attitude helps to accept one's fate: "Who knows what it's good for?"

I don't want to sugarcoat anything. Not everyone meets the love of their life at a train station café while waiting for a delayed connection. A short curse is okay, useful as an acute pressure valve. But the focus should quickly move forward.

To "accept" your fate does not mean to "tolerate" it! On the contrary: It's about accepting the challenge, moving out of victimhood into action. "What would be the best option right now?"

Sometimes we are trapped in circumstances that we can only influence to a limited extent. Train late, appointment missed, customer upset. For us hostages, the vacation was ruined, and our lives were in the hands of foreign terrorists. And now? Just wait? Drink tea? Let go? Absolutely not! There is a crucial difference between losing only your physical freedom and also your inner freedom.

Physically, we could not escape our fate – that train had left. But you can always do something to improve your situation psychologically. As a shaper, you feel less victimized. Psychology talks about "self-efficacy."



For weeks we were trapped in the jungle. We were hungry and terrified, exhausted and desperate. Again and again, the kidnappers gave us hope for a soon ending. "Soon, very soon," was their standard answer to our question about release. The more hope they gave us, the more impatient we became.

During the pandemic, many people felt like us in the jungle: they became "hostages" of a virus and the measures that restricted their usual freedom. "Freedom Day" seemed within reach. But it went on and on and on.

Waiting for salvation without knowing if and when it will come is tricky. That requires patience without passivity! Those who wait for external circumstances to improve make themselves victims.

Sure, as a hostage, you have little opportunity to act. You are "kidnapped," you have lost control. But we retained our inner freedom. Bit by bit, we took our fate into our own hands.

In our jungle prison, we sat on the ground all day and had terrible back pain. One day, I was able to get wood and tools. I immediately seized the opportunity and started building a chair, right in the jungle. Finally, we could sit upright and lean back – the back problems were gone. And the feeling of powerlessness disappeared. I felt stronger, internally free, and "self-effective."

Those who involuntarily become hostages of external circumstances – for example, missing a train through no fault of their own – worsen their fate with moaning. Change the focus and use the given time.



The jungle, a case for "Carpe diem"? Live each day as if it were your last? Rather not. We endured, not knowing if we would survive the next day, surrounded by diseases, war, and threats to behead us. We wanted to experience the day of our release and had to prepare physically and mentally for a long time and ration reserves.

How do you motivate yourself to persevere when you don't know if you'll ever reach the goal? By giving yourself hope, mentally beaming yourself into the future, and not waiting for motivation from outside.

In captivity, I imagined telling my brother Dirk about my experiences "back in the jungle" after my release. I could feel that moment with all my senses: sitting in my favorite pub, the cool beer in hand, clinking glasses with a "ping," and ... mmm, delicious! This vision gave me strength and meaning to my waiting.



There are tests of patience in life that make you want to cry. Crying is not a shame, but a physical reaction and strategy. Crying releases stress, measurably. And when all tears are shed, there's still laughing.

One of the kidnappers said to us: "If they don't pay the ransom, we'll behead you." I thought to myself: "Just don't lose your head." My hostage situation was an unexpected test of patience. I got my break from the hectic consulting routine, a real sabbatical. Months of switching off, without a phone, no appointments. And all in a T-shirt under palm trees – a dream! I needed gallows humor even after our return. On the internet, I saw a photo collage showing me and my parents in captivity, with the Snickers slogan "When it takes a little longer."

Do you have to wait involuntarily? Take it with humor! Free the hostage within you, stop whining, and make the best of it: You're just sitting on platform twelve, not in the jungle.




More About the Book


ARMIN NAGEL Beautiful Waiting – On Dealing with an Inevitable State
Bastei-Lübbe/Lübbe Life, 2023
ISBN: 978-3-431-07052-1

Available in stores from 25.08.2023.

Find more about Armin Nagel, the book, and even a "personal waiting advisor" here:


Learn more


Do you like exciting and authentic stories that inspire and strengthen you for your own life? In his book “Strong through Crises,” Marc Wallert describes the art of not losing your head – a source of inspiration for your everyday life and professional life.


Would you like to strengthen yourself, your team or your customers for upcoming challenges? Then let Marc Wallert “kidnap” you into the jungle – and free you again! The keynote with a “goosebumps” effect that is guaranteed to be remembered!

Virtual Keynote

Are you looking for a thrilling highlight for your online event? Then follow Marc Wallert into the jungle – supported by modern studio technology. The slightly different journey where no one is guaranteed to get off before they are released!