How to burn out!

32 steps to fully exhaust yourself. Successfully validated and experienced by me.

Me in Barcelona, 2017

Almost all people answer that the opposite of “fragile” is “robust”,” resilient”, “solid” or something of the sort. But the resilient, robust (and company) are items that neither break nor improve, so you would not need to write anything on them- or have you ever seen a package with “robust” in thick green letters stamped on it.

Logically, the exact opposite of a “fragile” parcel would be a package on which one has written “please mishandle” or “please handle carelessly”. Its content would not just be unbreakable, but would benefit form shocks and wide array of trauma.

For the idea of Antifragility is not part of our consciousness — but, luckily, it is part of our ancestral behavior, our biological apparatus, and ubiquitous property of every system that has survived”. (Antifragile, Nassim Nicholas Taleb)


1. Develop a mindset of ambition very early in your life.

2. Believe, that stress has only to do with time and workload.

3. Start telling yourself, that because you are privileged, you have to give back.

4. Implant the thought in your mind, that you have to work and prove yourself worthy before you are allowed to have fun.

5. Start to believe that this world is fucking unfair and because you live on the seemingly bright side of life, you better not waste your time.

6. Buy into the thought that work is hard and great things can only happen when you suffer.

7. Think, throughout your twenties, that you are not enough, because you didn’t follow the straight perfect suggestions for how to have a perfect CV.

8. Establish a mindset of “only when xyz happens, then I’m allowed to have free time.”

9. Be ambitious in every single area of work and be upset and disappointed when things are not perfect.

10. Believe, that balance is boring and life is only exciting on the edges.

11. Maintain a mindset of busyness, so you literally forget what you used to like outside of work.


12. Break up a 5-year relationship. Fall deep. Doubt wholeheartedly, that you will ever find a fantastic partner to share life with again. Keep yourself busy and distracted with work.

13. Surround yourself with incredibly inspiring and successful people who help you develop some proper imposter syndrome.

14. Ignore friends and family when they voice doubts and worry about your well-being. Keep telling them that you have everything under control.

15. Believe, that you have everything under control even if your body feels like breaking down any minute because of sleep deprivation, overwork, and high emotional stress.

16. Care deeply for everyone around you, but make sure you come last.


17. Join a tech startup as the first employee.

18. Avoid understanding what that could possibly mean for your work life in the upcoming years.

19. Consider your workplace your playground to test things out, prove yourself a little bit and gain lot of work experience.

20. Pour all your passion into your work. (The breakup part is important here because you literally don’t have to divide your passion anymore without a boyfriend:))

21. Spend most of your awake time working.

22. Don’t ever, and I really mean it, set boundaries on your own time when it comes to working. (This point works really well in combination with point 6, that work has to hurt a little).

23. Make sure you have a colleague, who kicks your most basic human values with his feet all the time.

24. Work so much, that you forget what „normal“ amount of work means or at least some sort of balanced workload.

25. Make sure you work on weekends. It’s the best way to ensure losing touch with a balanced work life and forget all the things which bring you fun.

26. Introduce a meditation time at your workplace. Plan out every single minute in your day to actually not be able to make it to the meditation slots.

27. Aim for perfection and don’t embrace the fact that 70% is enough in a startup environment. Fight it every day.


28. Don’t listen to your body. And if you do so, misinterpret the signs and ignore the tiny voice which speaks some uncomfortable truth.

29. Prioritize business and companies needs over your own personal well being and needs.

30. Believe, that being intolerant to gluten and lactose and have a bunch of other intolerances and allergies is just a normal thing which happens to people of your generation. (I mean seriously who would buy all the soy lattes, gluten-free and vegan products in the hipster coffee shops if it wouldn’t be for some fu** up stressed out and overworked urban 30-year-olds.)

31. Ignore the screams of your body and blame them to external factors. Start to believe, that your body is maybe just really sensitive when it comes to food.32. Talk about stress all the time but make sure you don’t really know what it means. Don’t read or research into the effects of emotional stress on your body and mind. Don’t ask your doctor, what he means when he talks about stress.

“When discussing vulnerability, it is helpful to look at the definition and etymology of the word vulnerable. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the word vulnerability is derived from the Latin word vulnerare, meaning “ to wound.” The definition includes “capable of being wounded” and “open to attack or damage.”

Merriam-Webster defines weakness as the inability to withstand attack or wounding. Just from a linguistic perspective, it’s clear that there are very different concepts, and in fact, one could argue that weakness often stems from a lack of vulnerability- when we don’t acknowledge how and where we are tender, we’re more at risk of being hurt.” (Daring Greatly, Brené Brown)

First published on Medium, August 2018