Anselm Pahnke: “I embraced the unknown and it became my friend.”

Anselm Pahnke is a geophysicist and oceanographer, author, award-winning documentary filmmaker, small town founder, tiny house builder, extreme adventurer and keynote speaker all rolled into one.

From a young age, Anselm Pahnke, a passionate communicator, was fascinated by the question of what drives people to dare to make progress and the factors that prevent them from doing so. In order to understand the forces behind such changes, he studied geophysics with a minor in evolutionary biology.

After completing his thesis, Anselm set off on a voyage of discovery and travelled around the world alone by bicycle for three years. During this journey, he spent a lot of time in complete solitude and set out to explore man’s deepest motivations and obstacles. In the deserts of Africa in particular, he repeatedly faced extreme situations, confronted with his deepest fears and at the same time discovered his inner strengths. The countless kilometres on his bike were not only a physical journey through Africa, but also a significant inner journey. From fear and uncertainty, he developed a deep intimacy with himself and the confidence to reach his next destination.

Even today, the adventurer bravely exposes himself to uncertain situations. He is involved in neuroscientific studies to investigate brain activity and emotional reactions in extreme change processes and to draw conclusions about human behaviour.

Anselm Pahnke lecture topics

  • Living safely or experiencing yourself?
    The ability to deal with uncertainty determines our lives.
  • Journey to the source.
    What I focus my attention on grows.
  • Courage is like change, only earlier.
    Transformation is the key to growth and the development of a courageous future.

Anselm Pahnke wants to encourage people by sharing his experiences and insights in films and lectures. He invites his audience to embrace uncertainty and develop virtues such as willpower and confidence. With a convincing and inspiring demeanour, he makes it clear that major plans and projects do not necessarily have to be thought through down to the smallest detail, especially in times of constant change. He emphasises that ideas and visions can only be effective if they are put into practice and experienced. It is essential to understand our emotions, especially when making decisions, as our behaviour is significantly influenced by our emotional response to certain stimuli. Anselm Pahnke conveys that what we focus our attention on tends to grow and therefore shapes our thoughts and actions.

After his return, Anselm, together with a small team and limited financial resources, produced a film from his personal footage. This film shows the power of Africa, the intense experiences and the inner development during his journey. With 120,000 viewers, “Anderswo. Alone in Africa” was the most-watched German-language documentary in cinemas in 2020 and won the award for best documentary. This led to Netflix licensing the film.

Pahnke is also passionately committed to sustainable projects, including the founding of the Kirnhalden residential and cultural project in the southern Black Forest near Freiburg. He also appears as a speaker and instigator to share his experiences and insights and is actively involved in the production of tiny houses.

What characterises him?

Markus Lanz said about him:

“Anselm gives unexpected answers, sees and reflects the world differently. I could fill a whole programme with his story and hear a pin drop when he takes one of his soulful pauses. A man who dares to empathise. People literally hang on his every word.”

Customer feedback on Anselm Pahnke’s lectures

“These life lessons of calculated risk, brought to life through Anselm’s journey, shatter the risk-averse culture of our Fortune 500 companies with their endless business planning and forecasting, while understanding the WHY of a business journey frees us to take the risks we need to achieve our business goals.” David Lindstrom – Robert Bosch GmbH

“We were looking for a speaker on the topic of resilience for a conference and we are grateful to have found Anselm. He shares his extraordinary story in such an approachable way and with touching honesty that the audience not only listens with rapt attention, but also takes away very personalised food for thought for self-reflection. Anselm opens up new perspectives and invites his listeners on a journey to themselves. With his warm and appreciative manner, Anselm was also a sought-after discussion partner for our guests after his presentation and took a lot of time for personal dialogue.”Christine Aly – ITpoint Systems AG CH

“A lecture that touches the heart! The 70 minutes lecture flew by and I have never experienced so many different people, being so captivated by one person. Above all, Anselm gives each person something: confidence and new perspectives. This awakens questions that lie dormant in all of us and whose answers we carry in our hearts. His words touch our innermost being and invite us to rediscover ourselves and to feel and live our own self-efficacy again. Thank you, Anselm!”Jessica Harrenberg – JobRad