Putting life first with Richard Bachmann

Stephanie Horwitz
3 min readJul 3, 2021

Highlights from S2 Ep4 of What Should I Do With My Life? with Steph Horwitz featuring Richard Bachmann

Meet Richard Bachmann! Richard is currently getting his PhD in history from the University of Michigan. Born and raised in East Germany, Richard’s family ties to the past and social activism in the early 90’s helped lay the groundwork in setting his passion for social engagement and education. Richard is a teacher, a student, a role model, and a very unique person who is not afraid to deal with some discomfort in order to grow. In this episode, we talk about what sparked Richard’s interest in Holocaust history and reconciliation work, what it means to carry a backpack of history in the present, and how finding your passion should be likened to growing in love instead of falling in love.

Richard & Steph

Three Pearls of Wisdom from Richard Bachmann:

  1. Throughout our conversation, the topic of our role in history was a constant. On the one hand, one person can make such an impact, and on the other hand, how small of a speck we are in the context of the world. Richard says that reminding ourselves of the greater context can help us put things in perspective and take off some of the pressure when something doesn’t go our way or if we make a mistake. At the same time, Richard’s story in itself shows us the power we have as individuals. Whether it’s this way or that way or both, choose the approach that fits your narrative, and go for it!
  2. Richard teaches us what it means to be vulnerable in your work and putting yourself out there. You might go in to a role with good intentions, and it might not always be well received. Richard put himself on the line every day, just by engaging with people in his work, just by being who he was. The nature of just working at the Holocaust Memorial Center often placed him in potentially uncomfortable situations. Richard said that discomfort is what helped him grow, and we all need some conflict or or bumps in the road in order to learn.
  3. Richard emphasized the importance of putting life first and work second. It is so easy for us to put work on the forefront, put life on the side, and miss out on experiences and opportunities. How many of us use work as a crutch or an excuse to not live and experience? Let’s be more mindful and always try to put life first. After all, that’s why we are here!
Richard Bachmann

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Stephanie Horwitz

I am a storyteller, connector, and community builder, as well as the creator and host of “What Should I Do With My Life?”