Konstantin Neumann: Straws, Powerlifting, Spirituality
Time to read 12 min
Time to read 12 min
Konstantin Neumann: investor, traction coach, CEO - there are many names that apply to him. After his career as an athlete, Konstantin Neumann's big project was edible drinking straws. Today, Stuttgart is his home, a new company his lifeblood. Konstantin Neumann is the founder & CEO of MODERNmind and makes psychedelic substances "presentable".
We took a closer look at our boss and subjected him to a hail of questions - about his own experiences, spirituality, everyday working life, and more.
Team: Hey Konstantin, what do you wake up with in the morning - coffee or tea?
Konstantin Neumann: My favorite way to start the morning is with a cold shower to clear the senses. Then I have a big cup of coffee - black, without milk or sugar. That way, I'm ready for the day.
Team: What do you do on a normal day in your life as CEO, mentor, etc.?. How do you organize your day-to-day work?
Konstantin Neumann: My day usually starts between 7 and 8 o'clock, as already mentioned, with the cold shower and a large coffee. Breakfast is then left out for the time being - that just makes me tired again. I just use the first hour for myself to start the day with good energy.
Then it's time for work: At the moment, all my work at MODERNmind is done remotely - so I don't have to go to an office, but can check my e-mails and structure my workday directly. I don't like to start work in the blue, but instead create a plan of time slots in the morning that divide up my day perfectly.
At 11, I have my first meal, which is a good time for a short break. In the afternoon, I usually schedule a few more calls with my team, and I also schedule clients and future business partners.
After work comes the fun - between 6 and 8 p.m. the gym is waiting for me. This is my workout and a reward after work. My well-deserved conclusion, so to speak. Afterwards, food and private life are on the agenda - my girlfriend and I cook something healthy or go to a restaurant together. And of course, we also like to watch a TV show or two. That's a good way to switch off and end the day.
Team: Looking at your CV, it's easy to see that you work a lot - and probably like it. Nevertheless, or especially then, a balance is important. How do you balance out stress for body, mind and soul with responsibility, to-dos and the like?
Konstantin Neumann: In my normal everyday life, I often sit at my desk for many hours, so I need a physical balance. As a former world champion in weightlifting, sport is a must-have in my everyday life, and I always find time for it. That's why the gym is as much a part of my daily routine as coffee is in the morning. Basically, however, I also try to find a healthy balance and, for example, work less on the weekends, do something nice. I am a stress-resistant person, I would say: a 70- or 80-hour week is fine for me, and I can pull through productively. I guess that's just my nature. That said, I also know that we humans don't function like machines, time for ourselves is important. Even as entrepreneurs, that's why my girlfriend and I take the vacation days we're entitled to and get our heads free, quite consciously.
Team: Have you taken psychedelic substances yourself, and if so, how has that changed your thinking or attitude?
Konstantin Neumann: Of course, yes. Because of this experience, I can be balanced today, I am in center with myself and carry a lot of positive energy inside me. Stress and pressure to perform affect me less, and challenges are not huge hurdles but welcome.
Team: Where and how did you gain your first experience with such substances? What was your goal in doing so?
Konstantin Neumann: I wouldn’t directly speak of a goal. At the time, an entrepreneur friend of mine took me on a retreat, and I didn't really know at the time what I was getting myself into and what was waiting for me. Therefore, I had no particular intention, goal or preparation. It was a psychedelic ceremony where I could have my first experience, a single day. We took ayahuasca, probably one of the strongest psychedelics that exists. That pretty much overwhelmed me. But not in a negative sense, because through this experience, I realized for myself that I was not on my path at that time. I was no longer happy with my startup at the time, my work situation, and also my personal future. That's what ayahuasca made me realize, and that's also why I sold my shares in the following months. So the first experience has already changed and influenced my life.
Team: That sounds spiritual and inspiring. Have you had such spiritual experiences away from psychedelic substances?
Konstantin Neumann: I feel spiritual experiences as omnipresent, every day. But these are not always big events, just small things that you don't perceive as special at that moment can carry a lot of spirituality and meaning. And it is precisely for these things that you should strengthen your perception in everyday life.
Team: And when do you have such spiritual experiences?
Konstantin Neumann: I collect many of them during long meditation sessions. It's difficult to describe ... after 30–40 minutes, I can disconnect from myself and feel in a kind of astral projection. As if I am looking at myself and the world around me from above, from the outside. This gives me an interesting far-sightedness and openness to everything else that is there.
Team: Would you describe yourself as "spiritually awakened"?
Konstantin Neumann: I’m a rather logical and scientifically thinking person by nature. I still have my problems with certain forms of spirituality, but I am always open to any opinion from this environment. There is basically no definition of a spiritually awakened person.
I have had Spiritual Awakening moments, especially during my psychedelic journeys. There, I have also taken meaningful ways of thinking and behaving for my life and me… I do not see myself as a spiritual master now, however! 🙂
Team: How did you become aware of the topic of microdosing? And what made you decide to build it up as a business?
Konstantin Neumann: The origin came while traveling. I was also in Asia on my trip around the world in 2019 and have tested LSD microdosing there with a friend. It was recommended to us because it’s supposed to have a blatant effect on performance and well-being. We could not resist... I had to try it. And what can I say? I think the weeks there were the best on the whole trip. I got to experience a new way of life. I was impressed at the time, but a business wasn't even on the agenda ... that didn't come until two years later. At the time, I was investing in various biotech companies that were active in the field of psychedelics with my partner Maja Balz, among other things. In the process, we simply realized that this topic had an insane amount of potential. The fact that there is a legal way to sell LSD in Germany or Europe finally convinced us. We founded MODERNmind and set ourselves the goal of developing a strong brand for psychedelics.
Team: Let's be honest: When you read that LSD is sold online, it seems bizarre at first. Were there any legal problems with the founding of MODERNmind and the launch of the online store?
Konstantin Neumann: No, we haven't had any legal problems yet. But we also have our lawyers support us regularly as soon as it comes to product development and publication. In fact, the biggest problems we've had tended to be with other companies, for example payment providers for our store - with them, we sometimes fall into the "drugs" category and are not included. It's the same with ads - we can't just run ads like other companies.
Team: And apart from legal problems: Is your business sometimes critically scrutinized or prejudged by people around you?
Konstantin Neumann: Yes. Often we are simply referred to as legal dealers. And that's basically the opposite of what we actually are. A typical dealer just sells some stuff, that's it. He doesn't explain what's important in using it, what the effects are, or even what the possible risks are. We approach it completely differently.
MODERNmind is about education and destigmatization of psychedelics. Our customers receive extensive information about possible applications and uses. We answer individual questions and even offer individual sessions with MODERNmind psychologists. We are not about drugs or the like, but about the potential of psychedelic substances to expand our minds and improve overall well-being.
Team: Do you use microdosing for yourself?
Konstantin Neumann: Yes, especially in weeks when I know in advance that my workload is higher than usual. It helps me focus on the important things and stay relaxed despite high pressure.
Team: And what do you think: Which substances could be interesting for microdosing and MODERNmind in general?
Konstantin Neumann: Magic mushrooms or magic truffles are definitely a microdosing product with potential that we want to offer in the future. In addition, psilocybin would be a substance that is still interesting for us. So far, however, there are only a few studies that examine the effects of microdosing with psilocybin and LSD. Moreover, the substance is currently still illegal, so we cannot sell it or use it during our retreats.
Team: Does the possible legalization of cannabis have any value for you or MODERNmind?
Konstantin Neumann: Basically, I think the legalization of cannabis is a huge opportunity for the whole scene. By the way, we are also planning to produce cannabis products. But the possibilities of LSD and other psychedelics are simply even broader according to studies, so they could take over even a larger market share than cannabis.
Team: At MODERNmind you don't only sell legal LSD, but also offer retreats in connection with it. What is special about that?
Konstantin Neumann: With our retreats, we have developed a unique blend of scientific psychology and shamanic spiritual experiences. The combination is simply incredibly powerful. Our participants can experience a kind of transformation during the retreat. The retreats are a two-day process of transforming deep-seated beliefs, psychological wounds, trauma, and even depression. Our participants should get a new, more sustainable attitude towards life, which they can take with them into their everyday life. And there is another crucial difference: At MODERNmind, we offer the only psychedelic retreat in the German-speaking world. A journey of inner discovery flanked by professional preparation and integration. These two aspects are essential to provide participants with a safe and positive experience.
Team: Where do you see the dangers in the "uncontrolled" use and sale of psychedelics on the street and in clubs?
Konstantin Neumann: This carries many risks that should not be ignored lightly in any case. First, there is the risk of unknowns: You can never be sure what you're really getting. Such club drugs can be laced or contaminated with dangerous substances - and that can have health consequences.
Second, you can also go wrong with the dosage. If you don't know the exact strength of the tablet, you run into the risk of overdosing – panic attacks, psychosis and more are possible.
Third, the effects of psychedelics can vary greatly. In uncontrolled situations, such as in the club or on the street, it can even lead to traumatic experiences.
Not to mention, uncontrolled purchase and consumption is simply illegal in many countries, and you are committing a criminal offense. These are all aspects that speak for a controlled environment, such as our retreats. Professional supervision, a safe environment, high-quality substances - this is an excellent setting.
Team: Can "bad trips" happen on the retreats?
Konstantin Neumann: We prefer to speak of "challenging trips". These often occur when you resist giving up control and letting yourself go with the feelings. But if you want to go on a psychedelic trip, that's exactly what you need to do: surrender completely, give up control, and embrace the feelings and issues that come up. This may sound scary to some, but it's challenging trips like this that often have a powerful transformative effect. When we learn to embrace and work through our fears and insecurities, we open ourselves up to profound change and insight in the process.
At MODERNmind, we guide our participants throughout the process, ensuring that everyone feels safe and supported. Our experience shows that challenging trips, properly accompanied, can become unique moments of growth. The point is not to avoid these experiences, but to acknowledge and embrace them as part of the path to personal transformation.
Team: What is the composition of the retreat groups?
Konstantin Neumann: We see diversity as a key and welcome participants from all walks of life. Our groups consist of people from very different backgrounds: young students, people in midlife, or even those who are already retired. Curiosity about an alternative way of looking at life, the search for fresh perspectives and impulses, or even the desire to look at one's own life from a different perspective - everything is possible.
Team: What is your current focus - both from a business and a private perspective?
Konstantin Neumann: Business-wise, my focus is 100% on MODERNmind, where I see my professional home for the next 4–5 years. It is simply a project of the heart and small subprojects offer challenges every day, which is fun.
Privately, my focus is currently on simply collecting many beautiful moments. I like to travel, discover new places, be in nature - it all gives me strength and joy. I also want to improve my kite surfing skills in the next 1–2 years.
Team: Do you have a plan for the next years, or do you just see yourself in the here and now?
Konstantin Neumann: I wouldn't call it a plan. I've always been more of a person who acts according to his gut feeling. Of course, there is a vision and images that drive me ... but there is no concrete plan behind it. I also always have the feeling that plans put us too much in a self-imposed prison, which we actually try to prevent by founding a company.
Team: You are very broadly positioned. But when we look at your CV, one topic in particular stands out: Nutrition. Is that a topic close to your heart because of your athletic background?
Konstantin Neumann: Powerlifting plays a role there, of course. But even before competitive sports, I paid lots of attention to my diet. When I think back to my childhood, we only ever had good, healthy food, with a few exceptions. My grandma has a big garden, so there are lots of fruits and vegetables all year round. For me, fresh raspberries at my grandma's house have always been the bigger temptation than a bar of chocolate. So yes, it just belongs to me.
Team: Konstantin - in “Höhle der Löwen” you showed with wisefood that sustainability is important and also possible in everyday life. Do you also draw a connection to sustainable impact with MODERNmind?
Konstantin Neumann: Definitely! In my opinion, MODERNmind even has a significantly greater impact on our society. The mental condition of us is transferred to every area of our lives. I myself have experienced first hand what burnout means. It causes problems everywhere: privately, in business, in health. I see with MODERNmind the possibility to give a big and above all lasting impact on many millions of people.
Team: Do you have a personal mission?
Konstantin Neumann: I wish for more togetherness and joy in life for this world. Our planet is a real gift, there is something to discover everywhere. With MODERNmind, we would like to move humanity more into seeing, feeling and experiencing.
There isn’t only black and white, but still very much in between.