Angela Merkel: The Most Powerful Woman in the World

“Always be more than you appear, and never appear to be more than you are.”

-Angela Merkel


Angela Merkel is the most powerful woman in the world.


That’s without question.


She helped guide Germany through its reunification process after the Berlin Wall fell, has a doctorate in physical chemistry, is the longest-serving head of government in the European Union, and is currently the senior G7 leader.


Needless to say, when she talks, people listen.


Part of the reason why she got to the point in life that she did is that she lives by her words, “always be more than you appear, and never appear to be more than you are.”


To better understand the quote, let’s take a closer look at Angela Merkel’s life.


Born Into a Divided World


Born in 1954 to a German father and a Polish mother in West Germany, Angela Merkel was thrust into one of the most turbulent periods of German history.  


Shortly following the end of World War II in 1945, the Allied forces split Germany up, and East Germany belonged to the Soviet Union.


When she was three months old, Ms. Merkel’s father uprooted the family to take a pastorate at a church in East Germany, which is where Angela would spend her youth. As a student in East Germany, Angela Merkel excelled in several areas.


She became fluent in Russian, won prizes for her talents in mathematics, and went on to study (and participate in landmark projects) physics at the University of Leipzig.


Following her undergraduate career, Ms. Merkel decided to continue her work and studies at the Central Institute for Physical Chemistry of the Academy of Sciences in Berlin-Adlershof. Although the Stasi (German secret police) attempted to recruit her, Angela managed to talk her way out of working them.


After being awarded a doctorate for her thesis on quantum chemistry in 1986, Angela continued her work until 1990, when politics got the best of her.


Becoming a Leader


Despite her academic achievements, Angela Merkel wasn’t always known as a political leader. However, she couldn’t resist getting involved as she watched the Berlin Wall fall in 1990.


Friends and family were reunited, Germany was to become whole again, and democracy was taking root.


Shortly following the very first multi-party election in the East German state, Merkel’s peers agreed that she would become the deputy spokesperson for the new pre-unification government.


Later that year, Merkel stood for her first election in the 1990 federal election.


She won.


Angela Merkel was elected to the Bundestag (the representative body of the Federal Republic of Germany) for the Stralsund – Nordvorpommern – Rügen constituency.


The rest, as they say, is history.


After working her way up the ranks of German government, Merkel eventually took office as the Chancellor of Germany in 2005 following a stalemate election.


Despite some setbacks, she hasn’t looked back since.


Angela Merkel has won every election since taking power as Chancellor of Germany in 2005, and she currently holds that position to this day. She is now considered globally as the most experienced and longest-serving leader of the Western world.


Lessons to Take from Angela Merkel


During her time as Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel has made several important decisions. While several have turned out wonderful, others have been quite controversial.


Take her policy on Syrian refugees, for example.


During the height of the crisis, Merkel agreed to let unprecedented amounts of refugees into her country (often referred to as the “open-door” policy).


Although many people celebrated the move at the time, there were others who weren’t so certain that it was a great idea. Following several unfortunate incidents involving the refugees, the perception became that Angela Merkel was losing control of the country.

In fact, her decision led to her party losing several seats in the elections that followed.


However, Merkel showed the world what it means to be a leader in that she was able to admit her mistake.


“For some time, we didn’t have enough control,” she said in one of her speeches. “No one wants a repeat of last year’s situation, including me.”


When times got tough, Angela Merkel made a decision. While that decision didn’t necessarily work out the way that she hoped, she displayed the fortitude that one would expect to see in a strong leader.


She then went on to win another term as the Chancellor of Germany.


Angela Merkel has lived her life based on the words, “always be more than you appear, and never appear to be more than you are.”


It has gotten her this far, and it would serve all of us well to keep this quote in mind as we move forward in both our personal and professional lives.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *