Richard Branson clearly knows a thing or two about success. At 20, he started a mail order shop, and opened a recording studio a short while later. Now, the Virgin brand boasts dozens of companies and Branson’s net worth is estimated to be more than 3 billion pounds sterling.
As well as immense business success, Branson has personally broken a number of world records for high-speed boat and balloon journeys.
Often witty, always insightful, here are some choice Branson quotes to ponder. Motivation often comes from unique places so if one of these strikes a chord, use it!
"Ridiculous yachts and private planes and big limousines won’t make people enjoy life more."
I suppose we all know deep down that money won’t make us happy. Of course, money is nice – it brings freedom and opportunities and can be a wonderful recourse. It can contribute to happiness, even. But happiness itself is another thing – it’s independent of anything else. Buddha wrote, ‘there is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way.’
"I enjoy every single minute of my life."
For me, this is the most important thing to remember. When you’re enjoying what you do, you’re more likely to do it well and to be successful. Enjoying every situation is an art, a skill, and can be developed. Maybe it comes naturally to some people, but for most of us, it takes a little practice. But believe me, it will make an enormous difference to the quality of your life.
"But the majority of things that one could get stressed about, they’re not worth getting stressed about."
I read somewhere that the most common ‘commandment’ given in the bible is not to worry. Being stressed and worried about things is just a waste of energy – it never helps. I highly recommend Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living. It contains invaluable, practical advice for those of us inclined to worry about things.
"You can’t be a good leader unless you generally like people. That is how you bring out the best in them."
Obviously, we live in a social world, and it is almost impossible to physically cut yourself off from other people. But, how we interact with others is vitally important to our happiness and success. Getting along with people – allowing them to be themselves, bringing out the best, encouraging them – these are the hallmarks of good leaders and good friends.
"There is no one to follow, there is nothing to copy."
Life is always fresh and new. We are always on the leading edge, and the successes of the future will not rely on old ways of doing things. Thinking outside the box, embracing change, innovating, taking risks – these are the hallmarks of success in all facets of life.
"I can honestly say that I have never gone into any business purely to make money. If that is the sole motive, then I believe you are better off doing nothing."
Money is a by-product. It is not a goal in itself. Those who simply chase money end up with nothing of true value, because money in itself does not add anything to life. Money cannot buy the things that matter most in people – wisdom, serenity, leadership, happiness.
"I never had any intention of being an entrepreneur."
Funny how things turn out! We certainly need to know where we are going in life, but we also need to remain open to new possibilities. Things have a tendency to change and if we are prepared to sail with the wind, and not fight against it, life can take us on wonderful adventures, and we can end up in the most magical places. I can attest to this in my own life, as I’m sure many readers can.
"I made and learned from lots of mistakes.”
How else can we learn? Think back to when you learned any new skill – driving a car, cooking, learning a language. Of course you messed it up! Taking risks, trying new things, learning – these things always involve making mistakes. So don’t fear mistakes – be proud of them!
"If you can indulge in your passion, life will be far more interesting than if you’re just working."
Someone said that if you enjoy your job, you’ll never have to work another day. Not everyone can go out and ‘indulge their passion’ right away, but there is good to found in all jobs, and if we focus on the good things, looking for that which is pleasing and which, perhaps, we can influence, it will expand. This kind of proactively is the basis of Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, another book I highly recommend.
"Right now I’m just delighted to be alive and to have had a nice long bath.
This quote reminds me of a scene from the wonderful British comedy movie, Clockwise. John Cleese’s character is trying to get to a conference but, after many trials and tribulations, he ends up stranded in a monastery. Sitting in a room with a monk, covered in mud, clothes torn, he asks, ‘what should I do?’ The monk simply replies: ‘Have a bath, perhaps?’
We can be so focused on the big picture stuff that we forget that life is a series of moments, each of which has its simple pleasures. Whatever life brings, it is good to be thankful for the many little pleasures each day has to bring.
‘When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive - to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love’ (Marcus Aurelius)