Multibillionaire Richard Branson looks like he has a fun life. One minute he’s crossing the Atlantic in a hot air balloon and the next he’s partying it up with celebrities in his private Caribbean island. Branson is the embodiment of the term ‘funpreneuer’. He believes in working hard now to reap the benefits later.
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The legendary Founder of the Virgin Group didn’t have it easy. He suffered from dyslexia at an early age and dropped out of school at 16. Apparently, on his last day at school his headmaster, Robert Drayson, told him he would either end up in prison or become a millionaire. This affected a young Branson, who then took it upon himself to never let his history of disability get in his way of building a billion-dollar empire. His net worth today is totalled roughly $5 billion. He has ceremoniously credited his family for being a solid rock of support during his experimental ventures, his mother being a local entrepreneur herself. He also pats himself on the back a good lot for weathering through his fair share of tornadoes and managing to land on his feet each time.
His zeal to live a fabulous life while running his billion-dollar enterprise efficiently today came with a lifetime’s worth of learning things mostly through the hard way. Here are his secrets to be successful and happy on your way to the top, as found by personal finance site GOBanking Rates.
Do something extraordinary
“The brave may not live forever — but the cautious do not live at all.”
Branson’s primary formula to success is to always push the boundaries of the ordinary. He explains that while living well in a finite world is easy and ‘safe’, the greatest legends didn’t make history by being cocooned up in their comfort zones. So take a nosedive into the unknown. It may be scary and it may take all you have, but it will always pay off in the end, either as the catalyst to kick-start your business or as a learning experience.
Write your own story
“No two successful entrepreneurs are the same. In fact, it's their individuality and different ways of thinking that make them successful.”
You may have read books authored by or about Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Elon Musk, and memorised to the last bone, but you have to remember that all three of these founders became the legends they are today because they dared to think different. In a world growing increasing competitive and largely imitative, find your strength in being original and build something of your own from scratch. According to Musk, this is what will get you noticed among the scores of individuals living someone’s story.
Be committed and punctual
“Whether it is a meeting, a flight, an appointment or a date, it's important to ensure you are there when you say you will be there. This may feel like an old-fashioned tip to give, but it has served me well for five decades in business. All you have in business is your reputation — so it's very important that you keep your word.”
Being punctual in a country where we spend half of our lives stuck in traffic jams on sweltering days is difficult. But there’s no excuse good enough that makes it okay for you to show up late for an appointment or meeting. In the world of business, the saying ‘first impressions make the last impressions’ holds strong fort, and you should always keep this tucked firm in a corner of your mind. The same goes for sticking by your appointments – do not be a no-show, unless faced with dire circumstances. Businesses are formed on trust and reliability, so make sure the people you work with know without a doubt that you will show up. Period.
Give credit where it’s due
“I've never been the best person at doing every job. Finding the spotlight isn't about standing in it. There's so much to be gained from working with people who support each other to achieve great things.”
Ever heard the saying ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’? You may be accomplished in most aspects of a successful business, but you can’t make it run at its maximum potential without the support of a strong team. Branson has always been the first to attribute his many successes to the relevant teams that helped him achieve it. To him, sharing the spotlight with those who help you get to where you are is one of the most important traits of being a good businessman or woman.
Don’t waste your passion and time
“If a new business opportunity or project doesn't excite me, and if it's not something with which I can have a lot of seriously creative fun, then I'd rather pass on it and move right along. Life's too short to waste your time doing things that don't light your fire.”
Quite simply put, if you aren’t waking up every morning looking forward to the work you have to do, don’t do it. Everyone has off days, but if they begin to recur at regular intervals, it’s time to take a long, hard look and introspect if whether you’re happy with your job and can see yourself in it for the long haul. If the answer is a shuddering no, then get out. Take time off and find what truly ruffles your feathers, in the good way. Sounds easier said than done, but if you never try, you’ll never know the better things kept in store for you.
Don’t put a limit to your dreams
“Don't be self-conscious about dreaming, or about people thinking you're too idealistic and not serious enough. Don't allow your self-talk to be judgmental. Look at the world with wide-eyed enthusiasm, believe you are more powerful than the problems that confront you and dream big.”
The surest way to cut your own wings when you wish to soar is by putting a limit on your dreams. Concepts riddled from paranoia on things like it should be ‘this much’ and ‘this long’ should not feature in your future plans to do something different, exciting, and big, which will be your own success story to write about some day.
You may follow an entirely different success mantra and belief system, which is completely your own prerogative. But remember, these simple rules helped turn a young boy with many insecurities into a multi-billion dollar worth Richard Branson. Something to ponder about maybe.
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