When do you think of the word successful what Person comes first to mind?
For me, success means that you live an extraordinarily adventurous life. A life on your terms. That you have successfully monetized your passion and that you add massive value to others while doing so. That you work with fun and amazing people and solve together big problems for the world.
To me, nobody else personifies these ideas more than Sir Richard Branson.
Who is Richard Branson?
Richard Branson is one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world today. He is the founder of the Virgin Group and with he has a net worth of over 5 billion dollars! Damn, that is a lot of money right?! Normally I am reluctant when It comes to equating networth with success. Think of bankers for example who are only in their office their entire life. Words like boring or clockwork come to mind.
Boring is a word you would never associate with Richard Branson. And he is not your typical billionaire(if there is anything as such).
Richard Branson was born in 1950 and he had a very happy childhood. In his book, he describes how his parents always challenged him.
Richard Branson Parents were in the upper middle class, so he was not born super rich.
In school, Richard Branson was everything else than outstanding. He was dyslexic and failed hopelessly in math and other sciences. However even there seemed to be an aura around him.
When Richard Branson graduated the school’s headmaster said to him: “You will either go to prison or become a millionaire.” Little did he know that he was right with both.
Branson’s first entrepreneurial endeavor was to create a student magazine that included interviewing Mick Jagger and John Lemmon among many others. One of the things that fascinated me with this magazine was that the goal was not primarily to make money but to have fun.
Branson gang of friends was obsessed with music and they decided to sell records via mail. This project later became Virgin music business.
The first singer Virgin signed was a young musician called Mike Oldfield. This was an odd choice because the Virgin music was a rock music label, and Mike Oldfield had no vocals in his album Tubular Bells.
This song was one of the biggest- selling albums of the 1970s. Later they collaborated with big bands like Sex Pistols, Phil Collins, Human League and many other stars. They became really big and were floating in cash.
What surprised me was that he went form the music business into founding an airline. He was always a big-time investor and eventually through some weird circumstances, he received a proposal to establish a new airline that would compete with British Airways.
So Richard Branson negotiated to rent a boing 747 for a year. This to me was crazy that he would try something this big on a whim without being afraid just to see if it works.
So why did I choose to make a book review about losing my virginity?
Being a millionaire with 22? Flying over the Atlantic in a balloon? Being knighted by the Queen? Buying your own Island? Trying to make free wifi for the entire world? Writing a bestseller when you are dyslexic? Founding “Virgin Interplanetary” in order to make space travel possible for everyone? Those are all crosses on his Richard Branson’s bucket list.
For me doing a book review about losing my virginity was a must. He personifies the perfect case study for success in my opinion. The sheer amount of impact that he had on the world, the brave business endeavors that he started, the adventurous expeditions that he undertook is just mindboggling.
And it deeply inspired me and showed me what is possible inside of one life on this planet.
As humans we have a beautiful ability that is unique to our species: We can read a story and relive the adventures and experiences in our head like we were the protagonist.
I think to soak in Richard Branson life journey is a must for every hungry men or woman. And to me it was super fascinating to see how different he thinks towards business, traveling and trying new things.
One of the cornerstones of my philosophy is that when you start to think like people with extreme results it will eventually rub of on you and you yourself will get better.
Emulating the thinking patterns, habits, tools, and life hacks from highly successful people is one of the focal points of my work right now.
3 Takeaways from Richards Branson’s Autobiography
- Problems are gold nuggets
In his autobiography, you can see that Richard Branson thinks in a unique way. For him, problems are gold nuggets. He searches for markets that need a shakeup. Is there a way to do it better or cooler or more customer orientated?
This was the Idea behind virgin Airways. He did not like the way British Airways were exploiting their monopoly position. The prizes were going up for the customers and the quality and comfort was going down. Richard Branson saw this problem as a business opportunity. I believe we all should think this way.
What does the world need? Where does a shakeup need to happen? In which market do people deserve better? Where is my expertise needed the most?
Ask yourself bevor starting a business if this endeavor is scratching your niche only or if you are actually are adding value and creating something new for other people.
Fusing a problem with your own talents will bring out the best in you in my opinion because you are driven by more than your personal needs. You think that the thing that you are building has to exist. And that people deserve better and that if you don’t do it nobody else will, so you almost have no choice but to create this startup, company or product.
- Follow your dreams.
As cheesy as this sounds, one of my major takeaways was that you need an exciting vision for your future. A dream. Something that you never get tired of talking about. A vision that keeps you up late at night and wakes you up early.
In order to become successful, let alone a billionaire you need to excel in your field of expertise. You won’t get there if you don’t feel fun and excitement for the thing that you do. If your dream is as big as becoming a billionaire you gotta eat it, sleep it, breathe it and develop a total obsession that you love it.
I believe that what is rewarded is repeated. And if you associate sacrifice and stress and discomfort to your work you won’t be able to put in the extra hours. On the other side if you love what you do then why should you stop after 8 hours? This enables you to work longer and harder than someone who has to do it.
I believe having a dream is a necessity for humans in order to be happy. A compelling goal that gives us a goal that requires our absolute best version of yourself. I found through my investigation of unhappiness that people who have depression, for example, don’t see a future for themselves at all. They think that they are going to stay in this painful place forever. This, of course, makes the situation worse.
Having a compelling future and a dream gives us the impression that even though we may have a shitty day, our life will not always be shitty. This gives us the courage to move on and take the next challenge because our dream is worth not giving up. Furthermore, a dream stops us from sabotaging ourselves in my opinion. If you want to become big in any niche it is much harder, in my opinion, to get shit faced every weekend because you are directly sabotaging your dream.
So find something that deserves your absolute best version of yourself.
What job would you want to have if you would not need a job?
- Don’t give up
Again this sounds cheesy. But one of my personal takeaways from Richards Branson’s Book and other super high achievers was that they share one habit in particular: The habit of Perseverance.
They all seem fucking batshit crazy when it comes to giving up. There is something infectious about just going through hardships in business or Life. The ability to push through no matter what the odds are and no matter how unrealistic their dream is.
To me, it seems that super high achievers seem to live in their own world sometimes. And that they have the ability to march forward even if they are laughed at or ridiculed. They don’t give up, and this enables them to inspire others to march with them. I believe that the combination of kindness and sheer strength is something that is important for people when they choose their leader. and Richard Branson personifies both traits. I don’t think it is a coincidence that amazing people share around guys like him. Richard Branson is so outspoken about what he wants to do that people get caught up in his dream as well and they start to collaborate and make things happen. Big things.
- Don’t Give A Fuck
Richard Branson seems to have the ability to be less stressed than others even in the face of extreme pressure or uncertainty. So there seems to be something crazy involved in the way he perceives things. To keep your cool even in the face of extreme situations is really a skill for itself. Being threatened by entire countries because he flew accidentally with his ballon over a war zone or being sued for millions by British Airways or founding an airline or trying to make space travel affordable for everybody are just project normal persons would never attack. Richard Branson however just simply does not seem to give a fuck about what is normal or not.
To have this playfulness when it comes to thinking big and actually going out and trying new things that are totally not in his expertise is, in my opinion, one of the reasons why he is successful. Sometimes in life, you just need to throw things against the wall and see what sticks. I think one of the best ways to live a boring unhappy life is to stay always in your comfort zone. By constantly tying big things you fail a lot, yes, but failing also brings opportunity with it, after all without trying you newer realize what you are capable of.
So I would encourage you to be delusional and unrealistic sometimes and shoot for the stars and try adventures or business endeavors that might 100x your life, even though you might fail hard.
On every adventure I have been on — whether setting up a business, flying around the world in a balloon or racing across the ocean in a boat — there have been moments when the easy thing to do would be to give up,”
My personal Take Away from the Book
I was fascinated with Richard Branson’s personal journey. Starting at age 17 with a student Magazine and being 6 years later a millionaire and 20 years later a billionaire. And that he had a shit ton of fun along the way doing so! I loved the fusion of business and adventure that Richard Branson embodies.
My biggest Take away from the book was that I needed to think bigger. Like a lot bigger. Most of my dreams were centered around me. Things I wanted to have. Milestones I wanted to achieve
Richard Branson thinks of Problems in the world as potential business opportunities. And that you should choose a market that is fun and brings you joy and that is compatible with your skills. He believes that you get rich by solving peoples problems. And the more problems you solve the richer you get.
So I asked myself :
What major Problems do we have in society?
Are there some big problems that I could help solve?
My expertise lies in clinical psychology and behavior psychology meaning that I help people to form new behavior and get rid of undesired behavior. A psychologist normally works with one person at a time. So being inspired by Richard Branson habit of thinking big I thought of ways how to help more persons.
So did two things after reading this book:
1)I multiplied the number of people that I wanted to help by 100. I asked myself how can I help 100 persons at a time instead of only 1? So thought about scaleable ways to create behavior-changing products like books, masterclasses and writing articles, creating a podcast and generally helping people at scale.
2)The realization that If I wanted to contribute on attacking big problems such as depression and addiction I needed to become an expert in those fields first. Otherwise, I would not be adding value. This was a big part of deciding that I wanted to become a nomadic psychologist and professional learner. The Idea of traveling the world and interviewing outstanding scientists, spiritual leaders, biohackers, successful entrepreneurs in order to find habits, patterns, behaviors, tools, and hacks that make other people better became a necessity for me. Also, I needed to create a system around myself where I am constantly forced to stay in learning mode. I believe that the more I learn the more value I am able to give.
If people arent calling you crazy, you arent thinking big enough — Richard Branson
Call to action
Grab a sheet of paper and write down
- If failure were not an option where would you be in 3 years?
- What amount of money do you want to make then?
- Now Multiply your dream and your dreamed income by 10 x!
- What would you have to do if you want to achieve that 10xed dream and income in 6 months? Write down 10 answers
- What can you do today to make your 6-month plan a reality?
- If you die tomorrow what would be things that you would regret the most? What Ideas would die with you?