Richard Branson needs little introduction. He’s a renegade billionaire and one of the most famous billionaires because of it. His stunts, like driving through New York in a tank or air ballooning around the world, emanate his love of life.
Previously, I wrote a book summary on his book Business Stripped Bare, which is an easy-to-understand book on general business tips. This article summarizes his book The Virgin Way, which covers a broader subject matter of life success, career success, occasional business tips, and Virgin’s culture. Here are 13 rules of success I learned:
1. Screw It, Just Do It
People are too paralyzed by analysis. Just do it.
2. Keep Making Mistakes, Just Make Sure To Learn From Them
Branson says that many people are too paralyzed to even start.
They’re too scared of screwing up to even begin.
He says it’s fine to constantly fail as long as you learn from them.
3. Don’t Make The Same Mistake Over and Over
It’s OK to keep screwing up.
But remember to learn from it so you don’t make the same thing over again.
I think a lot of people make this mistake constantly without even realizing it.
4. Find And Do Something You’re Passionate About And Enjoy
Branson says this is a key to great success.
You must do what you love.
Also, you tend to enjoy life more.
I’d like to add that this is not something you hope falls into your lap.
Based on my own experience and me studying man others, this is something that takes a ton and effort to create.
5. Make A Positive Difference In Other People’s Lives
He says you shouldn’t even be in business if you’re not doing this.
The best businesses are ones that make a positive difference for their customers, employees, and the world.
6. Be Proud Of What You Do And Be The Best At It
If you’re not proud of your accomplishments, why should anyone else be?
Focus on becoming the best and the rest will follow.
7. Focus On Long Term Profits And Not Short-Term Gains
Many business owners sacrifice long-term profitability for short-term profit gains or ego-gratification.
Or simply to look go as a company in the short-term for the media or public outlets.
Don’t fall for this trap.
8. Have Fun
If You’re Not Having Fun, Move On.
This is probably the most striking feature of Branson that I find different from other billionaires.
He really values enjoying life, doing what’s awesome, he does things in radically different ways, really cares for his employees and customers, and can start businesses in completely new industries.
Some people might say “Easy for Richard Branson to say. The only thing fun for me is video games and that doesn’t pay!”
This is something I’ve tried to work out too in my own life.
I think it’s good to expose yourself to new interests and find things where you might also be interested that you thought wouldn’t.
Sometimes, you have to develop skills and abilities to get jobs or create businesses that are fun in the ways you want.
Its’ not easy and it doesn’t fall in your lap.
Have a team that has fun with what they do as well.
9. Never Give Up
The easy thing to is always to quit.
Richard says that most people fail because they give up too quickly.
Branson (as well as Steve Jobs and many others.. see Steve’s interview with Bill Gates) stuck through during the tough times because he absolutely loved what he did.
Most people will give up during the dark times because it’s too hard and not fun enough.
10. LISTEN and Take Notes
Make lists to keep track of your goals.
Listen to everyone: employees, customers, and so on.
Write notes on everything.
They will help out.
11. Hire Your Weaknesses And Delegate
This frees you up to do what you are best at and love doing.
You have to be humble enough and smart enough to know your weaknesses
12. Don’t Spend Your Life Staring At A Screen
Branson says the best adventures are when you get out there and see things in person.
13. Communicate and Collaborate. Keep It Simple.
It’s important to collaborate and communicate effectively. In the books Rework and Business Adventures (see the chapter Impacted Philosophers), it is clear how seemingly simple instructions can be misinterpretted.
Consider a collaborative architecture and hierarchy as mentioned in Branson’s book and Creativity Inc (written by the president of Pixar about Pixar).
Branson recommends an equally spaced hierarchy between him and all the other departments out there like an epicenter so that no one feels left out or a lower class than a different department.
Mr. Edwin Catmull said that Steve Jobs made Pixar’s campus open so that people had to mingle and talk to each other in order to go to the bathroom.
He also had a similar seating hierarchy during meetings so that lower-tier employees did not feel excluded or farther away in meetings. He had to learn this the hard way after realizing that they were left out because of the elongated tables.
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