In a recent article by Richard Branson, he includes a letter he received from a 9-year-old girl named Annie. In the letter, Annie tells Branson she invented an airplane. She included blueprints and told Branson it would be nice if he took a look at them. She describes how she decided the name of her airplane, the D-12 Splash. how she included blueprints for Branson to look at. You can read her letter here.
Richard Branson responded with awesome advice for Annie and young people everywhere. His advice?
1. Keep dreaming.
Branson writes to Annie, “Don’t ever let anyone prevent you from dreaming. Imagination is one of our greatest gifts. Without it we would never make the changes that make the world a better place.”
He has written in the past about dreaming big. On his company’s website, Branson states, “If your dreams don’t scare you, they are too small.” In the same article, he writes, “Those who achieve great things are the ones willing to be scared but not scared off. If you dream big and take big risks, impossible becomes just a word.”
2. Write your ideas down.
In his response to Annie, Branson tells her he loves her airplane designs, and says, “But more importantly, I love that you took the time to really think things out and get them on paper. Keep doing this. As you get older you’ll find it will help you achieve your dreams.” He explains to Annie how he’s constantly writing down his ideas as they come to him, and tells her he has carried a notebook with him at all times since childhood.
This isn’t the first time Branson has explained his daily habit of writing things down. In this article, he explains, “If you have a thought but don’t write it down, by the next morning it may be gone forever. I’ve always carried notebooks and make daily lists, scribble ideas, and jot down thoughts.” He described a situation where he had no paper to write down a new thought, so he wrote it on the only surface he had at the time – his passport. And if he wouldn’t have had his passport on him, Branson says, “I would have written on my hand.”
3. It’s important to innovate.
Innovation is defined by Merriam-Webster as the act or process of introducing new ideas, devices, or methods. Branson writes, “Innovation has been the key to many of humanity’s greatest successes.” He tells Annie he knows innovation is a big word but she’ll realize how important it is as she gets older.
4. Go for it.
Branson writes, “I also think it’s wonderful that you are looking at an industry that is largely made up by males. If you’re thinking about becoming an engineer or a pilot, then my advice is to go for it. Go out and grab it with both hands. The world needs more female engineers and pilots, and entrepreneurs. If you put your mind to it, you can achieve it – you’ve clearly got drive, which is a necessary quality of all these careers.”
In his book Screw It – Let’s Do It, he wrote about trusting his ability to do what he sets his mind to. Branson writes, “I also trust my own instinct and ability to do almost anything I set my mind to. If an idea or project is good and worthwhile, if it’s humanly possible I’ll always consider it seriously, even if I have never done it, or thought about it, before. I will never say, ‘I can’t do this because I don’t know how to.’ I’ll ask people, look into it, find a way.”
5. Ask for feedback in business and in life.
In closing, Branson thanked Annie for writing to him. He tells her, “It’s so important in life and in business to ask for feedback.”
Learning from advice from successful people can be incredibly valuable to young people. Hopefully these words of wisdom from Richard Branson will be as helpful for you as they have been for me.
Featured photo credit: Sir Richard Branson/Jarle Naustvik via flickr.com