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10 Reasons Why Richard Branson Is So Successful

10 Reasons Why Richard Branson Is So Successful

It may come as a surprise, but Richard Branson wasn’t always the over-achieving entrepreneur that he is today. Sure, he was in business by the age of 20, but he was also a high school drop out who was under investigation for tax evasion and looked like an unwashed hippie. He did however manage to turn his life around and is now the head of a multi-billion dollar empire who has his sites set on space. So what makes Sir Richard so special, and how did he achieve so much success in a single lifetime?

Photo Credit: www.australianretail.com.au

    Photo Credit: www.australianretail.com.au

    1. He has fun

    Mr. Branson recognizes that you won’t be truly successful unless you enjoy what you’re doing and allow time for fun. He himself has stated that when he no longer enjoys a project, it’s time to move on from it.

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    2. He’s visible

    And no, I’m not just referring to the flight attendant uniform incident.

    What good is a leader who is stuck behind a desk? You can’t very well lead from an office can you? Sir Richard literally makes it his business to get out and about to visit his employees, as well as his customers. He has mentioned in interviews that when he is on one of his flights, he will go and meet his crew and passengers with a notebook in hand. He states that this way he can both hear and record their ideas. Despite being as busy and important as he is, he takes their names and email addresses and makes a point of responding to them by the next day.

    His philosophy is to run large businesses in the same way as a small one‒by being responsive and friendly. This is a successful philosophy to have, because both his staff and customers are left feeling appreciated he himself is humanized. Happy people equals loyalty, hard work and ultimately profit. This is impossible to achieve if your only contact with your employees is through the occasional company newsletter and a Christmas card that has obviously been signed by your secretary.

    3. He’s an amazing leader

    This follows on from the previous point. He’s a good leader because he’s present and takes the time to listen. How can you lead if you don’t have any real idea of what’s going on in your company. And by that I don’t mean the head office where people leave early on a Friday but then demand the retail stores cut staffing and work overtime for free. Branson gets off his ass and makes sure he knows exactly how his businesses are being run on each and every level. This is what makes him a good leader. He ensures that he has genuine knowledge and that his staff members are allowed input.

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    4. He creates things that stand out

    Sir Richard recognizes that in the modern world, it is notoriously difficult for a company to survive unless it stands out in some way. In fact, you have to be radically different. Take Virgin Atlantic for example. They’re known for their outstanding customer service. Branson made this a priority aboard his planes because he was sick of subpar service on other airlines. The fact that his flight attendants are also renowned for being particularly attractive is a subject for another article.

    In addition, Virgin Atlantic were also the first company to offer premium economy, in-seat entertainment, onboard beauty therapists and drive through check in.

    5. He has perseverance

    Despite being such a success today, things didn’t always look so rosie for Richard Branson. For starters, he suffers from dyslexia, which made both reading and learning certain things incredibly difficult. Although this still effects him today, he has never let it hold him back.

    Furthermore, he experienced a myriad of problems at the beginning of his career. Some of these included cash-flow problems, tax issues, law violation and even a night in jail. Instead of giving up, he chose to learn from his mistakes and use them to guide him later in life. It also inspired him to educate himself in certain areas of business so he could persevere and succeed.

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    6. He breaks the rules

    Richard Branson hasn’t been successful by following along with what everyone else does. He breaks the rules and takes risks, albeit calculated ones. After his early career troubles, he learned that innovation was the key to success, but that some confines were necessary. As such, he uses his past mistakes and intuition to guide him and engages in trial and error when it comes to new ventures. Perhaps the greatest lesson that he learned was that failures can lead to great ideas.

    7. He says “yes”

    Branson has never been afraid to say “yes” to new concepts, ideas and pursuits. This is why The Virgin Group is now an empire made of over 200 diverse companies. He hasn’t simply stuck to one area; he has branched out. He’s always ready to learn and try something new.

    8. He respects his staff

    As previously discussed, Branson shows his staff respect and takes the time to meet and listen to them. This in turn makes his employees both proud of and loyal to their company and boss. This is imperative, because the best ambassadors for a brand or company are those who work for it, and Sir Richard has recognized that this will ultimately help make them successful.

    9. He gives back

    Any successful person who is at all decent knows that it’s their social responsibility to help those in need and do some good for the world. For those who believe in karma, this makes a fair amount of sense. From a pragmatic viewpoint, it also shows that you’re caring and not a greedy, money grubbing pig. This kind of positive publicity is good for profits, as well as the people you’re aiding.

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    Despite his relatively humble beginnings, Branson began giving back to the community at the age of 17. He did this by starting his own charity and he has pledged money to countless others since. He is known particularly for his educational work in Africa, as well as pledging three billion dollars over the next decade to go towards reducing global warming.

    10. He dreams big

    Branson started with a local newspaper and has built eight separate billion dollar companies, but he’s not stopping there. Next on his agenda is conquering both the ocean and space. Move over, Kirk and Nemo.

    Virgin Galactic is being planned for suborbital space, whereas Virgin Oceanic will be used to explore the lowest trenches of the deep and probably discover R’lyeh. Tell Cthulhu I said “Ia ia.”

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    Tegan Jones

    Commercial editor for global publications Gizmodo, Kotaku, Lifehacker & Business Insider.

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    Last Updated on March 21, 2019

    11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

    11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

    Most gurus talk about habits in a way that doesn’t help you:

    You need to push yourself more. You can’t be lazy. You need to wake up at 5 am. You need more motivation. You can never fail…blah blah “insert more gibberish here.”

    But let me share with you the unconventional truths I found out:

    To build and change habits, you don’t need motivation or wake up at 5 am. Heck, you can fail multiple times, be lazy, have no motivation and still pull it off with ease.

    It’s quite simple and easy to do, especially with the following list I’m going to show to you. But remember, Jim Rohn used to say,

    “What is simple and easy to do is also simple and easy not to do.”

    The important things to remember when changing your habits are both simple and easy, just don’t think that they don’t make any difference because they do.

    In fact, they are the only things that make a difference.

    Let’s see what those small things are, shall we?

    1. Start Small

    The biggest mistake I see people doing with habits is by going big. You don’t go big…ever. You start small with your habits.

    Want to grow a book reading habit? Don’t start reading a book a day. Start with 10 pages a day.

    Want to become a writer? Don’t start writing 10,000 words a day. Start with 300 words.

    Want to lose weight? Don’t stop eating ice cream. Eat one less ball of it.

    Whatever it is, you need to start small. Starting big always leads to failure. It has to, because it’s not sustainable.

    Start small. How small? The amount needs to be in your comfort zone. So if you think that reading 20 pages of a book is a bit too much, start with 10 or 5.

    It needs to appear easy and be easy to do.

    Do less today to do more in a year.

    2. Stay Small

    There is a notion of Kaizen which means continuous improvement. They use this notion in habits where they tell you to start with reading 1 page of a book a day and then gradually increase the amount you do over time.

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    But the problem with this approach is the end line — where the “improvement” stops.

    If I go from reading 1 page of a book a day and gradually reach 75 and 100, when do I stop? When I reach 1 book a day? That is just absurd.

    When you start a habit, stay at it in the intensity you have decided. Don’t push yourself for more.

    I started reading 20 pages of a book a day. It’s been more than 2 years now and I’ve read 101 books in that period. There is no way I will increase the number in the future.

    Why?

    Because reading 40 to 50 books a year is enough.

    The same thing applies to every other habit out there.

    Pick a (small) number and stay at it.

    3. Bad Days Are 100 Percent Occurrence

    No matter how great you are, you will have bad days where you won’t do your habit. Period.

    There is no way of going around this. So it’s better to prepare yourself for when that happens instead of thinking that it won’t ever happen.

    What I do when I miss a day of my habit(s) is that I try to bounce back the next day while trying to do habits for both of those days.

    Example for that is if I read 20 pages of a book a day and I miss a day, the next day I will have to read 40 pages of a book. If I miss writing 500 words, the next day I need to write 1000.

    This is a really important point we will discuss later on rewards and punishments.

    This is how I prepare for the bad days when I skip my habit(s) and it’s a model you should take as well.

    4. Those Who Track It, Hack It

    When you track an activity, you can objectively tell what you did in the past days, weeks, months, and years. If you don’t track, you will for sure forget everything you did.

    There are many different ways you can track your activities today, from Habitica to a simple Excel sheet that I use, to even a Whatsapp Tracker.

    Peter Drucker said,

    “What you track is what you do.”

    So track it to do it — it really helps.

    But tracking is accompanied by one more easy activity — measuring.

    5. Measure Once, Do Twice

    Peter Drucker also said,

    “What you measure is what you improve.”

    So alongside my tracker, I have numbers with which I measure doses of daily activities:

    For reading, it’s 20 pages.
    For writing, it’s 500 words.
    For the gym, it’s 1 (I went) or 0 (didn’t go).
    For budgeting, it’s writing down the incomes and expenses.

    Tracking and measuring go hand in hand, they take less than 20 seconds a day but they create so much momentum that it’s unbelievable.

    6. All Days Make a Difference

    Will one day in the gym make you fit? It won’t.

    Will two? They won’t.

    Will three? They won’t.

    Which means that a single gym session won’t make you fit. But after 100 gym sessions, you will look and feel fit.

    What happened? Which one made you fit?

    The answer to this (Sorites paradox)[1] is that no single gym session made you fit, they all did.

    No single day makes a difference, but when combined, they all do. So trust the process and keep on going (small).

    7. They Are Never Fully Automated

    Gurus tell you that habits become automatic. And yes, some of them do, like showering a certain way of brushing your teeth.

    But some habits don’t become automatic, they become a lifestyle.

    What I mean by that is that you won’t automatically “wake up” in the gym and wonder how you got there.

    It will just become a part of your lifestyle.

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    The difference is that you do the first one automatically, without conscious thought, while the other is a part of how you live your life.

    It’s not automatic, but it’s a decision you don’t ponder on or think about — you simply do it.

    It will become easy at a certain point, but they will never become fully automated.

    8. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

    Marshall Goldsmith has a great book with the same title to it. The phrase means that sometimes, you will need to ditch certain habits to make room for other ones which will bring you to the next step.

    Don’t be afraid to evolve your habits when you sense that they don’t bring you where you want to go.

    When I started reading, it was about reading business and tactic books. But two years into it, I switched to philosophy books which don’t teach me anything “applicable,” but instead teach me how to think.

    The most important ability of the 21st century is the ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn. The strongest tree is the willow tree – not because it has the strongest root or biggest trunk, but because it is flexible enough to endure and sustain anything.

    Be like a willow, adapting to the new ways of doing things.

    9. Set a Goal and Then Forget It

    The most successful of us know what they want to achieve, but they don’t focus on it.

    Sounds paradoxical? You’re right, it does. But here is the logic behind it.

    You need to have a goal of doing something – “I want to become a healthy individual” – and then, you need to reverse engineer how to get there with your habits- “I will go to the gym four times a week.”

    But once you have your goal, you need to “forget” about it and only focus on the process. Because you are working on the process of becoming healthy and it’s always in the making. You will only be as healthy as you take care of your body.

    So you have a goal which isn’t static but keeps on moving.

    If you went to the gym 150 times year and you hit your goal, what would you do then? You would stop going to the gym.

    This is why goal-oriented people experience yo-yo effect[2] and why process-oriented people don’t.

    The difference between process-oriented and goal-oriented people is that the first focus on daily actions while others only focus on the reward at the finish line.

    Set a goal but then forget about it and reap massive awards.

    10. Punish Yourself

    Last two sections are pure Pavlovian – you need to punish bad behavior and reward good behavior. You are the only person who decides what is good and what is bad for you, but when you do, you need to rigorously follow that.

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    I’ve told you in point #3 about bad days and how after one occurs, I do double the work on the next day. That is one of my forms of punishments.

    It’s the need to tell your brain that certain behaviors are unacceptable and that they lead to bad outcomes. That’s what punishments are for.

    You want to tell your brain that there are real consequences to missing your daily habits.[3]

    No favorite food to eat or favorite show to watch or going to the cinema for a new Marvel movie- none, zero, zilch.

    The brain will remember these bad feelings and will try to avoid the behaviors that led to them as much as possible.

    But don’t forget the other side of the same coin.

    11. Reward Yourself

    When you follow and execute on your plan, reward yourself. It’s how the brain knows that you did something good.

    Whenever I finish one of my habits for the day, I open my tracker (who am I kidding, I always keep it open on my desktop) and fill it with a number. As soon as I finish reading 20 pages of a book a day (or a bit more), I open the tracker and write the number down.

    The cell becomes green and gives me an instant boost of endorphin – a great success for the day. Then, it becomes all about not breaking the chain and having as many green fields as possible.

    After 100 days, I crunch some numbers and see how I did.

    If I have less than 10 cheat days, I reward myself with a great meal in a restaurant. You can create your own rewards and they can be daily, weekly, monthly or any arbitrary time table that you create.

    Primoz Bozic, a productivity coach, has gold, silver, and bronze medals as his reward system.[4]

    If you’re having problems creating a system which works for you, contact me via email and we can discuss specifics.

    In the End, It Matters

    What you do matters not only to you but to the people around you.

    When you increase the quality of your life, you indirectly increase the quality of life of people around you. And sometimes, that is all the “motivation” we need to start.

    And that’s the best quote for the end of this article:

    “Motivation gets you started, but habits keep you going.”

    Keep going.

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    More Resources to Help You Build Habits

    Featured photo credit: Anete Lūsiņa via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Sorites paradox
    [2] Muscle Zone: What causes yo-yo effect and how to avoid it?
    [3] Growth Habits: 5 Missteps That Cause You To Quit Building A Habit
    [4] Primoz Bozic: The Lean Review: How to Plan Your 2019 in 20 Minutes

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