It is not commonly known that Richard Branson attributes his immense success in the world of entrepreneurship and business to his habit of journalling and self reflection.
He says that persistent note-taking, the jotting down of every idea – simple or complex – is what has helped him get ahead in life. If he cannot write down a thought that strikes him, by the next morning it may be gone forever.
Rising to a $4.2 billion success story
As of March 2019, Richard Branson’s estimated net worth is $4.2 billion. As the Founder of the Virgin Group that controls more than 400 companies, he ventured into entrepreneurship at the tender age of 16.
Alongside successful endeavours such as Virgin Records, Virgin Atlantic Airways, Virgin Mobile, and Virgin Hotels amongst others, Branson is also known for his involvement in philanthropic initiatives.
He is a founding sponsor of the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC) and also set up the Branson School of Entrepreneurship in South Africa.
Given his penchant for adventure and thrills, Branson has also attempted various world record-breaking attempts such as crossing the Pacific from Japan to Canada in his hot air balloon.
He was mentioned in the Guinness Book of World Records in 2014 three times. Firstly for being the oldest person to cross the English Channel by kiteboard, secondly for having the most followers on LinkedIn, and lastly for being the richest presenter in reality television.
He has even been knighted for his services to entrepreneurship.
How Richard Branson keeps his journal?
Branson always carries a notebook with him and makes a list of goals to achieve.
Once these goals are reached, he makes sure to cross them off the list. “Don’t just take notes for the sake of taking notes, go through your ideas and turn them into actionable and measurable goals,” he says.
Once, when he had a business idea and no notebook handy, he wrote it down in his passport! And it worked!
Branson points out that it is not necessary to make your notes with a pen and paper alone. A phone, tablet, or any other such device that lets you record your notes will do just fine.
The power of jotting down ideas
Branson terms journaling his “secret life hack”. He simply jots down ideas that come to him irrespective of the time or place.
Branson strongly feels that there is no specific time for self-reflection and you must simply seize the moment. He says that a lot of his scribbles later turn into posts on his personal blog. Branson has been listing out his tasks and goals since childhood.]
Branson credits his obsession with note-taking and self-reflection with helping him “make sense of the world, bring order to the ideas in my head, and start turning them into action.”
He believes that positive thoughts can be translated into positive actions, but this is possible only if you can hang on to the thought long enough for you to work on channeling it into self-development.
Pushing through challenges
Branson has battled dyslexia throughout his life, and as a child, was poor at academics.
Though his initial attempts to start a business failed, he did not give up and persisted to launch a magazine known as Student before moving on to set up a record store which later grew into Virgin Records.
On the way to becoming a billionaire, Branson did encounter his share of failures such as Virgin Clothing, Virgin Digital, Virgin Cola, and Virgin Cars, to name a few.
However, all along, he has maintained that the secret to getting back on your feet is to not fear failures. He advocates self-reflection to motivate yourself to do better next time around.
Making the good type of mistakes
Branson stresses that there is nothing wrong in making mistakes as long as you don’t repeat the same ones over and over again. An example of this is his persistence with the space program through Virgin Galactic, a spaceflight company that is part of the Virgin Group.
The aim of this company is to develop commercial spacecraft that can take tourists on suborbital spaceflights for a price as well as facilitating suborbital launches for missions involving space science.
Branson experienced quite a setback in 2014 when one of the spaceships crashed. One pilot was killed and another injured in the incident, which cast a big cloud over the future of the project.
What does the future hold?
Notwithstanding the fact that he’s pushing 70, the inimitable Richard Branson feels that no one should retire. He does not believe in slowing down and feels that one should not do so if one is doing something interesting.
Tackling climate change by espousing the need for clean energy tops the billionaire’s current list of things to do alongside his pursuit of space tourism through Virgin Galactic, which has managed to successfully enter outer space in 2018.
How you can get started with self-reflection?
Working towards self-development is half the battle. Nurture positivity and bring about productive change in yourself and those around you.
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