It’s a relatively modern way to measure success, but you can be pretty sure that you’ve made it in life when you’ve been parodied on The Simpsons. Yeah, OK – if you’re a celebrity or a person of note, you might be asked to voice yourself or a thinly disguised version of yourself, and yet the delightfully bizarre storylines often just need to reference someone or something in a quick way, just to help the narrative along.
Richard Branson Rules
In an effort to be more loveable, The Simpsons’ resident billionaire Mr Burns tries to be more like Arthur Fortune, who is basically Richard Branson in cartoon form. Arthur Fortune gives a crowd of people free money, simply because he has too much, whereas Mr Burns pushes his way to the front of the crowd with an electric cattle prod. Apparently, producers of the show wanted Branson to voice the character, although it’s not known why he said no. Perhaps he was simply busy with his Virgin media empire; his plans to launch the first passenger carrying orbital spaceship; and generally being successful. People like Richard Branson has much to teach us mere mortals…
7 RULES OF LIFE
1. A PLAN HELPS, BUT IT ISN’T ESSENTIAL
This is perhaps the most important of Branson’s 7 rules of life, and yet you can’t help but wonder how serious he was when he wrote, “When I started Virgin from a basement in west London, there was no great plan or strategy. I didn’t set out to build a business empire … For me, building a business is all about doing something to be proud of, bringing talented people together and creating something that’s going to make a real difference to other people’s lives.”
2. LOVE WHAT YOU’RE DOING
OK, so this is true for pretty much anything in life, but when you consider the amount of dedication and drive it would have taken for someone like Branson to get where he is, you know it must be true. Richard Branson has become incredibly rich, and yet if money was his key motivator, it’s unlikely he would have been able to do what he has done.
3. PERFECTION ISN’T REALLY POSSIBLE
One of Branson’s business practices that should be a part of anyone’s 7 rules of life is the idea that it’s not possible to be 100% perfect. To think of some aspect (or all aspects) of your business operations as totally perfect removes the chance of further development, and more importantly, it can remove the very desire to develop.
“Listen. Take the best. Leave the rest.” – Richard Branson
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4. THE BRAND IS VERY IMPORTANT
From the very get go, you should be working on developing a corporate identity – one that you’re likely to want to stick with over the coming years and decades. While the Virgin logo has changed over the years, the attitude and identity of the company has not. They’ve developed a reputation for innovation and fun at all levels of operations, and this is something that has developed over time. When you’re starting out, attitude is key!
5. THE IMPORTANCE OF HAVING FUN
Sure, we can’t slack off from building a business empire and go and sit by the pool (or the bar), but it’s necessary to imbue a sense of fun into your business operations. It might not have been one of the 7 rules of life that Branson has officially listed, but he seems to take great joy in his job, and this is something that filters down throughout the company. If you have fun while still getting the job done, you might find that this vibe can become infectious.
6. GIVE A LITTLE SOMETHING BACK
Once you’ve attained success, it’s important to give a little something back… or a lot. Branson has joined a growing group of billionaires who have pledged to give away the majority of their wealth to charity. You should never feel guilty about well deserved success, and yet you can perhaps enjoy your success more when you can share it with those who are less fortunate.
7. ACCEPT THAT MISTAKES HAPPEN (AND LEARN FROM THEM!)
We all screw up. It’s a sometimes unfortunate part of life, and yet an entirely necessary one. Sometimes when you decide on the best course of action in your professional or personal life, you might end up being totally wrong. Don’t let these mistakes cripple you – simply admit that the end result is not the expected or desired one, and get to work on fixing whatever the issue is. And seriously, you’re likely to get more respect if you own your failures as well as your successes.
If you really want to find happiness in your life you can… Success is another story.