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8 principles you can learn from Richard Branson

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1. Respect is how to treat everyone, not just those you want to impress.

This is so important. Don’t be that guy, because people never forget and they rarely forgive this type of behaviour. Also, don’t associate with that guy. The last thing you want is to be mistaken for a manipulative ladder-oriented person simply because the person you have lunch with every so often is. In life, one not only needs to worry about their actions – ie, who they are – but also who they are perceived to be.

2. If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!

Don’t walk away from an amazing opportunity because of that nagging fear at the back of your mind. We all have those, and more often than not they are the only things standing between us and greatness. T his doesn’t mean you should aim waaaay out of your depth. Saying yes to doing someone’s taxes or dying their hair when you have no experience could have disastrous consequences. On the then hand, that job you know you’re slightly under qualified for, or the promotion you know you haven’t quite earned but want are great places to start, so apply for them and hope for the best. It’s better to try and hear a no than to never have gone for it at all.

3. The brave may not live forever – But the cautious do not live at all.

This is in both business and in life. Starting or new company, or leaving your current job is a scary thing, but without doing the things that terrify you – the things that are way out of your comfort zone – you never get the chance to grow as a person. It is said that we are the sum of our experiences, and that’s so true. So be brave and live a little.

4. Most “necessary evils” are far more evil than necessary.

That bribe you’re thinking about giving, or that boss who wants you to compromise a report – or worse, yourself – is not a necessary evil. Nothing ever really is, because we all tend to blow everything out of proportion based on our perception of the different situations we encounter. So you’ll get fired if you don’t do it? Maybe that’s what you need to be free for a bigger – and better – opportunity. Think in terms of the big picture. 10 years down the road, looking back at your actions today, would you be proud of the way you achieved your success? Or will the skeletons in your closet keep you up at night?

5. There have been times when I could have succumbed to some form of bribe, or could have had my way by offering one. But ever since that night in Dover prison I have never been tempted to break my vow.. My Parents always drummed into me that all you have life is your reputation: you may be very rich, but if you lose your good name you’ll never be happy.

This ties into the fourth point. Reputation is the key to legacy. It’s not just about appearing to be an upright person on the outside, but actually following through when the situation demands it. Each decision you make, whether publicly or privately defines you, and builds character, so be sure that you are developing into a person you can be proud to be.

6. Business opportunities are like buses; there’s always another one coming.

Don’t take for granted any opportunities you might have today, but don’t be too devastated if things don’t work out the way you hoped. Every new day gives us new opportunities to make meaningful connections – you just have to look out for them so you don’t miss the proverbial bus when it does drive by you.

7. Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.

This mainly applies to entrepreneurs, who need to remember not to bring their personal drama to work. Employees need to not only be valued but to also feel valued.

8. You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.

This is my favourite one on the list,; how important it is to pick yourself up after you fail. It is not a matter of if, but when you fall, will you have it in you to get up again? Bill Gates said that success is a lousy teacher, because it tricks smart people into thinking they can’t lose. This tells us that we should be grateful not only for the times where we succeeded, but for our failures as well because the way we handle those defines who we truly are.

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