The founder of Virgin Atlantic Airlines, Virgin Cola, Virgin Mobile, and lots of other Virgin lines, Richard Branson, had no formal training, no education, no money, and no nothing and yet he became a billionaire at the age of 39. Apparently his mother was sitting down telling true stories about her son to the BBC one day, when they asked her how this kid of hers became a billionaire — he has no training, no education, no nothing, they stated. His mother promptly replied that, well, there were lots of reasons. She then decided to give one very illustrative tale.
She told the story about when he was seven, maybe eight-years-old, and how she drove him 80 miles away from his home in London with his bicycle. She stated that she gave him a map, a sandwich and his bike and then drove off, saying to “find your way home, son.” She drove back home to London, but it took him about three days to get back. He slept in parks on his way home. When he walked in the door, three days later, she said he stated he felt like, “I was a conquering hero and that no longer was there anything I could not do.” The point of the story, while this is a very extreme example, is that this imprinting at a young age is one of the reasons why he became a billionaire at the age of 39 and continues to flourish to this day.
I highlighted some sections in the August issue of Business 2.0, which subscribers of our Entrepreneurial Essentials will be getting, where Branson talks about the transforming ability of shear willpower. He also states in the article, “There is a very, very thin dividing line between survival and failure. You’ve just got to fight and fight and fight and fight to survive.” Pretty good advise from this modern-day P.T. Barnum. You may recall it was Barnum who stated, “Without promotion, something terrible happens . . . nothing!”