Every time I get interviewed I am asked why I am doing this – what could possibly prompt me to take such a “radical” decision. The easy and straightforward answer that has been reported in the press is that I am doing this to move on from a failed marriage, and that seems to be what everyone focusses on.
However, as many people point out, others have had their marriages fail, and yet have not taken such a course, they simply deal with what has happened and try to move on. I guess that for me, this is my way of dealing with and moving on.
But there are other influences at work too, no decision is ever taken because of one factor. In anything we do we weigh up all of our previous experiences, our thoughts and actions, our beliefs and goals, and make a decision based on all of these.
For as long as I can remember I think have looked at things in a different way to most other people. I have always had an eye for the unusual and the exciting. I have never really enjoyed working for other people, and have spent a great deal of my life being self-employed, or running a business alongside a job.
I can remember at school, myself and a friend would use the commonroom oven at lunch time to make baked potatoes and sell them to the other kids. Since those early days I have quite a few jobs, but have also spent a lot of time working for myself. I have been a freelance outdoor ed instructor, an independent motor trader, dealt in mobile phone accessories, run a jet ski hire business, a cycle hire business, a wedding cars business, printed magazines, imported stuff from China to sell on eBay, and much more.
For as long as I can remember, Richard Branson has been a personal hero. I read with fascination his autobiography, “Losing My Virginity”, and recently a friend gave me a copy of his more recent book, “Screw It, Let’s Do It”.
For me, the attitude expressed in this book is what life is about, and I find his thoughts insightful and encouraging. A lot of the people who have commented on my current course of action have suggested that they would perhaps like to do something like this, but would never be able to – do yourselves a favour and read this book.
I think that the copy I was given is an abridged version aimed at teenage readers, bought by mistake, and I intend to buy the unabridged version too if available. I would recommend this as an ideal gift for any youngster trying to find their feet, and I don’t say this because I think RB needs any kind of help from me, he seems to be doing okay on his own, but because I really believe this is how life should be.
The lessons are simple, believe in yourself, value friends and family, act with honesty and integrity, make mistakes and learn from them, and never give up.
His Epilogue lists the following as the lessons he has learned throughout his life:-
Just do it
Think yes, not no
Make a difference
Stand on your own two feet
Live life to the full
When people ask why I am doing this, perhaps I should refer them to the above list.