It seems paradoxical that in order to find yourself, you should first risk losing it. But why this agonizing process that starts with losing and ends with gaining? Simply because your self is fake; it has been corrupted, spoiled and intoxicated by society that laid the rules. We’ve been programmed upon a set of rules devised by politicians, educators, religious people in order for them to control you. Otherwise, humanity will be in utter chaos. Being naively miseducated, we accept what we’ve been told. The result is lazy souls blindly toeing the lines of their manipulators rather than listening to their passions and hearts.
Our leader here is someone who decided willingly to follow his bliss and passion. He knew from an early age that to find his real self he got to first let go of the fake one – the one created by society. How a school dropout at the age of 16 made a decision of starting his own business. The legendary Richard Branson started his passionate journey with his Student magazine – that was in the year of 1968. Now his empire encompasses companies that range from airlines to music to Cola to retail to financial services to bridal wear. His story of evolution is vividly described in his book, Finding My Virginity.
The following are core lessons that derived from his life:
Down with Conventions
Businesses are revolving around shareholders. Then comes customers and lastly employees. Branson defies this and put employees first. He believes that a happy, thrilled employee is the real engine of enterprising. Put your employees first and everything follows: that's his conviction. During the massive layoffs in the nineties of the last century, Branson was a proponent of investing and motivating his employees to reach their potentials. While his competitors’ path was the least resistance, his was the path of greatest opportunity, wherever it leads.
The Hierarchical Order
The management hierarchy, bureaucracy, centralization was replaced by a networked, horizontal and agile offices. Branson’s imagining and creating the future was starkly in opposition to protecting the past. In such a system of clear communication leaders will take charge and architects replace maintenance engineers of the sterile old system.
He made use of entrenched competitors’ complacency. Hence the name of Virgin that connotes innocence. He always looks for a niche in a well-entrenched market. The industry leader is resting on his laurels and feels complacent with his profits; that’s where Virgin digs in and finds a hole in the market and in people's minds.
Branson encourages the need to unlearn so that you can learn. In such times of rapid changes, assumptions need to be questioned. Being unable to adapt fast enough with changing conditions, we risk dying off like dinosaurs that failed to alter and adjust in the face of sweeping changes.
To be mature and evolved human being is to regain your innocence and virginity that had been taken away by society.