My letter to 10 year-old me

Black and white photo of Richard Branson as a boy and a small child riding a horse in a forest
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Virgin Galactic
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Published on 14 December 2015

Andrew Johnston from Massachusetts sent me a #ChallengeRichard to write a letter to the 10, 25, 50, and 65 year old versions of myself. As each stage in life was so different, I decided to pen four separate letters. Here’s the first: My letter to 10 year-old me.

Dear Ricky,

I’m writing to you from 55 years in the future. You’re now 65 years old, and while you’ve lived a happy and healthy life with no regrets, I have some advice for you. 

You know how you love to play outdoors and explore the world around you? Never stop doing that. Always seek adventure. Learn to swim, find your own way home, and climb trees with Lindy, Vanessa and your friends. The spirit of adventure will keep you curious; open your mind to great opportunities; and steer you on a lifelong quest to prove that impossible is just a word. You will have many wonderful adventures in your life with the most incredible people – I won’t give away exactly what they are, as I don’t want to spoil the fun.

Black and white image of Richard Branson as a boy climbing a fallen tree
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On the topic of imagination, never stop dreaming and creating. Children are too often told that they cannot do this, and they shouldn’t do that – ignore them. Don’t ever let anyone prevent you from going after your dreams. Balloons, trains, planes and spaceships – whatever comes into your imagination, continue to dream big.

Your imagination is one of your greatest gifts – this will become more and more apparent when you enter secondary school. You will face many challenges, and often feel like you don’t fit in and that you can’t always keep up. Don’t let this hold you back. Use your imagination to find inventive ways around it. Your ability to think differently will become one of your biggest advantages in life – taking you places where most straight-A students will never go.

A black and white photo of a young Richard Branson in a group at school being handed a trophy
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Challenges will be a constant in your life. You will make a lot of mistakes and fail time and time again. But don’t let this discourage you. Failure teaches us life’s greatest lessons, and often shows us a better way of doing things. Don’t ever let failure get you down. Everyone fails. Your biggest heroes – including Douglas Bader, Ernest Shackleton and Scott of the Antarctic (did you know you’re related?) – have all failed at some point; but look what they achieved in the end.

And when you do make mistakes, know that your parents will always be there for you. While you may get in trouble at times, they always have your best interest at heart and love you unconditionally. You will understand this better when you become a father yourself. Be nice to your family and listen to your mum and dad – they will guide you through life and be there for you at every turn.  Remember to treat others as you would want to be treated.

a family photo of Richard Branson from when he was a young boy
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Above all, always remember to have fun. As you grow older you will realise just how important it is to do what you love and love what you do. Don’t waste your time doing things that don’t excite you. Find your passions and go out there and grab at them with both hands. Life is for living and try to enjoy every day.

Good luck