My to-do list in 1972

Richard Branson's 1972 to do list
Image from
Virgin Galactic
Richard Branson's signature
Published on 6 November 2020

I recently stumbled upon an old to-do list from 1972 that made me smile. 

Here are the tasks I had assigned myself, and my poor friend Kenny, on November 6th: 

 1.     Learn to fly

 2.     Look after me, you, boat

 3.     Entertain everybody with me

 4.     Invite nice people back

 5.     Start getting the small house together at The Manor

 6.     Start buying odds and sods for The Manor

 7.     Work with me on projects/sort me out

 8.     More shops to be found

A black and white picture of young Richard Branson smiling and arms open wide, in a field.
Image from

I was 22-years-old at the time, which might explain why one of the tasks was to sort myself out! I’m not quite ready to tick that one off yet, but it’s wonderful to look back at this list and realise what followed. 

A year after writing this list, we launched our Virgin Records label from The Manor, signed Mike Oldfield and released Tubular Bells. The record became one of the biggest selling albums of the decade and put Virgin Records firmly on the map. 

Black and white image of Richard Branson and Mike Oldfield standing together
Image by Virgin Records

When it came to ‘learning to fly’, I really took that one and ran with it. In 1976, I flew a microlight aircraft by mistake. It was the first time I had sat in it, I had no idea how to fly it, and accidentally took off. I was pulling wires out desperately before I cut the engine and managed to crash-land into a field. Back in 1972, I wouldn’t have guessed I would go on to fly hot-air balloons around the world, or launch airlines and a space line for that matter!

Richard Branson celebrating surrounded by the media in front of a Virgin Atlantic aeroplane
The Branson family

It goes to show that you never know what is around the corner or where life will take you, but there’s always an adventure in store. If you stick to your goals and tick off your to-do lists, you might be a lot closer to your dreams than you think.