The alphabet runs from A to Z not A to C

I didn’t spend too much of my time at school, but I did spend long enough there to learn that the alphabet goes from A to Z, not A to C.

Richard Branson young school class

School results dates are among the days when I get more messages than usual, as people who haven’t quite got the results they hoped for look for advice. My suggestion is to not get too caught up in grades, and concentrate on goals.

Richard Branson and Bill Gates at Mission Innovation clean energy breakfast

Richard Branson and Bill Gates at Mission Innovation clean energy breakfast

Some people rightly point to the likes of Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs, Sir Winston Churchill and Bill Gates, and note that they all failed exams. They all went on to achieve great things. But they also applied themselves, and found the areas where their strengths were. You won’t necessarily reach success because you failed exams, but you can reach success in spite of failed exams.


If you did succeed in any exams and qualifications, many, many congratulations to you – now is the time to celebrate. But afterwards, the time is ripe to think about your future too. What do you want to do? Where do you want to go? Who do you want to be? These are questions that can take a long time to answer. The best way to find out is to get out in the world, travel, meet new people, enjoy experiences and try new things – not all of which can be achieved in a classroom. 

Richard Branson walking meeting with Virgin StartUp

Richard Branson walking meeting with Virgin StartUp

If you didn’t get the results you were hoping for, don’t despair. There is lots more to be learned from failure than success, and if you have the will to succeed, not having a piece of paper with A, B or C written on it isn’t going to hold you back. I left school without qualifications, and many others have too. Forget exam results - everybody else does sooner or later!) Now is the time to do. Start thinking about what you want to achieve in life and start working towards it.

Perhaps you have an entrepreneurial streak, and could consider starting your own business? Virgin StartUp can help with that, from funding to mentorship. Whatever you decide, now is the time to do. Get out there and have fun. 


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