If I had another 65 years to live

Mark Ernst sent me a #challengerichard to answer the following question: If you had another 65 years of life, what would you want to achieve?

Here’s my response…

I’ve lived a wonderful life, but it definitely hasn’t always been smooth sailing. There have been ups and downs; good times and bad times; extreme challenges and enormously rewarding milestones – and my path has changed course time and time again. Despite everything, my destination has always remained the same. My goal, no matter what I have done, has been to make a difference in people’s lives.

As a teenager, together with a group of my friends, I set up Student magazine – to give young activists of the day a voice. We used the magazine to publish punchy pieces that told hard-hitting cultural truths, and protest against the Vietnam and Biafra wars.

In my 20s and 30s I became engrossed in the world of Virgin; growing the brand from creating groundbreaking music with Virgin Records; to making travel more exciting with Virgin Atlantic; to making banking more human with Virgin Money; to creating holistic health clubs with Virgin Active.

Purpose has always been a huge part of the Virgin story (and of my life). However, over 10 years ago – as the world started to become more environmentally and socially aware – we came to realise just how much positive change business could drive. Reacting to this, we set up our non-profit foundation, Virgin Unite, with the intention to use business as a wonderful force for good. I now spend around 80 per cent of my time working on Virgin Unite initiatives – like the Carbon War Room, the B Team, The Elders and the OceanElders – and speaking out on advocacy issues I am passionate about.

Being a grand-dude to three delightful toddlers, I am committed to making sure that their future is bright. If I had another 65 years to live, I would continue to work tirelessly to make sure that their generation grow up in a world where there was no longer a war on drugs, where prison systems were reformed and the death penalty was abolished, where climate change was in check, and where animals and rainforests were conserved and cherished.

I might not have another 65 years, but I’m not going anywhere just yet. I look forward to spending the rest of my time on Earth staying true to my heart’s desires, chasing every goal I set my mind towards, and achieving things beyond my wildest dreams.

Sometimes we need a little bit motivation to help us get to where we want to be and achieve the things we want to achieve. When I need a push, I picture myself at 90 years old, sitting in a rocking chair, asking the question – what have you done in your life?

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If you had another 65 years to live, what would you like to achieve? 

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