Don't take yourself too seriously. Instead, ask yourself: is what I'm about to do going to make people smile? If the answer is yes, then do it!
Laughing is incredibly important in life and in business. Having fun can bring out the best in people and can be a great bonding tool too. Nothing lightens the mood and lifts the spirit like a bit of harmless tomfoolery.
Anyone who has met me will know that I'm a proud mischief maker. A little humour is good for the soul. With this in mind, I love to trick, and play pranks on people wherever I go. And I’m not too bad about having jokes played on me too.
Richard and Tamara laughing
On April 1st 1986 I gave an interview to Music Week, and cheekily told them that Virgin had been secretly developing a ‘Music Box’. On it we had stored every music track we could lay our hands on, and music lovers could, for a small fee, download any song or album they wanted.
It turned out that the joke was actually on me, because many years later Steve Jobs explained that he had been utterly taken in by the idea. And in a twist of fate, the birth of iTunes and the iPod went on to contribute to the death of our Virgin Megastores (though it’s now thriving again in the Middle East and beyond).
Richard Branson at the Manor recording music
My team are often confused when I ring them up with what they believe to be wacky ideas. The common response is, ‘Is he joking or not?!’ But the reality is, getting weighed down in what’s possible is a sure-fire way to kill curiosity and starve the world of revolutionary ideas. Why not have a joke around…? You never know where it could lead.
My number one rule in life and business is to have fun. If something looks like it's going to be a lot of fun then my answer is always yes, sign me up!
We should all seek fun in our lives. Play, joke, laugh. Some people may call it being childish, but in my opinion there's nothing wrong with being a kid at heart.
What do jokes mean to you?