Isn't life wonderful

Isn't life wonderful. 

These three simple words defined the way my grandad Ted looked at life. The joy he found in the simplest of things was infectious to anyone who had the pleasure of meeting him.

Grandad was wise, kind and passionate. He taught my dad, and indeed our entire family, to find wonder in everything that life presents us with.

Ted Branson and Holly Branson as a child

Inspired by grandad’s outlook, Dad shared this touching letter to our children following VSS Unity’s first successful test flight. As today is the International Day of Human Space Flight, it seemed fitting to share it!

Since Dad wrote this letter back in December, Virgin Galactic has continued to reach new heights. In February, a second successful test flight saw Beth Moses become the first woman to fly on a commercial spaceship. In March, the Space Foundation awarded Virgin Galactic the Space Achievement Award and over the past three months, five members of the Virgin family have received their Commercial Astronaut Wings.

The Virgin Galactic journey continues to prove that life really is wonderful and if you embrace it with an open mind and an endless sense of wonder, not even the sky is the limit.

In light of this, here’s a snippet of Dad’s letter to his grandchildren that really rings true:

“Life, he used to say, is wonderful. That was it. Life is wonderful. And it is that simple but essential truth, above all else, which has driven me as I have built businesses, raised my family and embarked upon my many adventures.

“You are at the very start of life, it is an incredible gift and it is there for the taking. It will deliver highs and lows, trials and tribulations, failures and triumphs. But by living it to the full, by always trying to do the right thing and by never losing that sense of adventure which you now posses with such abundance, it will indeed be wonderful.”

Etta and Artie on Necker Island

Embracing this sense of wonder and curiosity has resulted in some of the most exciting moments in my own life too. It’s led me to climb Mont Blanc to launch Big Change, attempt to kite-surf the English Channel, swim across the Straits of Messina, tackle a half-marathon up an active volcano to complete the month-long 2016 Strive Challenge and attempt to sail across the Atlantic in the fastest boat ever built. These challenges each bought their fair share of mishaps, hardships and a few lessons learnt the hard way. But if I hadn’t been brought up to embrace curiosity and see a challenge as an adventure, I might have written them off as impossible from the start.

Richard Branson and Holly Branson Atlantic Challenge Sail

I couldn’t have gotten through many of these moments without the support of the people around me. Working alongside the amazing teams at Virgin, Virgin Unite and Big Change has taught me that meaningful progress can only be realised when we all work together.

It reminds me of the simple but powerful African proverb: “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.”

And as Dad writes in the letter, “We are all in this together - fellow travelers on spaceship Earth”.

Life is indeed wonderful.

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