Editors note: Richard Branson, one of the legendary entrepreneur of 21st century turned 65 today. An all-rounder entrepreneur, who started his first business venture at the age of sixteen, now become a proud owner of Virgin Group (comprises more than 400 companies, estimated net worth of US$4.9 billion). On his 65th birthday, he wrote a beautiful article to share what he is feeling (we shared it below). We all wish him a very happy and healthy birthday!!!
I was once the youngest entrepreneur in the world. I blinked. And now I’m one of the oldest!
It’s my 65th birthday, an occasion that is supposed to carry associations with that incomprehensible word, retirement. I can assure you I have no plans to retire. I can’t imagine not working, as I’ve never seen work as work and play as play – it’s all just living.
As each year passes I’m glad to have a little more experience to share with others, and I’m thankful to be surrounded by my family and loved ones. This year has been extra special as I have become a grand-dude for the first time. Joan and I absolutely love watching Sam, Isabella, Holly and Freddie grow as parents, and helping them to look after their beautiful children Eva Deia, Etta and Artie.
Spending time with my grandchildren certainly keeps me on my toes, just as taking on new challenges with Virgin keeps me energised and excited. There is no need whatsoever for older entrepreneurs not to try new things. In fact, those of us who have a fair few years behind us are often in an even better position, as we have made more mistakes to learn from!
One thing is for sure, we don’t stop failing as we get older and we certainly don’t get everything right. There is nothing wrong with that. Here’s a quote from George Bernard Shaw, which I printed on the back of the second issue of Student Magazine in 1968, on the nature of youth and age.
“Youth, which is forgiven everything , forgives itself nothing; age, which forgives itself everything, is forgiven nothing.”
In the spirit of trying new things and taking on fresh adventures, I would like you to challenge me to do 65 challenges to celebrate my 65th birthday. Keep them fun, silly and surprising – Tag your suggestions with #challengerichard – I’ll pick my favourites and share the results as the year goes on.