“The brave may not live forever, but the cautious do not live at all…”
This is a quote I have lived by. I’ve always gone in search of adventures because it’s where I feel most alive. From jumping off a building in Las Vegas to ballooning around the world to kitesurfing the English Channel – there are so many stories from over the years which bring a smile to people’s faces when I tell them.
This is why I launched a series of animated poems to recount my adventures and share some of the lessons I learnt along the way.
In the spirit of adventure, I thought we could stick to the theme for my Ask Richard Newsletter this month. I thoroughly enjoyed reading through the stories many of you sent me about your own adventures, and there were some brilliant questions submitted too. I’ve decided to answer two questions this month, as there are important life lessons in both.
How do you overcome obstacles in your adventures?
Andrew Venegas submitted this question, after sharing a number of traumatic experiences he has faced in his own life. Andrew, I was so inspired to hear how you have picked yourself up again, by focussing on big goals (launching a record label!) and returning to your musical roots. Finding focus in the face of obstacles is so important. It helps us to stay calm, find resilience and keep sight of what is important and why every challenge and setback is worthwhile.
Having trusting people to turn to is another thing that has helped me overcome different obstacles in my adventures – and in every aspect of my life. I always try to surround myself with talented, brave and supportive people who I can turn to when the going gets tough. When I embarked on my first hot-air ballooning expedition across the Atlantic, I didn’t even know how to fly a balloon!
Thankfully I was joined by a brilliant balloonist called Per Lindstrand who showed me the ropes. We became very close with a shared understanding that our lives were in each other’s hands. Across multiple ballooning adventures, we crashed into fields, leaped into oceans and clambered onto rescue helicopters together. There were many points where I thought we would die and I can’t imagine how I would have faced these obstacles without his support.
It’s also important to have people you can open up to and lean on when you’re faced with life’s obstacles. My wife, Joan, has been my rock for the past 46 years and has helped me through countless setbacks and moments of self-doubt.
Whenever I’m faced with a seemingly insurmountable challenge, I think about my wife and my beautiful family and I find the focus and resilience to keep going. Sometimes keeping going is the only thing you can do – so it’s important to remember why it’s worthwhile… And it always is!
What’s one thing your adventures have in common?
I loved this question, because every adventure is so different, but there’s also common ground between them. From flying to space with Virgin Galactic to being dangled over Sydney Harbour via helicopter – there’s certain familiarities in the unknown. The first that comes to mind is the meaningful friendships I’ve forged on every adventure I’ve embarked on. When the stakes are high and you’re working as a team on something bold and something adventurous – it truly brings out the best in people, and it brings people so much closer.
Every adventure has also been a great test of resilience. When faced with big challenges, we realise we can overcome so much more than we think we can. From crash landings to sunken ships, I’ve had no shortage of mishaps on my adventures – but every setback has taught me something new. I’ve always said the best lessons in life are learnt from failure.
Thank you to Andrew, Denise and everyone who submitted such wonderful questions and stories this month. I hope my answers have inspired you to always see life as an adventure, and to say yes when given a chance to try something new.
- An Ask Richard Branson report