Leadership

Richard Branson: What 7 highly successful people can teach you about having fun while chasing your goals

Bill Gates (R) and Richard Branson leave after a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron as he receives the One Planet Summit's international philanthropists at Elysee Palace on December 12, 2017 in Paris, France.
Aurelien Meunier | Getty Images
Bill Gates (R) and Richard Branson leave after a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron as he receives the One Planet Summit's international philanthropists at Elysee Palace on December 12, 2017 in Paris, France.

Self-made billionaire Richard Branson works hard but he plays even harder.

"Fun is one of the most important — and underrated — ingredients in any successful venture," the Virgin Group founder writes in "The Virgin Way: Everything I Know About Leadership."

He continues, "If you're not having fun, then it's probably time to call it quits and try something else."

The billionaire leads by example and can often be seen kitesurfing, lounging on a yacht or spending time at his home in Necker Island. He also instills this attitude in his Virgin company by providing unlimited vacation time to his employees.

"I go to bed thinking of something cheerful." -Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO

"I've never really understood why so many people separate work and play – it's all living," he writes in a recent blog post. "We should be able to have fun at work and bring out the best in each other."

Branson also notes that having camaraderie among employees makes everyone feel like they're a team player and leads to higher achievement — a claim that many studies support. "Don't be afraid to smile and talk to each other, instead of about each other," adds the billionaire.

Branson, who Forbes estimates is worth $4.9 billion, isn't the only highly successful person to tout the benefits of being playful. Here are his top seven quotes from other high achievers who inspire him to have fun:

1. Steve Jobs, Apple co-founder

"I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: 'If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?' And whenever the answer has been 'No' for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something."

2. Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway CEO 

"There comes a time when you ought to start doing what you want. Take a job that you love. You will jump out of bed in the morning."

3. Tim Ferriss, best-selling author

"The question you should be asking isn't, "What do I want?" or "What are my goals?" but "What would excite me?"

4. Bill Gates, Microsoft co-founder

"Paul and I, we never thought that we would make much money out of the thing. We just loved writing software."

Michael Jordan attends a press conference for the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Air Jordan Shoe during the 'Palais 23' interactive exhibition dedicated to Michael Jordan at Palais de Tokyo in Paris on June 12, 2015 in Paris, France.
Catherine Steenkeste | Getty Images
Michael Jordan attends a press conference for the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Air Jordan Shoe during the 'Palais 23' interactive exhibition dedicated to Michael Jordan at Palais de Tokyo in Paris on June 12, 2015 in Paris, France.

5. Michael Jordan, former NBA player

"Just play. Have fun. Enjoy the game."

6. Stephen King, best-selling author

"I did it for the buzz. I did it for the pure joy of the thing. And if you can do it for the joy, you can do it forever."

7. Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO

"Because no matter what happens each day, I go to bed thinking of something cheerful. Try it."

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