Happy talk…

A friend recently shared a letter – apparently written by Sir Richard Branson – about happiness.

I say ‘apparently’ because I know so many things shared on social media supposedly written or endoresed by someone famous are often nothing to do with that person.

So I did a bit of digging around, and it didn’t take me long to find that indeed, it was written by the Virgin boss himself!

Yellow smiley emoji face
Happy face. Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

It was published on the Virgin website under the title ‘My tips for happiness’ in December 2017.

But it was first published in 2015 in a book collated by Mind UK (a mental health charity) called ‘Dear Stranger: Letters on the subject of happiness’.

The write up describes the book as:

Dear Stranger is a collection of inspirational, honest and heartfelt letters from authors, bloggers and Mind ambassadors to an imagined stranger. Insightful and uplifting, Dear Stranger is a humbling glimpse into different interpretations of happiness, and how despite sometimes seeming unobtainable happiness can, in the smallest of ways, become an achievable goal.

Now when you are Sir Richard Branson and reportedly worth around (US)$2 billion, it’s easy for us to be cynical and say, wouldn’t everyone be happy with that amount of money?

In fact he acknowledges that in his letter, and says it’s the reverse:

I am successful, wealthy and connected because I am happy.

He goes on to make some very interesting points.

These are some of my favourites:

Happiness is not about doing, it’s about being.

Stop and breathe.

Just be for a minute.

If you allow yourself to be in the moment, and appreciate the moment, happiness will follow.

Try it. Be still. Be present.

He quotes this often used phrase which I love (but am really not sure of its origins, often attributed to the Dalai Lama, but many others have their name listed next to it too):

There’s a reason we’re called human beings and not human doings.

He rounds his letter off with these lines:

Take the focus off everything you think you need to do, and start being I promise you, happiness will follow.

A lot of what he says isn’t that original to be honest.

I’m sure I’ve said pretty similar things at many of my meditation classes.

But it’s nice to read from a man that you would think is constantly doing.

In researching this I also discovered his listing on LinkedIn (who knew he was on LinkedIn?!):


Founder Virgin Group Jan 1968 – Present · 56 yrs 3 mos

Tie-loathing adventurer and thrill seeker, who believes in turning ideas into reality. Otherwise known as Dr Yes at Virgin!

He sounds like a very happy man!

You can read his full letter here if you would like to do so.

Ann 🙏

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