There’s more to learning about life than the pages of a textbook. Just ask Richard Branson.
As part of HuffPost’s new parent-child interview series Talk To Me, the Virgin Group founder let his son, Sam Branson, pick his brain about taking risks, maintaining balance and more. In a touching conversation at their home in the British Virgin Islands, Sam said he admired his father’s “zest for life” and asked about the motivation behind it. Richard’s secret? Learning that goes beyond a classroom.
“I love learning. I did not like learning at school at all, which is why I left school at 15,” Richard said. “I just love learning about life. And the best way to learn about something is to immerse yourself in it.”
As the son of a business guru, Sam explained that many people think his dad wasn’t around much as he was building such a huge company, but that wasn’t the case. The beginning of Virgin Group actually turned out to be a bit of a family affair.
“One of the lovely things was I worked from home, so you and Holly [Sam’s sister] grew up crawling on the floor of the houseboat and were very much part of the start of Virgin,” Richard said.
The famously adventurous entrepreneur also opened up to his son about “one of the worst moments of my life,” when he was preparing to climb into a hot-air balloon that would travel around the world.
“You were about seven or eight years old and you came and clung onto my leg. I felt there was no turning back then, I had to go. But seeing your pain at me going was a horrible, horrible moment,” Richard said. “And I’ve had to look back on those great adventures and try to work out whether I was being selfish, whether it was the right thing to do.”
But Richard noted that Sam has since sought out his own adventures, like climbing the Matterhorn. “I’m heartened,” he told Sam, “that you’re understanding what it is in us that makes us do these things.”
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