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My top 10 quotes to inspire smart thinking

To drive forward innovation we need to constantly refine the way we think.

Virgin Atlantic's inaugural flight to New York
Virgin Atlantic's inaugural flight to New York

I have always been fascinated by solving problems in order to make people’s lives better. When I ran Virgin Records I spent lots of time on planes travelling to meetings with bands and executives. I was always annoyed at how poor the service was on airlines, and presumed many other customers were too. Rather than ignoring the problem, I started my own airline.

I found it frustrating how banks would use hidden fees and jargon to confuse me and other customers. So we started a bank, Virgin Money, with the aim of making everyone better off. I love keeping in shape, but always found gyms stagnant, unwelcoming places. So we created Virgin Active, health clubs that people love to work out, socialise and spend time in.

Virgin Money London Marathon 2010
Image from Virgin Money UK - Virgin Money London Marathon 2010

In light of this, I’ve jotted down my favourite quotes that help me to keep an open mind and embrace a smarter way of thinking:

1. “It all begins and ends in your mind. What you give power to has power over you.”  — Leon Brown

2. “If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.” — Maya Angelou

3. “You must do the things you think you cannot do.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

Richard Branson Ballooning expeditions
Image by Thierry Boccon-Gibod: Ballooning expeditions

4. “You have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world. And you have to do it all the time.” — Angela Davis

5. “Wisdom begins in wonder.” — Socrates

6. “Genius might be the ability to say a profound thing in a simple way.” — Charles Bukowski

7. “Empathy, and the ability to use your imagination, should have no limits.” — Emma Watson

Richard Branson Student Magazine Days
Image from - Student magazine days

8. “You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.” — Friedrich Nietzsche

9. “Be open to learning new lessons, even if they contradict the lessons you learned yesterday.” — Ellen DeGeneres

10. “I’m always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” — Pablo Picasso

VSS Unity's first space glide
Image from Virgin Galactic: VSS Unity's first space glide

I hope these words have broadened your horizons and inspired you to re-think the way you think.

What problem are you trying to solve with your business? I’d like to hear about your purpose in the comments below.

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