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Overcoming Fears Ala Richard Branson

For many would-be startup founders overcoming fear of failure is the hardest part of pursuing their dreams. Fear can get the best of us if we let it. We’ve all had times when fear hindered us from doing something… swimming, bungee jumping, or even going out to a party. People afraid of water, heights, or social interaction can understand what I’m talking about. Richard Branson, the man behind the Virgin Group, provides ideas about overcoming fears.




Fear Of Flying

Branson, owner of Virgin Atlantic, shares how people, who were afraid of flying, flew Virgin Atlantic and felt safe throughout their trip. Virgin Atlantic, like other airlines, uses in-flight videos to keep customers occupied throughout the flight.



He explains that letting people watch the pilots perform safety checks, made people feel more comfortable. Fear is conquered by seeing. Miraculously, Virgin Atlantic’s program “Flying Without Fear” has a 98 percent success rate. Flying Without Fear involves simulated flight programs and lessons on how airplanes fly, which further continues the success rate of Flying Without Fear. He mentions that one of his success stories with the Flying Without Fear program was Whoopi Goldberg.



Fear Diminished Through Practice

Yes, Allen Iverson, I did say practice. Branson admits that public speaking wasn’t his thing, but through practice he has learned to overcome his fear of public speaking. Probably the best advice that was giving to Branson was, “Try to imagine you’re in a living room having a chat with someone.” Despite the advice, he still likes the less structured Q&A sessions. He explains that people can directly ask him questions that are on their mind. Instead of listening to a long speech and hoping that he’ll cover a certain topic. Which brings back the idea of having a chat with someone in the living room; less informal and less nerve wrecking.


Swim Like A Branson

Branson is instrumental in teaching people to get over their fear of water. I think I should enlist myself into his program. He brings people to Necker Island and gives swimming classes to many people. He again has cured the fears of famous people such as Desmond Tutu.



When faced with fear, have the attitude of, “Screw it, Let’s do it!” and jump into whatever it is that you’ve been scared of, (unless you’re scared of shark tanks… then you may want to rethink the “jump in” part). Easier said than done, of course. But fear can hold back your dream of developing a startup. And that startup that you don’t work on because of fear, could be the one that brings you to the heights of success.


What we can learn from Branson is to practice, until perfect, “screw it” and “do it.” Go for it. Fear is only there to cripple you and hold you back. Don’t let it!


“Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty.
To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.”


— Bertrand Russell (1872 – 1970), Unpopular Essays (1950), “Outline of Intellectual Rubbish”

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Author : David Hopkins

David tries to feel the world through his five senses. Traveling to the beach is his way to get away from the big city. Poetry was his introduction to exploring writing as an art and not just something that has to be done. Finding his voice through words is very important to David.

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