The Necker Island Fire’s Impact on Sir Richard Branson’s Creativity

My thoughts and support go out to Sir Richard Branson and all those that were a part of the fire on Necker Island recently (see here, and here).  In case you don’t know, Necker Island is Sir Richard Branson’s private island where he’s built a beautiful resort and home.   I first learned about the place from reading his books and then was blown away by seeing the place on MTV Cribs a long while ago.

Well, like many times in SRB’s life, lightning struck. Unfortunately this time it wasn’t the metaphorical lightning of a creative idea, it was the real thing and it started a fire that burnt down everything on the island.   While reading his blog about the incident a couple things struck me.  One was that he was overwhelmingly positive and looked at it as a chance to rebuild something even better and a great example of everyone there at the time coming together to support each other.  Hey, even Kate Winslet reportedly carried his mother away from the blaze.  Secondly, when he mentioned what was actually lost, in his very short list (because it focused on more important things you can’t replace like photographs), he mentioned his notebooks.

After thinking about that for a minute I thought wow, I wonder what’s in those notebooks that hasn’t materialized yet (I mean he’s already trying to go to space), and I can’t imagine how much time he’s spent on Necker Island stepping back and actually taking time to think – then jotting it down in his notebooks.

People are constantly talking about setting aside particular time (i.e. Bill Gates and his famous think weeks) and having the right environment to be able to do some critical thinking.  If you’ve ever seen a photo or watched the Cribs episode you know Necker Island was a perfect place for this.  That’s not to say Sir Richard wasn’t always filling up his notebooks with great things – it seems to be in his DNA – but I’m sure his time at Necker was even more special.

At first I thought about how he now didn’t have the place or his notebooks and wondered if that might slow a regular person down.  Then I started to think about the tone of his writing about the fire and saw that he would use this opportunity as a chance to make the place not only usable again, but even better than it was.

Sometimes in life and business it takes throwing away all your old ideas, all your old ways of doing things and all of the status quo that has gotten you where you are today and start over.   While I hope you don’t have an actual fire that forces the situation, I hope you can create that lightning in your heart and mind to rebuild things in a new, even better and more exciting way.


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