Richard Branson has built on an empire on his unorthodox style. Picture: Phillip Faraone/Getty Images).
Richard Branson has built on an empire on his unorthodox style. Picture: Phillip Faraone/Getty Images).

Life advice from the world’s most successful people

BRITISH businessman Richard Reed has been lucky enough to find himself in the room with some pretty successful people over the years.

The founder of Innocent Drinks - a fruit juice company that started as a market stall and now makes more than a million smoothies every day, sold across 17 countries in Europe - has rubbed shoulders with everyone from Bill Clinton to Judi Dench, Jude Law to Heston Blumenthal, Simon Cowell to Jo Malone.

And whenever he meets someone he deems truly 'remarkable' he asks them one simple question: What is their most valuable piece of advice?

Richard Reed and fellow CEOs Karen Lynch and Kresse Wesling at an event for budding entrepreneurs in London. Picture: John Phillips/Getty Images
Richard Reed and fellow CEOs Karen Lynch and Kresse Wesling at an event for budding entrepreneurs in London. Picture: John Phillips/Getty Images

 

He's collected some of the most pertinent pieces of life wisdom in his new book If I Could Tell You One Thing (Canongate, $34.99), out now. And these are our favourites to inspire your week!

BILL CLINTON

"I've come to believe that one of the most important things is to see people. The person who opens the door for you, the person who pours your coffee. Acknowledge them. Show them respect. The traditional greeting of the Zulu people of South Africa is 'Sawubona'. It means 'I see you'. I try and do that."

Bill and Hillary Clinton. Picture: AP
Bill and Hillary Clinton. Picture: AP

JOANNA LUMLEY

"The secret, darling, is to love everyone you meet. From the moment you meet them. Give everyone the benefit of the doubt. Start from a position that they are lovely and that you will love them. Most people will respond to that and be lovely and love you back and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, and you can then achieve the most wonderful things. But get rid of any of the b**tards that let you down."

JUDI DENCH

"If I was passing on anything, I would say, for goodness sake, look for the pluses in life. Being negative completely erodes everything. If something bad happens, I always say cancel and continue and get back on track. There's no good being negative. I don't believe in negativity."

Dame Judi Dench is all about the positive. Picture: Getty Images
Dame Judi Dench is all about the positive. Picture: Getty Images

SIR RICHARD BRANSON

"People talk about work and play as if they are separate things, with one being there to compensate for the other, but all of it is life, all of it is precious. Don't waste any of it doing something you don't want to do. And do all of it with the people you love."

JO MALONE

"No matter how bad it is, no situation is ever greater than you. You always have three options: you can change the situation, accept the situation or change your mindset on how you see the situation. And you have the power in your hands to choose whichever is best for you. Never allow something else or someone's opinion to become the title of your book. Ever."

RICHARD CURTIS

"None of us should ever underestimate our ability to change people's lives. There is a direct cause and effect of what we do here and what happens there [in the third world]. But if you want to help you have to actually do something. You can't just talk about it. My motto is: 'If you want to make things happen you have to make things.' Create an object, a slogan, a film, a little book, a badge, a hashtag, a Red Nose Day ... Make something so wonderful that it captures people's hearts and minds so they can't help but be dragged in and help. And even better, make it funny too. That's all I have ever done."

JAMES CORDEN

"There is an inner steel that comes from knowing you're good at something. It might be plumbing or building tables or driving a cab or whatever, but being able to say, 'When it comes to this, I know what I'm doing,' is good for one's confidence. So my advice to someone younger is - search for the thing you're good at and don't stop."

 

If I Could Tell You One Thing (Canongate, $34.99) by Richard Reed is out now.

 

This story originally appeared on Whimn and has been republished here with permission.