Richard B

Embracing intrinsic motivation: Be inspired by Richard

While I know that there are many who feel as if there is too much focus on seemingly successful people, in this case I think it is justified.

This person is somewhat like the embodiment of intrinsic motivation.

At its core, intrinsic motivation is about the joy of spontaneous exploration, the performance of an activity for the sake of the activity and the momentary joy of performing it.

And no one I can think of embodies this kind of thinking more than Richard. Richard would put it this way:

“A business has to be involving, it has to be fun, and it has to exercise your creative instincts.”

Involving, fun, energizing and creative: This could have been a definition of intrinsic motivation; it’s as if he is reading from a script, except he’s not, it is straight from his heart.

Have a look at some of the quotes that he has been credited with and you’ll see that his statements are infused with this thinking.

And what about his behavior, does he also act in this way?

First a bit about Richard: He’s from a privileged background, he is an agreeable person, harbors a distaste for formalities and Peter Pan is his ‘favourite character’. This disposition has served as the bedrock of his days in business venturing, his mother was an entrepreneur, and Richard started early and has since then created countless thriving ventures.

What is interesting is that he seems to be more interested in starting a business than in making long-term profits.

He has started firms in diverse industries such as in entertainment, health and wellness, leisure, telecom and traveling; they’ve been selling records, distributing films and video, they’ve made games, ran a music station, took on Coca-Cola on the soft drink market, ran an airline company, etc.

They’re into everything, the group is nowadays referred to as a lifestyle company, and sometimes it does seem as if the group will go into whatever it is that Richard’s grown an interest in recently.

So then what if there are exciting business opportunities, but it is unprofitable and the numbers are in the red? That’s not a problem, Richard will transfer some cash from some of his more profitable firms, so as to finance these new ventures that aren’t.

Then what if he runs out of money, if he finds an interesting opportunity that he wants to go along with, and he doesn’t have the money? No problem, Richard will just sell some other firm, which he’s started and developed but lost interest in, like some airline company.

There, plenty of cash to use to venture into space-travelling.

In essence, he seems to be intrinsically motivated and he showcases an impressive adaptivity.


So if you are wondering what intrinsic motivation is, then just think of the Virgin Group and Richard.

Much of his behavior resonates strongly with the concept of intrinsic motivation, a concept which is related to motivation and well-being.

So keeping an eye on Richard’s ways and behavior could make for a valid contribution to your well-being.

Richard, maybe reading about Peter Pan, exploring his world, maybe planning a new venture.

Further reading:

  • Branson on Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Branson
  • Ryan and Deci, 2000. Intrinsic and extrinsic motivations: Classic definitions and new directions. Contemporary educational psychology. (about what intrinsic motivation is)