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"I love sort of sitting about relaxing in the bath and having a good think.”

Stacey Leasca
October 19, 2017

Richard Branson, by every measure, is a successful man.

He’s created successful company after successful company, helped make the world a better place through philanthropy, and built the perfect family life on his private island in the Caribbean.

So, how did he get here? According to Branson, all his best ideas are born in the bath.

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“I like the bath. I love sort of sitting about relaxing in the bath and having a good think,” Branson recently told a crowd during a Hearst Media Master Class event. He also noted the importance of self-care as a key ingredient to success, telling the crowd, “I think if people don’t look after themselves they’re not going to have busy days. The only way you can actually get everything done is to have those endorphins flowing and to be feeling really healthy. I learned from a young age the art of delegation and that is absolutely critical in my life.”

And Branson may be on to something with his self-care and bathtime ritual, as it turns out baths can be healthy and calorie-burning in addition to inspiration-inducing.

“You become less aware of your environment and more aware of your internal thoughts,” John Kounios, a psychologist who studies creativity and distraction at Drexel University in Philadelphia, told Wired about why the bath and shower seem to inspire us most. “Not having an explicit task is the main ingredient for random insights.” 

The other thing Branson said helps transform his ideas into reality is always having a pen and paper handy.

“The other thing I think you need to do, in my opinion, and not many people do this, is have a little notebook and a pen wherever you go,” Branson said. “And keep your eyes open. There will be so many things, conversations that you'll want to scribble down, ideas that people will come up with, ideas that you'll come up with that you’ll forget if you don’t write them down.”

However, as Kounios noted, this act of writing things down may take away from any random insights that may come your way. “Once you have a pen and paper there, it’s not really your mind wandering,” he said.

But, perhaps the best answer of all is to write things down while having a bath. All you need to do is buy one of these handy Aqua Notebooks so you’ll be ready the moment your Virgin America idea comes to you.

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