Resilience — For A Better World

Jack Ma has (almost) all of it covered.

Sezai Burak Kantarcı
4 min readJul 11, 2021
(Source: inc)

Don’t worry.

Any mistake is a income & wonderful revenue for you.

Just enjoy the ride.

We can easily react to this quote as.

“Oh Jack, okay.

It’s easy for you to say that.

You were literally sitting on the throne of Alibaba - a 2 Trillion $ company.

You can go ahead and fail on a catastrophic scale without really any real scars, at all.

We can’t do that.”

This was the easy answer.

Which could be true for a person with fixed mindset.

Let’s take the path less traveled.

Let’s think.

Mickey to the Rescue! (Source: Giphy)

Alibaba, which was founded in 1999 by Jack Ma in a small room of an old apartment, is one of the largest e-commerce companies in the world today.

They have hundreds of millions of customers, not monthly or weekly, but daily.

They also “claim” to have this insanely simple goal.

To make it easy to do business everywhere.

Well, that’s cute n’ all.

However, to get to where they are at, the wonder from China, started of really small.

With countless failures along the way.

Which was just a projection from Jack’s life.

As expected.

Visuals are everything, especially in e-commerce (Source: alibaba)

Jack Ma was born in 1964 in Hangzhou, China; as the son of two local artists.

His life seemed like a “specialized labyrinth of failures where no light where seem to be found”.

Failing Relentlessly to Succeed — Literally (Source: sbnonline)

Jack failed the entrance exams from primary school to secondary school 2 times, and 3 times in transition from secondary school to high school.

Having failed the university entrance exams twice; Ma finally became a university student by winning the English Language Teaching department.

Because of financial difficulties in his family, Jack also applied for a job while being a student in more than 30 places, saying that he can both read and work, but unfortunately no place is hiring him.

(Source: Reddit)

Later, he applied to the Police Academy to earn money, returns empty-handed from here as well.

He was the only one not recruited in 5 applicants.

The failures and misfortunes do not end there.

Ma gets the blow this time from a famous fast food company, KFC. The firm announces that it will hire 24 people and 25 people apply, including Ma.

But guess who isn’t getting hired again?

Of course, Jack Ma.

I wonder if Jack knew. (Source: displate)

They say that fate has woven its webs once.

Jack Ma hangs out on these networks, this time at Harvard University, where he has applied 10 times.

Harvard rejected every application of the famous founder by letter.

(Source: ft)

Maybe I should’ve stopped long before this point.

But i just had to make sure we are clear on the basics.

You see the pattern here ?

Failures are not final.

They are not here to stop us, they just appear to re-motivate our tactics about how we approach a problem or how we are giving back to the world.

The Takeaway

Jack Ma retired in 2019, leaving Alibaba to young executives. So what can we learn from him?

Here is a clear road map from Jack’s understanding of life, in his words.

Before 20 years old be a good student. Just get some experience.

Before 30 years old, follow somebody. Go to a small company. Normally in a big company it is good to learn processing, as you are a part of a big machine. But when go to small company you learn the passion, you learn the dreams, you learn how to do a lot of things at one time.

From 30 to 40 years old, you have to think very clearly. If you really want to be entrepreneur, you have to be working for yourself.

When you’re 40 to 50 years old, you have to do all the things that you are good at. Don’t try to drop into the new area it’s too late you may be successful but rate is too low.

When you are 50 to 60 years old, work for the young people. Because young people can do better than you. So rely on them, invest on them, making sure they’re good.

When you are over 60 years old, spend time for yourself, on the beach.

Enjoy sunshine.

An Anecdote:

The Name “Alibaba” was found by Jack in a restaurant in SF.

He asked to a waitress if she knew the fairy tale of Alibaba. She replied with a laughter:

Who doesn’t know about Alibaba and the Forty Thieves” later adding, “Open Sesame!” to him.

Going out after eating, Ma asks 20 people in front of him the same question and realizes that everyone knows this tale.

That’s all she wrote from there.