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Inspirational Success Stories: How Jack Ma Conquer His Success


“No matter what, you must have a dream. This is the best working capital to start with.”


After graduating from university with Bachelor of Art in English, a young man in China at early 1990s applied a job at Kentucky Fried Chicken and got rejected. From 24 applicants, he was the only one who got rejected for the job.

He applied for 30 other different jobs than this KFC application and got rejected in each of them. He also applied for Harvard University ten times and got rejected in each of his applications. Eventually he went teaching for a local university with the salary of 12 dollars per month.

Now that was decades ago. What happened to the young man and what has he became today? Is he now homeless maybe? Begging for free money in some places in China? Or maybe a little bit better, working at some low pay job?

Those assumptions are wrong, dead wrong.



This man, with the name of Jack Ma, is now one of the richest man in his country, even in the world. An inspirational success story, he runs a game changer internet company, Alibaba, which provides e-commerce service to countries. Besides that, he also owns Alipay (online payment service company), TaoBao (Customer-to-Customer e-commerce company), and some other successful subsidiary companies. He is selected as the Entrepreneur of the Year by Asian Award and 22nd most powerful man in the world by Forbes in 2015.

How did he get to the position he is now (especially from the position he start in early 1990s)? Is it just because of good fortune he suddenly got when he walk through his life?

Many people will have their own opinion about this. But I myself believe that the most important factor of Jack Ma’s success, which separate him from other people, is his determination and patience for success. Failures cannot knock him back and he has been rewarded handsomely for his stubbornness.

Read also: Inspirational Success Story: Walt Disney - The Man Who Believed in His Dream

More story about his ‘complicated’ way to success: he started preparing to create Alibaba company in 1999 and it was run unprofitable in its first three years. He also got rejected when he apply for Alibaba’s funding at Silicon Valley. During his time developing the initial business of Alibaba, he faced internet recession in his country which caused many dot com companies to fall.

At the time of its Initial Public Offering (IPO), 19 September 2004, Alibaba’s market value was 231 billion dollars. That is a whole lot of money you get for your persistent effort to become a successful person. Jack Ma did not give up and eventually his success comes, sooner or later.

Now what we can see from the pattern of this true life inspirational success story is that Jack Ma is a very iron-willed person when he set a target for himself about what he should achieve in life. Many people give up when they face failure one or two times during their effort. Jack Ma applied for Harvard University and got rejected yet he kept going. He applied for jobs and got rejected yet he kept going. He also faced failures during his time creating and establishing Alibaba’s business and yet he kept going.

His determination is what I believe set him apart from other people and that is the most important factor in differentiating between someone’s successes and failures in life. By reading the story of Jack Ma’s life, we can learn a thing or two from him by setting big target in our life and be prepared to do the effort, to do what it takes until we reach it. There may be some roadblocks ahead during our journey to success but nothing should stop us in the continual attempt, even failures after failures.

Like his quote at the beginning of this article that dream is our best capital to work with. And our determination to achieve it is what will guide us to achieve our dream. Set the dream and then make the persistent effort to reach the dream.

Now at the closure of this article about Jack Ma’s life story, We will leave this article with another interesting quote from him which I think resembles the way of Jack Ma’s life. This was taken when he receives Economic Person of the Year in China Award, 28 December 2004.

“Five years ago (1999), my colleagues and I wanted to create the world’s greatest company. Many thought such talk was mad. But no matter what was said, my dream to create such a company didn’t change.

In the Internet recession of 2001-2002 we talked only about “surviving”. Even if all of the other internet companies died, we had to survive. And we did so only by refusing to give up, by believing in our dream. This incessant effort and constant ability to learn from our mistakes led to success. While today is tough, tomorrow can be even tougher. However, the day after tomorrow maybe beautiful. But too many will give up after tough times on the eve of tomorrow night. Therefore, never give up today!”


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