This Is Jack Ma’s No-Nonsense Advice For Young People3 min read
“Make enough mistakes. Don’t worry. You fall, you stand up. Enjoy the show.”
When Alibaba Group set a record-breaking IPO for having the highest public stock offer in 2014, Jack Ma instantly became the poster boy of China e-commerce industry.
He is currently the second richest man in China, with an estimated net worth of $24.1 billion. With that, he serves as an inspiration to people—especially young Asians—who want to succeed in this information-driven age.
Thankfully, Ma is more than willing to inspire future leaders and movers by giving them inspiration. Last year, he spoke to a group of young South Koreans on national television and gave advice on how to be successful in life in every step of the way. Here’s what he said.
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Before you turn 20
Contrary to popular belief, entrepreneurship starts in your teens—when you are trained to be a good learner not only in school but in life in general. Jack Ma highly encourages people to use this opportunity to learn and gain enough experience. “Before 20 years old, be a good student,” he advises. “When you do entrepreneurship, just learn some experience.” Remember, most successful businessmen started didn’t let their youth go to waste and took a chance early on in life.
Before you turn 30
Getting experience is one thing, but trying to put that experience to work is another. According to Ma, by becoming a part of a big company, you become a part of a big machine and learn the process, which is good. But in a small company, you learn the passion and the dreams. You learn how to do a lot of things all at once. “So before 30 years old, follow somebody. It’s not which company you go, it’s which boss you follow. It’s very important. A good boss [teaches] you. And by the time you turn 30 to 40 years old you have to think very clearly you’ll be working for yourself.”
Before you turn 40 to 50
By the time you’ve reached your 40s, there is a good chance you may have already found your specialization. For Ma, this is the perfect time to simply do what you’re good at and keep a steady focus in it. This is because the failure rate at this age is much higher than when you were young. “When you are 40 to 50 years old, you have to do all the things that you are good at. Don’t try to jump into a new area. It’s too late.”
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Before you turn 50 to 60
Once you’ve gone beyond 40, things will have started to go over the hill. Presumably, you’ve done yourself proud; now it’s time to pass the torch. No doubt age will slow you down, so you’ll need the help of younger people to succeed. Jack Ma says that it’s during this period in your life that you should work for kids “because young people can do better than you. So rely on them, invest in them, and make sure they are good.”
When you reach 60
By this time, you’ll have achieved a lot—for yourself, for your family, and for other people. Now it’s time to finally give yourself the time of your life. “When you are over 60 years old, spend time for yourself…on the beach, [under the] sunshine. Right? It’s too late for you to change, normally,” he says. Give yourself a nice pat on the back. You deserve it. –Dino Mari Testa