Photo: Vulcan Post

Jack Ma, the revered technology billionaire and luminary of the Chinese Internet industry, has had his fair share of regrets. Despite being hailed by prestigious publications like Forbes and the Financial Times, even he has made mistakes in his illustrious career.

The Costly Mistakes

“In 2001, I made the mistake of telling 18 of my closest associates that the highest they could go was middle management. Senior managers would have to be recruited from abroad. Over the years, those I hired for the company had to leave, while those whose abilities I had doubts about became Deputy General Managers or Directors,” Jack Ma candidly shared.

The Power of Attitude and Assertiveness

Jack Ma firmly believes in two principles that have shaped his leadership philosophy:

  1. Your attitude is more important than your ability. Assertiveness holds more weight than mere skills. You can’t expect to agree with everyone’s thoughts; that’s a fantasy.
  2. Approximately 30% of people will never believe in you. Rather than letting colleagues and employees work for you, inspire them to unite under a common goal. Unifying a company under a shared objective is easier than uniting it under a specific person.

Jack Ma emphasizes that your ability to unite people through a shared purpose is more vital than your ability to meet everyone’s thoughts.

The Qualities of a True Leader

According to Jack Ma, a true leader possesses the following qualities:

  • Vision: A leader must be a visionary, possessing more insight than an average employee.
  • Tenacity: Leaders must have the fortitude to handle pressure that employees may crumble under. Their steadfast patience and ability to cope with failure are crucial.
  • Competence: Outstanding leaders exhibit competence in their field, which inspires confidence among their followers.
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Staying Away from Politics

Jack Ma advises against mixing money and political power. When doing politics, never let money cloud your judgment. Similarly, when conducting business, avoid getting involved in politics. Mixing money and politics is like stepping on a slow-exploding landmine, waiting to detonate.

Key Questions for the Younger Generation

Jack Ma poses four important questions that the younger generation must ask themselves:

  1. What is failure? Giving up is the biggest failure.
  2. What is improvisation? Only through extreme difficulties and countless disappointments can one truly comprehend the essence of improvisation.
  3. What is your obligation? Industriousness, hard work, and ambition trump everything else.
  4. How do you express yourself? Only fools rely solely on words. An intelligent person uses their brain, while a wise person shows their heart.

Embracing Life and Enjoyment

Jack Ma believes that we are not born to work; we are born to enjoy life and create better experiences. Spending a lifetime solely dedicated to work will lead to future regrets. Regardless of how successful you become in your career, always remember that we are here to enjoy life.

On Competition and Rivalry

According to Jack Ma, those who fiercely compete with each other are fools. If you regard everyone as an enemy, those around you will become adversaries. When competing on equal footing with others, avoid letting jealousy consume you. A little jealousy can be detrimental in the long run.

Competition should be approached like a game of chess. When you lose, you can always make another move. The players should never fight each other. A true entrepreneur has no enemies. Recognizing this opens doors to opportunities for everyone.

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Complaining: A Habit to Avoid

While occasional complaints about difficulties are acceptable, turning complaining into a habit is akin to drinking alcohol. The more you complain, the thirstier you become. Success is not achieved by frequent complainers. Actions speak louder than words, and the world will not remember what you say, but it will certainly not forget what you do.

Remember, life is too short to waste on regret and complaint.

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