We are all social creatures always looking for fantasy in real life to trigger our thought process and seek inspiration from them. On a daily basis we come across a lot of strangers but we seek inspiration from only a few of them, and what set them apart are the stories that they have to tell. Even as a child, we grow up listening to stories of how a hero comes to the rescue of his people and his family, we find solace in such stories. Studies have also found that such inspirational stories have a positive effect on our brains and help us become more emphatic, generous and improve our overall outlook on life. So, today we’ll talk about a story. Success of the life of a man who has wedged the entire economy and internet industry of China almost single-handedly. His life is nothing less than the story of Robert, The Bruce and the Spider, that we were taught as kindergartens. This is the story of Jack Ma.
Who is Jack Ma?
He is the founder of the E-commerce huge Alibaba and is a stakeholder at Alipay, its sister company which is an e-payment portal. He is now officially the richest man in China with an estimated net worth of $25 Billion, on the back of the recent world record $150 Billion IPO filing of his company. All of this, He only holds a 7.8% stake in Alibaba and a 50% stake in Alipay. Alibaba and Jack Ma, although are not household names out of China, you must know that Alibaba is worth more than Facebook, and processes goods more than eBay and Amazon combined! This might be beginning to seem like the story of an arrogant and rich billionaire who hasn’t seen the dark. But don’t be mistaken by the numbers that you see above, they can fool anyone. Although as simple as it may sound, Jack Ma has had it hard in his life to get to where he is today. A correct rags-to-riches story and definitely a one which will inspire you even in your darkest days.
Jack Ma – The Backstory
Ma Yun a.k.a. Jack Ma is one of those self-made billionaires with humble beginnings. Jack Ma was born in Hangzhou, located in the south-eastern part of China. He was born and raised along with an elder brother and a younger sister during the rise of communist China and its isolation from the Western regions. His parents were traditional Musicians-Storytellers and they didn’t make enough to be even considered as middle class during those days. Former US president Richard Nixon’s visit to Hangzhou in 1972 improved the situation of tourism in his home-town and Jack wanted to make the most of this opportunity. Jack always wanted to learn English as a kid and he spent his early mornings riding on his bike to a nearby park, giving English tours to foreigners for free. A foreign girl whom he met gave him the nickname ‘Jack’ for his name was hard to spell for her. Jack, after graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in English, worked as an English teacher at Hangzhou Dianzi University with a pay of $12 a month! Now here comes the part where it gets more interesting, even before he has received that degree and became an English teacher.
Rejected, But Not a Failure.
Jack Ma as an extremely lucky bloke who just became a billionaire in a snap. But it is safe to know that Rejections are synonymous with Jack Ma. You wouldn’t believe the number of times this man has been rejected and failed. In his early childhood, Jack Ma Failed in his Primary School examinations, not once, but twice! He failed thrice during his Middle School exams. When applying to universities after his High school, Jack failed the entrance exams thrice, before finally joining Hangzhou Normal University. He also applied and wrote to Harvard University about being admitted for ten times – and got rejected each time. This was only during his education! During and after his Bachelor’s degree Jack tried and failed to get a job at a multitude of places. After spending their three years to get into a University, Jack unsuccessful to land a job after applying to them 30 times! He recollects in his interview, “When KFC came to China, 24 people went for the job. Twenty-three people were accepted. I was the only guy who wasn’t.” He also one of the 5 applicants to a job in Police force and was the only one getting rejected after being told, “No, you’re no good.” Also, on his Entrepreneurial undertakings, Jack Ma went on to fail on two of his initial ventures. But that didn’t stop him in any way of dreaming bigger.