This article will help you see failure in new light. It is based on the experiences of Alibaba founder, Jack Ma, who is 51 and currently worth $23.3 billion.
Alibaba is a successful business to business online retail store, which wouldn’t be the case if it’s founder, Jack Ma had given up in the face of repeated failures. Basically, you can either fail and give up; or fail, be persistent, and be a Jack Ma!
1. He Didn’t Give Up After Failing Many Exams at School
Jack Ma was not a good student, and his history of getting over failure started as early as primary school. He failed the equivalent of China’s Common Entrance twice, and almost didn’t get into junior secondary school.
He failed the equivalent of China’s Junior WAEC three times, and the equivalent of China’s UTME twice! But you know what? He tried each of these exams one more time, passed, and progressed to the next level!
2. He Performed Poorly In His University Entrance Examination
In the Mathematics portion of his university entrance examination, he scored less than 1 percent not because he was lazy, but as he admits
I am not good at maths, have never studied management, and still cannot read accounting reports
Yet, these inadequacies did not stop him from founding a tech company, which is built on a mathematical principle called algorithm. Obviously, he did not need to be a Maths expert to be creative, imaginative, find his other abilities, and follow his dream!
3. He Was Rejected By Harvard University 10 Times
Imagine applying to a university like UNILAG or UI and being rejected each of the 10 times you applied! That was exactly what happened to Jack Ma, but he believes that having patience is a very important skill one should possess.
So did Harvard eventually accept him? No. He later attended Hangzhou Normal University, where he studied English. It appears he learnt how to make lemonade out of lemons.
4. He Was Turned Down For 30 Jobs
After graduating university, he applied to 30 different jobs and was rejected by them all! He even applied to be a police officer, but was rejected because they felt “he was no good”. If only they could see him now.
5. He Was the Only Applicant Out Of 24 To Be Rejected
Out of 24 applicants for a job at KFC, Jack Ma was the only one to be rejected. He attributes this largely to his lack of good looks and short stature. But through his present success, he has proven that good looks and a tall stature do not the road to success pave.
6. He Ensured To Learn From His Mistakes
In one of the worst financial and motivational decisions a CEO can make, Jack Ma told the 18 partners of his company that none of them should expect to rise above the rank of manager. His plan was to hire outside managers.
This, he notes, is his biggest mistake ever:
The lessons I learnt from the dark days at Alibaba are that you have got to make your team have value, innovation, and vision
Jack Ma is living proof that no series of failures – no matter how sad and depressing – can keep you from achieving your dreams. His story is a reminder that if at first you do not succeed, try and try and try again
And as Jack himself says:
If you don’t give up, you still have a chance. Giving up is the greatest failure