How Billionaire Jack Ma Can Reshape the Way We Think About Failure

Valuables lessons that will make you rethink your perspective on what it means to succeed.

Jaleel & Nicole
5 min readSep 2, 2020


Photo by Andrew Wulf on Unsplash

Jack Ma, founder of the Alibaba group — one of the largest e-commerce companies in the world — knows more about failure better than anyone.

Before becoming China’s wealthiest man, he applied to be a waiter, a cop, and at least 28 more jobs in his home city of Hangzhou, China.

He was rejected by every single one.

Before that, he had failed twice in his university entrance exam and was refused by the Harvard Business School ten times.

“If you can not get used to failure — just like a boxer — if you can’t get used to [being] hit, how can you win?”

It was 18 years after the success of his company that he delivered this address to a hopeful audience of young entrepreneurs at the University of Nairobi.

Jack Ma, whose family used to earn $7 a month, now has a net worth of $48.7 billion, according to Forbes.

He is a prominent business leader, an environmentalist, and a philanthropist, who has attributed much of his success to his many failures.

Today, he serves as an inspirational story that echoes the classic tale of persistence and perseverance, one that is worth listening to and emulating for the years to come.

“Never give up. Today is hard, tomorrow will be worse, but the day after tomorrow will be sunshine.”

For people like Jack Ma, giving up is the greatest failure.

This is because he believes that as long as we keep pushing forward, we are rewarded with infinite chances to succeed.

In life, nothing worth having comes easy. This is why the road to success is mired with numerous obstacles.

But success depends on our ability to persist and persevere despite the difficulties. True success is not measured by the results, but by the number of times, we keep soldiering on.



Jaleel & Nicole

Writing about life and how to be better at it. We cover topics in psychology, mental health, and relationships.