How to be successful in your 20s, 30s, 40s and beyond

Self-made billionaire Jack Ma: How to be successful in your 20s, 30s, 40s and beyond

When Alibaba founder and current CEO Jack Ma was a young adult, he submitted applications to more than 30 different positions but was unsuccessful in obtaining any of them. Despite the fact that Ma didn't start having professional success until he was in his 30s, the e-commerce company he founded is now worth $519 billion. Ma is 53 years old.


Ma recently told a group of young leaders who were invited to the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that "in life, it's not how much we achieved, it's how much we've gone through the bad days and mistakes." Ma made this statement to the group of young leaders. "If you want to be successful, learn from the mistakes that other people have made rather than the stories of other people who have been successful."


Ma shared his insights as a former member of the Young Global Leaders network with the group of young adults in the room, offering guidance on what they ought to prioritize over the next three decades.


Ma advised those who were between the ages of 20 and 30 to "learn how to do things properly when you are 20 to 30 years old by following a good boss [and] joining a good company."


If you want to accomplish something for yourself between the ages of 30 and 40, you should just go ahead and do it. You still have the luxury of losing and falling short," he continued.


Not long after that, however, Ma advised that individuals begin placing a higher value on stability, family, and the continuation of their lineage.


"While you're 40 to 50 years old, my proposal is that you should do things you are excellent at," he added, "instead of delving into a new profession or subject toward the later years in your career." [C]onsider doing things you are good at when you are in your 40s and 50s.


"When you are between the ages of 50 and 60, spend time training and developing young people, the generation that will follow you," Ma suggested. If you are over the age of 60, you should spend as much time as possible with your grandchildren.


Ma referred to individuals in their twenties and thirties as "the luckiest" since they still have a great deal to discover in the world.


Ma advised his students not to base their objectives and ambitions on the achievements of other people but rather to create their own rivalry with themselves. This can be accomplished by visualizing what you would like your life to be like in 10 years, a strategy that proved successful for him.


He stated, "Even now, when I was a small lad, I never in a million years imagined that I would be here." Ma is quoted as having observed, "When I look back, every obstacle I experienced when I was a kid served a purpose for me."


"I failed so many times, people probably know that I applied for so many jobs, over 30 jobs, all rejected, not even got a chance: 24 of us interviewed for a job at KFC, 23 got accepted, and I was the only guy rejected," he explained. "I failed so many times, people probably know that I applied for so many jobs, over 30 jobs, all rejected, not even got a chance: 24 of us interviewed for a job at


Ma also talked about the time he submitted his application for a "police position" together with five other individuals. He was the only member of the group to have his application turned down. On another occasion, he and his cousin submitted applications to work as wait staff at a luxury hotel with four stars. Ma shared their experience, "We waited [in a] big queue for two hours." Even though his cousin was hired for the position, he was not successful in getting the job.


Even though he claimed that his mother shook her head at him, he chose not to feel disheartened and instead thought to himself, "I know this is a learning experience for me."


Ma never quit up, despite the fact that he claims he felt like a failure well before he reached his 30s. He gave himself the task of competing against himself, envisioned what he wanted to have accomplished in the next decade, and worked as hard as he could to achieve his objective.


Ma is said as having observed, "No matter how smart you are, you will encounter blunders." "You learn from mistakes not because you will be able to avoid making mistakes in the future; rather, you learn how to deal with it and how to face it when these mistakes come, [when] these hurts come."


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