I read an article about a speech given by Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba. Not the Ali Baba who found the cave of the forty thieves and became a very rich man using old fashioned phishing and hacking techniques. It’s the other Alibaba: the Chinese e-commerce site that made Mr. Ma one of the richest men in the Universe … rich enough to buy that cave and many more like it.
The entire article is good: short, sweet, and interesting. It’s a 4-part advice on how to be successful:
- Stop complaining;
- Don’t be afraid to change;
- Have fun;
- Believe in yourself.
I recommend you read the whole article. It’s good advice in general, and you can find ways to apply it to your writing. There’s one thing that I think needs to be explained though. Jack talks about today’s students and “their breadth of knowledge and sophistication”. Here is part of his speech:
“Young people today are much more capable than we were,” Ma said. “I feel lucky that I started my business 15 years ago. I would be defeated badly if I started today. All you need is to be confident in yourself and your partners when others are against you,” he said.
I agree that young people today are more knowledgeable than I was at their age. Heck, everyone can be more knowledgeable nowadays. But access to knowledge, or even intrinsic knowledge, doesn’t make you successful. It’s the hard work that you put in, once you have the knowledge, that will make you successful.
I doubt that Jack Ma succeeded only because he started fifteen years ago. It was his work ethic that got him where he is today. Working smarter is not enough. You also have to work harder. That’s why you have to choose your job/career/vocation/craft or whatever you want to call it carefully. You’ll be spending many hours over “many-er” moons to become good at it. You might as well choose something you love doing in the first place.
I couldn’t be the next Jack Ma because I have no interest in e-commerce. The minimalist in me rebels at the idea of a simple shopping trip. I would be completely miserable working on an e-commerce business venture. But don’t get me started on hiking, running, bike riding, reading, writing, and tree hugging stuff. I could go on and on talking about those … longer than all the Energizer bunnies in the world. They are my passion. I just have to figure out a way to be more focused so I can one day be successful … whatever that term might mean to me.
Now I’ll go do some work on my fiction. Some days it feels like pulling teeth, but I’d rather spend my time writing than shopping. I’m not kidding!!!
My next post will be about Kumail Nanjiani. (I had to triple check that I spelled that correctly!) He’s a good example of working smarter and harder at something you love doing.