One of the richest people in the world was in my city, Nairobi, this week.
His name is Jack Ma, the 23rd richest person in the world according to Forbes List of the wealthiest people.
During Jack Ma’s visit, he gave a scintillating talk on what it takes to succeed in life.
Coming from a poor background, Jack Ma had to struggle against many odds, including his own parents who pointedly told him he was not cut for business.
Well, that did not stop him from becoming one of the world’s richest.
Below are ten rules of success gleaned from Jack Ma’s speech delivered at the University of Nairobi.
1. If you want to be a big company, solve big problems, if you want to be small, solve small ones.
To succeed in life, you need to think big!
According Jack Ma, the scale of success depends on an individual’s drive. Do you want big or measured success? There is no point of thinking small when you can think big.
Accord to Jack Ma, Alibaba’s profits are projected to rise by 45-48% in 2017. “Our revenue this year, we will still have 45-48 percent growth, the money comes from solving problems for others” (source: News18).
Do you want to make a lot of money? Then provide a solution that will solve people’s problems. The more people you help, the more money you receive. When you seek to solve others’ problems, success is inevitable.
2. Hire better and smarter people.
Hire people who have potential to be your boss in five years time. Don’t hire people who want to be your servants.
Working with people with an employee mentality only helps to sustain your vision. But when you hire people with an entrepreneurial mindset, they will drive and expand your vision beyond what you had envisioned. This is the surest way of ensuring a legacy that goes beyond your vision and your lifetime.
3. Productivity is directly proportional to relationships.
Donald Trump in his flagship reality TV programme, The Apprentice, used to say: “It’s not personal. It’s just business”. He would then go on to fire someone.
When you make everything ‘just business’ and forget that you are working with people who have feelings, you miss the point. To succeed, you need to establish functional relationships with your employees.
If people know and feel that you care about them, they are more willing to work harder for you. Suddenly your success becomes their passion; and your victories become theirs as well.
4. There is an opportunity in every complaint.
Hidden in people’s complaints are opportunities that complainers cannot see because of their obsession with everything that they think is going wrong.
Smart people, however, watch and listen as people complain. Rather than join the complainers bandwagon, they look for ways of addressing those complaints. In the process, they become wildly successful.
5. You can succeed without money.
Nothing drives success better than a person with a dream and a great idea. A great idea will always attract resources. There are so many people today looking to invest in innovative ideas that have a guaranteed return on investment.
If you can prove that your idea is going to make others richer, investors will be trooping over themselves to invest in it.
The greatest lack that most poor people have is not a lack of money; it’s a lack great ideas.
6. Act now.
To succeed in life, you need to act now. You don’t have to figure everything out before you step out. To change your life, you must be prepared to venture into the unknown and chart your progress as you move ahead.
Granted, you will make mistakes along the way. At other times you will fall flat on your face. This should however not stop you. Instead, learn your lessons and keep moving ahead. Sooner or later you will find yourself in success territory.
If you really want your life to change, act now. Change will not come if you wait for some other time.
7. To reach the top, become a student of success.
To attain true greatness, you need to listen to others and learn as much as you can from them; and never stop learning.
Success often eludes those who think they know it all. No one knows it all. There are people out there who have been where you want to go. Seek them out and learn as much as you can from them. You may not have direct face-to-face access to them, but you can read their books and visit their blogs; watch and listen to their training videos, or even sign up for their master class mentorship programs.
The moment you stop learning is the moment you stop growing. And the moment you stop growing is the moment you start failing.
8. Shun jealousy and hatred.
Only cowards and lazy people harbor feelings of hatred and jealousy. Rather than hate those who are doing better than you, seek to become their friend.
You will always receive what you give. If you give out hatred, hatred will come back to you. When you wish others well, you create a network of friends who will be willing to do everything in their power to help you succeed.
Learn to genuinely appreciate and applaud the success of others and you will soon be enjoying their level of success as well.
9. Dare to be different.
Don’t be a copycat!
If you do what so many others are already excelling in, you will very likely be lost in the crowd.
A great idea is also a unique idea. It may not be an entirely new idea, but it must be uniquely different.
For instance, the fact that there are so many banks today does not mean that opening a new bank is not a great idea. But your bank need to have a uniqueness that will make people chose it over the others.
10. Learn from failure.
Some of the most inspiring people in the world failed so many times before they finally attained their goals. You may have heard the story of Colonel Sanders who failed countless times before finally finding success in his retirement.
One of the things Colonel Sanders would tell you today if he were alive would be that failure is not permanent.
The problem that most people have is that they look at failure as a sentence rather than looking at it as a series of lessons that ultimately lead to success.
Don’t let failure stop you. Instead, learn from it …. and never give up.