Jack Ma is the founder and Executive Chairman of Alibaba, China's biggest online e-commerce company (with a $482 billion market cap). Ma is one of the richest men in the world, accumulating a net worth of $47 billion through Alibaba. He is renowned for his persistence, particularly during his earlier years, before he founded Alibaba, when he was repeatedly rejected from Harvard, jobs, and other opportunities.
Through his studies of the Western world and how businesses operate there versus how they do in the East, he was able to use his understanding to blend the two into an ultimate recipe for success. This unorthodox approach to management, as far as Eastern businesses are concerned, is what has helped to elevate him and his company to where it is today.
Making the most of your time after work
Ma credits much of his success to the hours he put in ‘outside’ of typical work hours. This is the time when he believes you ultimately define your future, figure out what you want to do, and how to be excellent at it.
“I always tell myself that we are born here not to work, but to enjoy life. We are here to make things better for one another, and not to work. If you are spending your whole life working, you will certainly regret it,” said Ma.
How to make the most of your time like Jack Ma with habits
1. Make the most of your time outside of work by choosing to learn more or work on a side project
The time that you have outside of your current office hours is your time to broaden your knowledge and understanding--and enjoy it. You can use this time to learn a new language, take up a new hobby, or enhance some of your skills. You should try to:
“Spend at least 5 minutes every night after work learning something new”
Two things to keep in mind here would be:
- You don’t have to learn a whole “new” thing every night, in fact, you might want to pick one thing (e.g. a language) and spend time on it for a period every night for a few months.
- You should aim to increase the time you spend doing this gradually, for example by 5 minutes every night for a few weeks.
Once you’ve become familiar with spending more time learning and developing your knowledge you might want to start taking on more things to learn.
2. Set aside time to understand what you enjoy and how you can do that or work in that environment
Based on Ma’s fundamental principles by which he has developed his learning over the years, it’s important to spend time actively understanding more about yourself and what you enjoy. As mentioned above, Ma believes that you should enjoy whatever you’re doing, and not feel restricted by doing tasks or a job that you find boring. You can motivate yourself to accomplish more by building a habit of:
“Spending 10 minutes each weeknight doing <insert task here>”
Start by writing down one goal you have for the next week, or month, for example, be able to pronounce and remember 50 words of French. In that case the task would be to spend 10 minutes each weeknight learning French vocabulary. If you’re unsure about what you’d like to learn more about you can always spend some time experimenting with a variety of different types of tasks and see which you find more enjoyable.
3. Practice optimism at the end of every day
Getting into a habit of taking a positive attitude towards your work, life and the challenges you face will not only help you make more logical, strong decisions, but it will mean you’re in a more secure mental position. Positivity and optimism are both key to success:
“Write down 1 thing that went really well at the end of each day”
You can, and naturally, you will increase the length of the list over time to 3-5 positive things that happened. Taking a positive outlook on your life and work will not only make you appreciate what you currently have but also what you could achieve.
The suggested habits throughout the above article can be copied into the Evolution 2 habit tracker. Just sign-up for your account here.