Dec 4, 2016 filed under Living Virtue.

road to success


Does the to-do list of the wealthiest man in China offer any tips for growing in virtue? Take a look below and see for yourself. 

Jack Ma is a titan of the internet business world. His goals may not match up exactly with yours, but his advice is still chock-full of virtuous actions. Generosity, self-control, courage, justice, studiousness, prudence, and patience, to name a few. Can you spot any more? And which ones do you think would be most helpful in becoming more Christ-like?

In this penitential and reflective season of Advent, ask yourself what one thing from this list can you start doing today?

Love always,

  1. Lists your three most important things every day.
  2. Arrive to the office ten minutes earlier than others.
  3. Think for a few seconds before speaking.
  4. Count to 30 before throwing a tantrum.
  5. When in doubt, pick the hardest thing to do.
  6. Give everything a deadline.
  7. Sit in the front row.
  8. Observe people walking in front of you.
  9. Leave the office ten minutes later than others.
  10. Remember the names of everyone around you.
  11. Do everything enthusiastically, even sweeping the floor.
  12. Praise others behind their backs.
  13. Pay attention to everyone around you.
  14. Let others finish speaking.
  15. Give others a little more than they expect.
  16. Praise people before criticizing them.
  17. Always carry a pen and paper.
  18. Note down your dreams within five minutes of waking up.
  19. List your ten weaknesses, and correct them one by one.
  20. When it comes to important decisions, sleep on it.
  21. Ask yourself questions five minutes before sleeping.
  22. Keep smiling every day.
  23. Never bring work home.
  24. Eat breakfast with your family.
  25. Meet new friends through old friends.
  26. Spend half an hour a day reading books.
  27. Have four short-term goals, and one main goal.
  28. Never let making money be your main goal in life.
  29. Read your goals aloud ten times a day.
  30. Take immediate action!
Translation of Jack Ma’s “Top 30” list from

13 Responses to “30 Hot Tips for Success”

  1. Rose Folsom

    Rita writes in by email with her choice on the list: #20. And she adds this gem of wisdom: “If you can narrow down your sense of need, you can buy yourself an incredible amount of freedom.”

  2. Sheila Kitzman

    So many worthwhile suggestions. I chose #3: Wait a few seconds before speaking. I need to think carefully about what has been said to me, and in the short pause before I speak, I will ask myself these questions:
    Is it kind? Is it true? Is it necessary?

    • Rose Folsom

      Wonderful observation. Responding too quickly can make me forget that being kind can be more important than being right.

  3. Tom Roberts

    Many of these hot tips remind us to stay in the present. Others suggest making rational plans for the future, rather than worrying about the future. Jesus said in Matthew 6 “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ Or ‘What shall we drink?’ Or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your Heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

    Many effective people have employed these maxims. Number 15 reads Give others a little more than they expect. General David Petraeus said “Under-promise and over-deliver.” Number 15 reads Take immediate action! Theodore Roosevelt said “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” He also said “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.” Number 20, “When it comes to important decisions, sleep on it” seems to contradict number 30, but I take it as preparedness; thinking through important decisions before they come up, especially to think of the ethical ramifications of decisions. Closely related is the Ethical Dialogue of Pope John XXIII, known popularly as “Only for Today”

  4. Marsha

    Hi Rose,

    I noticed No. 31 is missing……”put God first”and all thirty will be accomplished if it is God’s will for our lives. God bless you!

  5. A freind

    This is great stuff, Rose. I am surprised at how many of those things that I have tried to teach my kids and find myself disappointed at how many of those “bullets” that I fall short on.

    In any case, I can add a few to the list. Perhaps even 24 or more. The Commandments by which we are all supposed to live might be an excellent set of good ideas to add . . as would the aggressive avoidance of the “Seven Deadly Sins.” (That makes an additional 17 if I’m not mistaken.) There are a few that I always try to use daily.

    48. Never lie.
    49. Always tell the truth (not quite the same as #48).
    50. Give everyone you meet more respect than you imagine they are due.
    51. Always keep an open mind.
    52. When you are talking with someone, make sure that you use more of the time asking them questions about what they are doing rather than talking about yourself and what you are doing.
    53. Listen to what other people are trying to say, assess it’s value, and then either respond or act accordingly.
    54. Know the difference between good and evil in your daily life (most marketing is fundamentally evil).
    55. Here’s the BIG ONE. Always attempt to live by the “Golden Rule.”

    • Rose Folsom

      Dear Friend,
      Thank you for the additions. I’ll try to look on the bright side that you’ve provided the good ideas instead of being sad that there are now another 25 things I fall short on! :)

  6. monica mutai

    Hi Rose,

    What great advice! The ones I try to practice everyday are #15, give others more than what they expect, and along with that #2 arrive for work 10 minutes early. I work in customer service and I’ve seen what a difference these make in real life situations. A close third is #22, keep smiling, it just makes everyone feel better.

    • Rose Folsom

      I read somewhere that smiling actually does release hormones that make us feel better, plus the effect it has on everyone else. Your employers are lucky to have someone with such a great attitude in customer service!

  7. Christine

    “Let others finish speaking.” This is a big one for me. I want to focus more on what I can learn from others! This requires peacefully listening to what they are trying to communicate, rather than waiting for a moment to jump in and have my say.

    • Rose Folsom

      Thanks for pointing out the two parts: not only letting others finish, but really listening to what they’re saying instead of mentally jumping ahead to the response.