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More people value quality lifestyle over material success and social status

By Charlie Yip

How many people regret spending their whole life on doing things they do not like with low salary and satisfaction instead of devoting their lifetime to chase after dreams or achieve goals? 

The concept of life goals has changed when fulfilling basic needs in life is no longer a difficult achievement in modern society. People are no longer satisfied with three stable meals a day or a roof over their heads. Many people are now pursuing “quality lifestyle” that can hardly be defined by money but going after desires and fantasies — be them their hobbies, dreams or passion. Some people dare to escape from the old-fashioned nine-to-five job and turn their thoughts into reality. 

Retiring Early

Retired at the age of 19, Hillman Chan, founder of the Dreamwork team, has enjoyed quality lifestyle that he has life controlled in his hands. His business on multi-level marketing of health-related products generates passive income to support his daily expenses. Chan introduces himself as a person who only worked 19 months in his whole life. He has already retired for more than 30 years.

Chan and his wife celebrated Dreamwork office opening. (Photo courtesy: Chan)

 “I had decided not to work before I started working,” Chan says. He loathes following social norms and craves for a life that allows him to travel and accompany his family. He defines quality lifestyle as being able to have full control over one’s own time and do things that are worth spending time on within one’s own financial capacity. 

Chan believes it is the correct decision as it grants him countless unforgettable moments. “I witnessed how my youngest daughter learned to ride a bicycle and swim, and I can watch my kids growing up,” the father of three says. 

Meaning of Success

Chan is not alone in his pursuit for quality lifestyle. Shalom Lam, currently a Year three student majoring in Economics and Finance at the University of Hong Kong, strives to retire when she graduates by building up her business project. 

“There is a great difference between success and achievements. Most people strive for achievements, but I am not convinced that achievements add meanings to your life,” Lam says. She believes success is living a life she wishes and being able to inspire others. This includes being an influential person in interpersonal relationships and family.

Most people strive for achievements, but I am not convinced that achievements add meanings to your life.

Shalom Lam, a Year three student majoring in Economics and Finance at the University of Hong Kong

Lam cites an example of a typical “successful person”, who was a senior student of her department and became regional vice-president of a company at the age of 25. “He has a serious health problem recently. Yet, he is not willing to take sick leave because his position at the company may be threatened when he is away. He still works until midnight every day. This tells me high salary does not necessarily bring happiness,” Lam sighs. 

Lam (right two, first row) and her business partners had a training about their business. (Photo courtesy: Lam)

To Lam, success is not merely defined by money or job title but also by how much time and freedom one has. “What is the point of earning millions a year but not having any free time and a healthy body to spend it?” Lam adds.

Lam is longing to be an influential person who can inspire others with her experience, but not simply to have a well-paid job. “It is meaningful if my story can inspire others or encourage them to dream about their future,” Lam says. 

Work-life Balance 

Setting up a start-up business is certainly not the sole path to quality lifestyle. People working full time can also enjoy balance between career and emotional satisfaction.

Luk enjoys playing water sports in her leisure time. (Photo courtesy: Luk)

Mill Luk, executive director of a prominent communications design and production listed company, thinks she is able to strike a healthy work-life balance. Despite her busy schedule, she still manages to find time to travel with her husband and children, does volunteer work and plays water sports and ball games with her besties.

 “The definition of quality lifestyle varies among people. I consider it as a lifestyle of knowing how to take care of yourself before handling other matters. Quality lifestyle is how you manage time for your family, health, social life and entertainment. At the same time, you can choose how you want to live your life,” Luk says. 

Being a member of a company’s senior management and earning a fortune is generally regarded as success. But this is not the case for Luk. “Only a few people are successful. So it is inappropriate to interpret success from the majorities’ point of view. Many successful figures may not have lucrative income. But they are successful in giving meanings to others’ lives,” Luk says.

Many successful figures may not have lucrative income. But they are successful in giving meanings to others’ lives.

Mill Luk, executive director of a communications design and production listed company

She believes everyone has the right to pursue their own quality lifestyle. The only determining factor is whether their dreams are indispensable enough to be realised. “If you believe work-life balance is your ultimate life goal, you must have good time management to achieve your goal,” Luk says.

Luk visited an orphanage in Cambodia for voluntary services. (Photo courtesy: Luk)

Asked whether the three interviewees would encourage youngsters to step out of the box and chase for quality lifestyle that they want, they unanimously mention the same term — delay gratification. “Youngsters ought to discover their life goals. I encourage them to plan their personalised quality time while learning,” Luk suggests.

Edited by Tiffany Chong
Sub-edited by Cynthia Sit