Retired At 40.

by Patrick Liew on August 20, 2019

Retired At 40.

Have you ever had a short encounter that stuck in your mind for the rest of your life?

Let me share with you one of such encounters in my life.

I was walking along the street one day and then suddenly, I heard a loud “Patrick Liew!”

When I turned around, I came face to face with somebody who seemed like a total stranger to me.

Until today, I have no inkling about who he was and how we got to know one another.

After the usual greetings, he looked at me all of a sudden and said, “I have never forgotten you.

“We participated in a youth camp when we were 16.

“There was this session where all the campers had to share what we want to be when we reach 40 years old.

“Every camper stood up and share the usual dreams – to be a doctor, lawyer, engineer, accountant, teacher and so on.

“But you were different from the rest.

“I remember you stood in front of everybody and told them confidently, “When I reach 40 years old, I will stop working. I will be fully retired.

“At that moment, there was complete silence in the room. I supposed they were shocked by your big dream.”

After he had walked away, I tried to recall what happened during the bootcamp and how I had shared my dream with the campers.

Then, an epiphany hit me.

At 40 years old, I actually retired – at least for a short while.

At that point, as a leader and an organizational man, I had groomed a team of professionals to help me lead and manage my business.

I had put in place systems, structures and processes to operate without me.

More importantly, I had developed an open innovation system to help the company to constantly improve itself.

The system also compelled the company to renew itself in meeting evolving needs and expectations of the market.

So, I was able to retire. But there was another important reason for my retirement.

At that point, my two beautiful daughters were 4 and 2 years of age.

They were the cutest, the most charming, the smartest, and the most fun-to-be-with children that any father can ever hope to have – and I’m a totally unbiased father.

I retired and spent lots of time playing with my children.

When they were not available, I spent time to develop myself personally and professionally.

Yes, you can take me out of the business world but you can’t take business world out of me.

I continued to learn about entrepreneurship and investment.

Those were some of the most wonderful times in my life but they were short-lived.

That year, Elsa my eldest daughter was enrolled in a childcare centre and most of her classmates had fathers who had to work for a living.

One day, I remember she came back from the childcare centre and she pushed me to the main door.

She told me, “Papa, you’re a very lazy person. You must go and work.”

And so, with her “blessing,” I came back to work with a renewed vision and vigor.

Why am I telling you this story?

Desire is the fuel that turns dreams into reality.

Desire that is well managed can lead to healthy desperation.

Healthy desperation can lead to definiteness of purpose.

Definiteness of purpose can result in unwavering perseverance.

Unwavering perseverance for the right cause can lead to lasting success.


I hope this message will find a place in your heart.

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

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Life is FUNtastic!


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