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Jack Ma is retiring early and science indicates he may be on to something.
Ma recently relinquished his ownership of “variable interest entities” in Alibaba, a step toward his announced succession plan that would gradually phase himself out of the tech giant he founded 19 years ago.
This also brings the 54-year-old magnate closer to realizing his dream of spending more time outside of work, an idea that, according to science, is what more people should be aspiring to do, CNBC reports.
Based on the findings of a recent study in Finland, taking vacations from work can significantly prolong a person’s life.
The 40-year research, which studied 1,222 middle-aged male executives, found that even hard-driving executives can live longer when they take vacations compared to those who do not.
The executives who vacationed for three weeks or more per year reportedly lived longer than those who vacationed for three weeks or less, indicating that longevity improves the longer a person vacations.
Researcher Timo Strandberg pointed out that neither stopping smoking nor eating better can compensate for working too hard and not taking time off.
“Vacations can be a good way to relieve stress,” Strandberg, a University of Helsinki professor, noted at this year’s European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress.
When Ma stepped down as CEO of Alibaba in 2013 and stayed on as its chairman, he thought that he would “have more free time to play golf on the beach.”
However, he maintained a busy schedule and ended up spending hundreds of hours more traveling for work.
Ma noted that while he didn’t have time to spend on the beach, he is still aiming to finally reach his dream of “dying” on a beach instead of his office.
“In my 80s or 90s, maybe I’m on the beach, I listen to the radio, and the news says that Alibaba does wonderfully. I will be profoundly happy,” he was quoted as saying.
The Chinese billionaire, who once noted that the “happiest moment” of his life was when he was a poor teacher, is apparently now pursuing his happiness earlier than planned.
“I want to be my own self, and I want to enjoy my life,” he said.
Aside from taking time off, Ma also plans to return to teaching while continuing his philanthropy work.
Featured Image via YouTube / The School of Self