Friday, February 12, 2010

Less is more happiness

Thanks very much to RTBH reader Oliver who sent this story from UK newspaper The Telegraph today, about an Austrian millionaire who decided to part with all his property and belongings, in return for a simpler life. Karl Rabeder had humble beginnings and worked hard to acquire his fortune. But when he realized that his many properties - and six gliders! - were not only not making him happy, but had become a kind of weight around his neck, he began to sell them off. All proceeds are going to charities Rabeder supports in South America. The Telegraph quotes Rabeder: "More and more I heard the words: 'Stop what you are doing now – all this luxury and consumerism – and start your real life'," he said. "I had the feeling I was working as a slave for things that I did not wish for or need. I have the feeling that there are lot of people doing the same thing." That's surely true - though not many of us have six gliders... But perhaps Rabeder's story will cause some of the more privileged among us to stop and think: am I really living, or just living it up?


Diana P said...

Excellent story!

Great to see someone kicking off their affluenza and giving money to charity to boot.

Makes you think: how can we encourage other people to make similar conversions? If people begin to realise that extra wealth brings little extra satisfaction after a certain point, do they need a different motivation, and what should it be? Should we encourage rich people to follow his lead or enforce it somehow? And is there something wrong with the idea of property as we currently concieve it?

Let's hope his example becomes more common, and that Mr R himself continues to feel 'not heavy' now he's given away his gliders... :-)

Todd said...

Great story! The richness of simplicity will no doubt make Rabeder a spiritually, emotionally and relationally wealthy man!

cookBlogger said...

Very nice story - it is, in fact, a hard thing to become "...'brave' enough to give up all the trappings of [our] comfortable existence."

One of the most challenging aspects for some of us, I believe, is having children who have become accustomed to the "normal" lifestyle - breaking free with them as part of the journey is very frightening. How does one achieve such an accomplishment...e.g. traveling the world working all along the way to experience life but keeping them in school and not socially torn from all the uprootings? That's just one example of leading a life of what i would call "true living" where seeing the world around us is a lifestyle (no tin a luxurious way), not a dream.