The Problem With Financial Success

“Having money is more fun than not having any!” Seems logical, but is it always true? Does having more money always bring joy and life fulfilment?

A documentary on Dutch TV described the rise to fame of a Dutch artist Folkert de Jong, one of the most successful contemporary artists in Holland. His expressive sculptures and installations are very popular and ‘are selling like hot cakes.’ Rich collectors, like Charles Saatchi, Damien First and Tracey Emin fought each other for his work.

Folkert de Jong told of his journey. “One minute you are making something in your atelier  in old Amsterdam and the next it’s worth € 40.000 or even a hundred thousand. The ever increasing bank balance sent him crazy, he tells. ” All of a sudden there were secretaries, and assistants, it became much more commercial. I held lots of exhibitions and had to produce more and more. It was like becoming another person, driven by money and power.”  Eventually stress tore him apart, constantly arguing with his business friends, who ‘turned out not to be friends at all.”

This all led to bankruptcy, and left him with a debt of over half a million euros.

“I knew I had to get back to basics, back to myself … I made by best work when I had no prospects at all!”

This mirrors the experience of probably the richest man who ever lived, Kong Solomon. He said, “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity. When goods increase, they increase who eat them, and what advantage has their owner but to see them with his eyes? Sweet is the sleep of a laborer, whether he eats little or much, but the full stomach of the rich will not let him sleep.” (Ecclesiastes 5:10-12)

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