How This Simple Painting Could Help You Live A Richer Life
Big announcement coming tomorrow…
Make sure you look out for it.
All the details of the ‘mysterious’ project I’ve been working on behind the scenes will be revealed. It’s good: you’ll like it.
Today, though, I want to talk about the 17th century Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer and how he can help you live a richer life.
You’ll see what I mean…
A Richer Life Is Not A More Expensive Life
Take a look at this painting…
It’s called The Little Street and was painted sometime between 1657 and 1658.
I love it.
I have a print of it at home and regularly pause to admire it.
Perhaps you’ll agree it’s aesthetically pleasing – the arrangement of the painting and the use of colour, I think, is excellent.
But that’s not the only reason I like this painting. It’s the context behind it that really makes this great. It helps me to remember a key lesson about living a rich and happy life…
That there is as much pleasure to be had in the small, mundane features of everyday life as there is in the expensive extravagance that people normally associate with a rich life.
You see The Little Street is just one painting by Vermeer that depicts the ordinary everyday life of people. He also painted many other normal things… a maid pouring milk, people learning to play musical instruments, a man looking at a map.
Gripping stuff, right?
Sure, this doesn’t sound particularly interesting these days. Ever since Warhol painted soup cans, it’s become normal for modern art to depict mundane things.
But Vermeer was well ahead of his time…
It’s important to remember that at the time – Vermeer was painting in the late 1600s – people didn’t paint ‘normal’ things. Instead people painted rich people, royalty, fancy women in fancy frocks and so on. It wasn’t ‘the done thing’ to paint normal stuff.
He saw beauty in the simple things in life and chose, as an artist, to capture that beauty for other people to see.Vermeer changed that.
Take another look at The Little Street and notice the woman sweeping in the alley… another sewing in the doorway… and a couple gathered on the street outside, maybe cleaning, maybe playing a little game…
And then look over the painting again and see how calm it is… how content. Do you have the same reaction I have? A sense that somehow Vermeer has captured here the contentment of everyday life. A kind of quiet happiness.
Frankly, I find it a very relaxing painting,
And it reminds me, as I say, that living a rich and happy life is not just about accumulating as many expensive baubles as possible…
Living rich, to me at least, is about finding contentment in the things you already do have, rather than yearning for things you don’t – and are probably unnecessary anyway.
For example, instead of wasting your money on a new pair of trainers just because your current ones are a bit worn, why not change the way you think about your current ones and save the money.
Think how Vermeer would see them…
Instead of seeing the wear and tear as a bad thing, he would likely have seen experience and memory… they’re worn because of all the walking you’ve done and all the things you’ve seen… they have character that a brand new pair would not have.
Think like that and chances are you’ll realise they’re not as worn out as you think and you can save the money for a new pair and spend that on creating wealth instead of buying unnecessary material things.
Of course, if you’re trainers are literally falling apart, you probably need a new pair – but you get the point.
By looking at the things you do have in a different way and finding contentment in them, you’ll be able to set aside a lot more money to invest in growing your wealth.