Who would have ever thought that a deceased Italian dude could have taught me to be rich right? I mean, the guys been dead for almost 500 years, what does he know about making money in today’s world? Well, since I’ve never talked to him I can’t tell you for sure but nonetheless his life definitely opened my eyes to a powerful wealth building strategy and in this article will share with you exactly how Michelangelo taught me to be rich!
Many of you watching are probably aware of who Michelangelo is but for those who aren’t, I want to briefly introduce him to you. As per my trusty Wikipedia research, Michelangelo was born on March 6, 1475 in Caprese which would now be considered a part of Tuscany. This Italian Renaissance man is best known for his painting, sculpting and architectural work. His most notable pieces of work include the David, the Pieta, The Last Judgment and for having completing the beautiful scenery on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. After seeing these pieces of work, it’s no wonder that he was often referred to as “Il Divino” or the “the divine one” due to his ability to inspire awe in those who witnessed his work.
Luckily, I don’t have to appreciate these works of art simply based on pictures alone. In 2017, I took a trip to Italy where I got to see many of his pieces of art in person. From hanging out with David in the Galleria dell ’Accademia in Florence to seeing The Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel, I got to witness first hand Michelangelo’s artistic skill. Now, sadly I don’t have any pictures of his work in the Sistine Chapel due to photography being strictly prohibited but the clarity of the imagery is still a vivid memory in my mind. In fact, I remember thinking “damn that must be some good paint if it’s lasted this many years”. Well, that thought was more than just admiration as it allowed me to learn an important wealth building lesson from “Il Divino” that I will share with you now.
As you now know, Michelangelo was an amazing painter and in a way we are all painters. We use our paintbrush to create works of art that are exchanged for some form of monetary compensation. For engineers, that may be the building of a bridge that facilitates transportation in a city or for doctors it’s the life-saving surgery they perform on a daily basis. Instead of a paintbrush, our tool may be our hands or our minds but the idea is all the same.
However, the reality is that for any paintbrush to be any good, you must accompany it with paint and what I learned after visiting the Sistine Chapel is that there are three types of paint that any one of us use in our day to day lives.
First, there’s good paint. Good paint can be associated with high-quality and a high degree of innovativeness. Next, there’s bad paint. This is paint that gets the job done however it’s not of any noteworthy quality and likely needs some touch ups over time. Finally, there’s invisible paint. Invisible paint is paint that people apply that doesn’t even appear on the canvas hence produces no results.
Now you may be thinking, “Ok thanks for the paint lesson but I’m not a painter so how does this apply to me?” Well let me explain!
In life, whenever we do things we will ultimately be applying any one of these paints and the paint we select tends to determine the results we get. Let’s use an example to better illustrate this point.
Let’s use the context of an office worker. An office worker painting with invisible paint is someone who clocks into work 1 minute before their shift, does the bare minimum to keep their job and leaves as soon as the clock hits 5pm. This type of worker is one who is applying their paint but given that they are just going through the motions, they will never be up for advancement and may even risk losing their job due to a lack of engagement or effort.
Then there’s the worker using bad paint. This worker produces good work, helps out where they can and brings a positive attitude to their team. This worker is definitely painting their canvas but it’s nothing that will be hung in an art gallery. In terms of compensation, this person routinely collects their 2% raise every year and continues to apply this type of paint.
Finally, there’s the worker who’s using good paint. This person starts work early and stays late. This person mentors others and is constantly bringing forward new ideas to the group. Not to mention, they are also providing large scale solutions for the businesses’ greatest problems. When it comes time for promotions, this person is at the top of the pecking order.
In this example, it’s the same context but with three different results. Of course, it’s obvious that the person applying good paint would prosper however the sad reality is that many people applying bad or invisible paint think they should be moving up in the world at the same pace as their overachieving counterparts.
I see this all the time in many domains of life such as work and fitness. At work, you often hear people complaining about working at a company for 20 years and never being promoted to more highly regarded positions. However, while they have 20 years experience, their inability to advance is because they’ve performed the same 1 year of work 20 times rather than having 20 years of experience in which each year they pushed themselves to learn and grow. The same goes for fitness. People will complain that their body hasn’t changed after years of working out, yet they are still lifting the same weight and eating what they’ve always eaten.
So when it comes to Michelangelo and becoming rich, I realized that it’s only those who use good paint that will ever see the financial results they desire. A great example of this is the financial success that Elon Musk and Tesla have achieved in recent years compared to their car manufacturing competitors.
In 2020, Tesla saw a massive increase in the value of its brand, achieving a valuation of over $200 billion making it the world’s most valuable car company. Of course, part of this meteoric rise is likely due to many people’s admiration for Elon Musk and all the endeavours he undertakes but the reality is that the Tesla cars he produces are lightyears ahead of their competition. Compared to other electric vehicles, Teslas typically have a much longer range, can charge quicker and are definitely more aesthetically pleasing. And when compared to other car manufacturers who seem to continuously produce the same car with just a different year on sales tag, it’s no wonder that Tesla has been able to separate themselves from the pack through painting with good paint.
Now, after mulling over this concept for a while and reflecting on my past business endeavours, I came to realize that I’ve only ever succeeded when I made sure to paint with good paint. One example of this stems from my journey on YouTube.
When I first started my Betterment Boss channel, I was painting with invisible paint. To say that I had no idea what I was doing was putting it mildly. I would slap together some mediocre scripts of any random topic that came to mind and churn out a video as quickly as I could in an effort to fill up my channel with a ton of content.
After a few months of getting 5 views on every video I posted, I started to re-assess my YouTube game plan as a whole. I learned that when starting a YouTube channel, it’s better to pick a specific niche or subject and make content around it until you have gained a good amount of traction on the platform. Being an accountant, I figured that I could knowledgeably and confidently speak about money so I stopped making videos on any other topics but that one. Besides my content strategy, I recognized that listening to my already unbearable voice, especially when recorded with an iPhone was not exactly helping my view count either so I decided to upgrade my mic setup. With these two changes alone, I started to notice my view count slowly rise. Instead of just getting a few views from my family and friends I began to get strangers watching my videos!
Unfortunately, the channel was still growing at a glacial pace, so I knew I had to really go all in and up the quality of my content. To do this, I invested a ton of money into upgrading animation software, taking courses and paying for coaching calls with some of the biggest YouTubers in my niche. Not to mention, I got serious about creating the best thumbnails and titles possible to help my videos stand out in the crowded YouTube finance space. In short, I got to the point where the culmination of all my time and money invested allowed me to progress from painting with invisible paint to bad paint and then finally good paint. This switch has turned my channel from a dud into a 6-figure business, but this success would have never been possible without the help of my good friend Michelangelo!
Therefore, the key takeaway from this video is that the majority of people are painting with invisible paint. While you may feel as though you’re putting in the work, you’re simply going through the motions without seeing anything appear on the canvas and the last time I checked, no art gallery is going to be offering you millions of dollars for a blank slate. Therefore, in whatever projects or activities you pursue, always ensure you are painting with good paint because, if you are, then over time you will see the results you so strongly desire!