“Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” – Mathew 19:24
By Ken Sheetz
The rich 1% are victims of the system like the rest of us. I know this from being a rich man in the 80s myself. At age 37 I was worth about $12 million back in 1989. Or about $30 million in 2012 dollars. So I was on that lower end scale of the 1%. A poor rich man.
The level of work and dedication needed to build and maintain wealth is staggering. It left me with no personal life, a neglected wife and two neglected kids. My clients like Oprah and my Chicago skyscraper I was building had far more of my love and attention. That’s where the money was. My family was far down my list.
What was driving me? Lack of self-worth. I felt the more money I made the more I could fill the void. A void created by our society. A shared lie.
Is there some cabal of evil people creating this shared lie? No. Just some overachievers trying to make their meaningless life of the pursuit of money have meaning, like I used to do.
I did not choose to leave Mt. Olympus to seek these answers. The worst commercial real estate crash in history gave me the boot from money paradise. I lost over $80 million for me and my investors. To protect the family assets from the bankers we, legally and totally above-board, put everything we could into my wife’s name. Then she divorced me and kept it all. I left the marriage with the clothes on my back and a paperweight globe of the world I took from the living room curio.
I went into a dark depression that carried me to the shores of Lake Michigan, contemplating suicide one winter night in ’92. Alone and only getting to see my estranged kids, 10 and 13, who remain estranged some 20 years later, just every other weekend. I felt no one would miss me if I stepped off the snowy rock into the icy lake. I braced myself for the jump to my death.
But something stopped me. A voice of reason within said, “Let your old life die here, Ken. Begin a new life.” And I turned from the icy shore, got in my car and began my life over.
I still had my rep as Chicago’s 1987 broker of the year and the builder of Harpo Studios. I still had my wealthy business friends who owned half of Chicago. I still had all my creative gifts of great taste and style from my education as an interior architect. I still had my 40-year-old body, though in bad shape from lack of exercise I could rebuild that body.
Unfortunately I still had a low self-esteem from abused childhood. It still haunts me and thwarts my efforts to have a mate. I lack an ability to trust and a overreact to simple give and take in relationship. Far less than I used to but I accept some part of me asked to be this way for my work. A
I pledge to make this an amazing year for fans of my work. I have found myself and love me for who I am. Took me to 61 to get here. I live my BFA now. I live as an artist of film and the web. It’s not been easy getting here. I have had a lot of help from family and friends who bankrolled my film career that began at 40 when I walked away from the easy money of real estate.
It’s all converging now in my new home in Sedona I am renting. I have an amazing housemate I adore but the feeling is not mutual. But we are using this non-romantic relationship to grow further. I am learning to be less controlling, less angry, less manipulative and she is learning from me wealth attraction and managed anger. We call this home nestled at the foot of Chimney Rock the Green Sanctuary. At least this is how I see things. My housemate likely sees things as totally different. Perhaps that I am something of a jerk.
Most important in Sedona, my silly personal life aside, there’s much work to be done in 2014 helping great men like G Patrick Flanagan get his inventions that have helped me reach this new level of awareness and health and reverse aging.
I’ve even begun thinking when I am 37 again, the age I love me most at, of marrying and having kids and doing it all right this time. Family first. I will not be a slave to the lies of meaningless wealth accumulation. Not to say I will not become more wealthy than ever. But I will keep only what I need and enjoy and give back to help balance and save this precious world. And if not in this life, I am ready for the next.
So forget the conspiracy theories about the nine families seeking to poison and wreck the same world they share with the rest of us. Greed is the enemy, not the rich being manipulated by it. We need to rise above it all. To seek together all of rich and poor alike a new paradigm based on love for each other. It’s really about taking action and not just thinking it will happen. It’s about thinking and doing.
And what I am doing for Dr. Flanagan right now is building a crowd funder to make this a smarter world with his amazing Neurophone. Click the link to join the pre-launch and learn how he is making the world a smarter place.