Connect with us

Life

4 Things I Learned About Life From Paulo Coelho

Published

on

Paulo Coelho

I haven’t read The Alchemist.

Yeah, I know. For someone who writes an article about Paulo Coelho AT LEAST I should read the book that made him a success.

But the only book I read was Aleph and it was really good. After reading it, I had an image of him as a very spiritual and calm person.

To learn more about Paulo Coelho, I read his authorized biography, “The Warrior’s Life,” which was written by Fernando Morais.

The most interesting parts of the book were the stories of his youth, which were far from what I had imagined. They were inspiring and made me reflect upon my life.

Read further to know the four life lessons you can learn from Paulo Coelho’s youth. Trust me – it’s worth it.

 

1. If you have a weakness, learn to compensate for it with your strength.

Paulo was weak physically.

According to his biography he was “very thin, frail and short.” He had a nickname – Pele – which means ‘skin. It was given only to those who were always being bullied by their classmates.

Considering his physical weakness, it was hard for Paulo to gain the respect of his peers. Yet he found out that despite his weakness, he managed to gain their respect.

How?

I quote: “By knowing things no one else knew and reading stories none of his peers had read was one way of gaining respect.”

The lesson: If you think you have a weakness, you don’t necessary need to remove that weakness. Some weaknesses, especially physical ones, are hard to get rid of. A more effective way would be to find your strengths and work on them until you are at least above average.

Or better yet: Be so good they can’t ignore you.

 

2. Rejection doesn’t matter. What matters is what you do after being rejected.

Paulo believed in himself. He believed that he was a good poet and that his poems were not suitable for small magazines. So he sent his poems to the ‘Escritores e Livros,’ a reputable literary column in a newspaper called Correio da Manha.

After a week, Paulo looked at the newspaper and read the following:

“To all young show-offs who are desperate to get themselves a name and publish books, it would be worthwhile recalling the example of Carlos Drummond de Andrade, who only published three volumes totalling 144 poems in 15 years.”

Like any normal person, he took it personally, but managed to regain his confidence and write his own version of Rudyard Kipling’s famous poem “If…”.

If you ask your friends and enemies for a chance.

If you can hear a ‘no’ and take it as a ‘maybe,’

If you can start from the bottom and yet still value the little that you have.

If you can improve yourself each moment and reach heights without succumbing to vanity.

Then you’ll be a writer.

The lesson: Rejection always hurts. Some say that rejection shouldn’t be taken personally, but honestly, I don’t think that advice helps. We value ourselves and the things we create, thus rejection brings a cognitive dissonance inside our minds.

Two conflicting thoughts, self-belief and self-doubt, wage wars to determine who will stay and rule the kingdoms inside our heads.

When there are two conflicting thoughts, we need something to guide us on what to do after the rejection. If you don’t know what to do or what to believe in, most of the time the evil side will win the war.

In the case of Paulo, his self-belief won and this is because of a certain obsession of his.

Paulo Coelho quotes

 

3. Be obsessed with your dream

Paulo was obsessed with the idea of becoming a famous writer. Yet, it was funny that the obsession only bore fruit in his later years.

This is because he was always changing his art: from poetry to acting, directing, writing about the occult, and lyric writing.

Although he gained success in some of his ventures, he kept reminding himself that he wanted to be a famous writer. That obsession made him what he is today.

The lesson: Sometimes, we think our dream lies buried under a pile of work or studies. I’m the same. I am going to a medical school, but I know being a doctor is not my dream. I want to be an entrepreneur.

For several reasons, I can’t cancel my entry to medical school. It looks like I don’t have a choice, but I actually have one: to choose to stick with my dream no matter what or to succumb to the path people ‘forced’ me to go on.

The same thing goes for you. Be obsessed with your dream and don’t let it die easily.

 

4. Your ‘horrible’ past doesn’t make you a failure in the future

One word sprung up inside my mind when I read about Paulo’s past – horrible.

Paulo failed in his studies, almost killed a boy because of his driving, was forced to stay in a psychiatry clinic because of his escalating problems, took drugs, was kidnapped by a secret organization and embraced Satanism.

There was more, but you get the picture.

Looking at his past, I was amused by the stark difference between his past and future selves. It shows how someone’s past is not a good predictor of his future because he is capable of changing it if he is willing.

The lesson: The problem with most of us is we focus on things we can’t change. It is true that our past can influence our future, but we don’t want to let that influence spread too much and work of its own accord.

We should stop doing that: Stop letting the past be our fortune-teller. What we need to do is to focus on the present and take control of our future.

Why?

We are the fortune-teller.

 

Conclusion

Let me leave you with a quote from the man, Paulo Coelho, himself:

“At a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what’s happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate. That’s the world’s greatest lie.”

Thanks for reading.

 

Paulo Coelho picture quotes

 

Question: What have you learned from reading Paulo Coelho’s  books?

 

If you haven’t read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho make sure you get your hands on a copy here:

Feature Image by: REUTERS/Eloy Alonso

Wan is a medical student and budding blogger. His blog, Overthinker's Advice, is the space where he shares no-nonsense, actionable, and interesting personal development ideas that helps people to improve their lives. He is also the writer for the simple eBook "21 Things You Can Do to Slow Down Time" which you can get for free here.

Advertisement
16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Pingback: Wake up! Stand up! Embrace Life – Positive thoughts and Facts of Life

  2. Robert Bright Salijeni

    Mar 30, 2015 at 4:23 am

    Stand tall in the midst of adversities. Pursue that dream no matter what!

  3. Akpo 'Diddie Uyeh

    Oct 22, 2014 at 8:56 am

    Henceforth I would always tell myself the truth and manage rejections rather than let them get to me.

  4. Neerja gandhi

    Jun 3, 2014 at 8:14 am

    I have read his Alchemist….had been following, and was happy to read his Alchemist book 🙂 would want to read his other books as well 🙂

  5. Susy

    Apr 14, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    And two months later Paulo Coelho himself featured this article on his blog and made it viral on his Facebook page… A virtue that goes full circle. Nice.

    • Joel Brown

      Joel Brown

      Apr 14, 2014 at 6:26 pm

      Yes, great work on the article Wan 🙂 You got Paulo’s attention.

  6. apurva prabhawalkar (@prapurva)

    Apr 12, 2014 at 9:08 am

    Hey Wan, thanks for writing this article. Cheers to you bro.

  7. iryne

    Mar 21, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    be so gud at your strength, replace your weakness that they just cant ignore u! i love that!

  8. festus Ogunrewo

    Feb 18, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    It take a lot of courage and effort to achieve your dream and most of don’t be deterred by the naysayers. Its your dream its your life

  9. @Zingcali

    Feb 17, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    This makes a perfect sense at some stage in our lives we realize our strengths and weaknesses but deny to deal with our weaknesses until to a stage that becomes registered in your mind that this is who you really are ,and that is followed by the stage where we fight or take flight …that is your last freedom to be or not to be …this is a very relevant story

  10. Naomi@businessstartups

    Feb 14, 2014 at 10:05 pm

    Hi Wan,

    Like a lot of successful entrepreneurs he has been through a lot in his life. But that persistent drive to continue throughout the hardship and where others would fail – is what splits the men from the boys.

    I guess it just comes down to how badly to want your dream to become reality?

    Naomi

  11. Jeremy

    Feb 14, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    One thing I noticed about all these awesome people is that they are insanely obsessed with their craft. They are obsessed with living a passionate life. Sometimes I think about whether I’m obsessed enough to succeed. But then again, thinking even about something like that is quite obsessive, no? It’s crazy.

    I’ve just ordered The Alchemist. Great article, Wan, and thanks for linking to my article. 🙂

  12. Claudia Columna (@claudiacolumna)

    Feb 13, 2014 at 9:24 pm

    Entrepeneurial freedom meets freedom of art. Excellent medication, too. Congrats!
    Claudia – fortune-teller – Columna

  13. Nikola Gjakovski

    Feb 13, 2014 at 11:57 am

    “At a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what’s happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate. That’s the world’s greatest lie” I have to tweet this 🙂 Shared this text everywhere very nicely written article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Life

Don’t Want To Feel Like A Failure Anymore? Stop Doing These 6 Things

Published

on

Image Credit: Unsplash

It’s pretty annoying isn’t it? All those great and accomplished people telling you that FAILURE is a necessity on your way to success. Yeah, that’s easy for them to say; they’re already ‘on the other side’! You on the other hand, are still struggling all day everyday to get your business lifted off the ground and are really not that sure if you’re indeed going to make it.

There’s that little voice in your head that keeps telling you that you don’t have the stuff to make it all happen. Not now and not ever. You feel like a failure…it’s holding you back and you don’t know how to deal with it. Well you could do yourself a favor and start dealing with it by doing the following things:

1. Stop Denying You Feel Like A Failure

Telling yourself things are going great when they’re not is one of the biggest, though most useless, coping mechanisms human beings deploy in rough times. Common denial signals among entrepreneurs: trying to regain more control by working even more hours and on the other side compensating this by letting go of all this control by partying and drinking way too hard.

What you’re doing is denying yourself the opportunity to actually feel what’s going on and acknowledge the problem; that both you and your business are in a bad place. Without acknowledging it, it’ll be pretty difficult to actually STOP feeling it. And remember, just because you feel like a failure, this does not mean that you indeed ARE a failure!

2. Stop Making It Bigger Than it Really Is

This is one of those other ‘fun’ things human beings do; we blow things way out of proportion in our heads! In business, when you lose that big client you’ve been working on for weeks, it feels like it’s the end of the world. You start doubting yourself, your strategy, your entire business model right up to the point where you barely sleep because you’re working on pivoting the whole thing.

But what if that customer simply didn’t have the money to go for your service anyway? Or what if they just decided to go for someone who is cheaper but who offers less quality? Does that mean there’s something wrong with YOU? Or that this was the ONLY customer out there and that you’re now doomed forever?

Of course not, it simply means that THIS CUSTOMER wasn’t a match. It’s a bit like dating actually…So if you take this into consideration, could it be that you just feel like a failure instead of really not succeeding in that what you want to at this point in time?

3. Stop Thinking You’re The Only One Who Feels Like This

You’re not! With the possible exception of the true sociopaths, that feeling you’re feeling is very normal to EVERYONE. It might not seem like it on the outside – because people don’t like to acknowledge this remember – but I can guarantee you that it’s true. But unlike 99% of the world’s population, YOU’RE not going to let this feeling stop you in your tracks. Are you?

4. Stop Thinking You’re Supposed To Be Superhuman

In fact, it’s very likely that you’re already doing, learning and succeeding at WAY more than most other people are. But for entrepreneurs, somehow, that never seems to be enough. You don’t just want to be successful after a few years of hard work (which is normal). You want to be successful after only a few months. Because you’re special…or at least you think you are…

Well, here’s the truth: you ARE special! But…it’s just not very likely that you’re one of those – very very rare – entrepreneurial superstars that – seemingly – just added some hot water and got instant business success as a result.

5. Stop Being So Incredibly Stubborn

Entrepreneurs are stubborn…almost by default. It’s what makes them push forward in the hardest of times. But…if you’re not doing the right things right you might just be hammering a square peg through a round hole. Which will only add to that frustrated feeling you’re already having. So why not stop being so stubborn for a moment, stop hammering away on that what obviously is not working and ask for help?

No matter who you ask – a business mentor or coach, a befriended entrepreneur – someone with a neutral perspective on you and our business will be very likely to see what’s going on with a lot more clarity than you can and can guide you to a place that will feel a whole lot more comfortable.

6. Stop Being Afraid Of Failure

I know, I know, you’ve heard this a million times before and you wouldn’t be in this pickle if you could do this. Right? I’m right there with ya!

But, if you get really rational about it, what’s the worst that could happen?

  • You might have to get a ‘real’ job for a while and start over on the side;
  • You might not be able to afford your rent anymore…but with Airbnb on the 1 hand and couchsurfing on the other, you should be able to work it out somehow;
  • You’ll have all the more experience to start over a whole lot faster;
  • You’ll be no less respected by anyone because it’s clear you gave it your all;
  • In a few years, when you’re an established and supersuccessful entrepreneur you’ll also have a cool failure story to tell;
  • None of your limbs will fall off;

Now that’s not too bad for a plan B is it? Failure is such a negative word. And the associated feeling is terrible and numbing. But really…how is giving it your all and not succeeding really the same as failing? Shouldn’t the definition of failure not be along the lines of ‘not even trying’ or ‘giving up when it gets hard’?

In other words: stop beating yourself up over this!

There’s really no need to feel like a failure at all because you’re sticking your neck out, you’re trying to make a difference and you’re still moving upward on that treacherous entrepreneurial mountain.

And that…is what success REALLY is.

Those Who Failed Their Way To Success

Quotes To Live By:

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” – Robert F. Kennedy

“If you don’t try at anything, you can’t fail… it takes back bone to lead the life you want” – Richard Yates

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas A. Edison

“We are all failures – at least the best of us are.” – J.M. Barrie

“Success is stumbling form failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm” – Winston Churchill

“Don’t let success go to your head and failure to your heart” – Will Smith

Continue Reading

Life

Why You Never Have Enough Time and What You Need to Do About It

Published

on

how to manage your time better
Image Credit: Unsplash

Has this ever happened to you? You had an assignment, and the deadline was far away. You didn’t work on it much, but in the back of your mind, that insistent little voice was always whispering, “I gotta get this assignment done.” (more…)

Continue Reading

Life

6 Unusual Exercises to Effectively Increase Your Creativity Faster Than Ever

Published

on

how to increase your creativity faster
Image Credit: Unsplash

Although a vast majority of people think that creativity is something you are born with, the truth is a bit different. While we cannot deny that you need natural talent to a certain extent, stimulating creative thinking is indeed a matter of practice. If you give this thought a bit of thinking, you can realize pretty quickly that even the most fascinating and creative minds have faced the lack of creativity at some point in their lives. (more…)

Continue Reading

Life

3 Psychological Facts That Can Unleash Your Inner Power

Published

on

how to unleash your inner power
Image Credit: Unsplash

Some people will achieve great things. Others won’t. But why is that? We’re all just “talking monkeys on an organic spaceship flying through the universe,” as Joe Rogan puts it. So why do some “talking monkeys” build 7 or 8 figure businesses, travel the world, and live the life of their dreams while the rest of us… well, wish we were living the life of our dreams. (more…)

Continue Reading

Trending