5 Things I Learned From Paulo Coelho


When in doubt, read.

I’ve followed this advice from the past couple of years, which in turn has proved to be a wonderful journey as I got in touch with different styles of story-telling, the boundless human wisdom, the insufficiency of an isolated mind and life in general. A good book is a savior.

Destiny and the life of Paulo Coelho

Rationality and destiny do collide sometimes.

Everyone, when they are young, knows what their destiny is. At that point in their lives, everything is clear and everything is possible. They are not afraid to dream, and to yearn for everything they would like to see happen to them in their lives.

Paulo Coelho

Not every book connects enough to leave an indelible impression. In this journey, I’ve come to revere some authors, and their sheer ingenuity drives me nutty sometimes. Paulo Coelho is my infallible hero, when it comes to that. The Alchemist is not merely a book, it is a journey.

  1. The connection. He establishes a rapport with the reader almost effortlessly, and the reader lives the scene through a visceral existence. There is a beautiful intermingling of philosophy, spirituality and existence. The resulting stratum is beautiful.
  2. Life is not linear. He was a hippie, traveled extensively and was into drugs. He engaged in numerous professions; songwriting, actor, journalist and a theater director before embarking on his career as a full-time writer.
  3. Popular opinion. It’s not always healthy, or even right. He was committed to a mental institution at the age of 16, only to be released at the age of 20 for his refusal to follow a traditional path. He still chose to question the opinion.
  4. The dream. He dared to envisage a life of happiness and meaning, than living a boring traditional modern life filled with insecurities, false beliefs and hollow establishments. He forged an independent path to satiate his desire for spirituality, and was always up for experimentation. He had always dreamed of becoming a writer. I’m glad he did.
  5. Abundance mentality. He pirates his own books on P2P file networks, and provides free translations of many of his books online. Due to the extensive online presence and free sharing, the sales of his books skyrocketed and he became a world-famous author. Life is not a zero sum game after all.

PS. He and his girlfriend were kidnapped and tortured by a Brazilian commando group; accused of leftism in a dictatorship. He also had many failed relationships, and once shared a single-bed flat in London with his lover, his wife and his wife’s lover!

Posted by: Rohit Gupta

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