There is sometimes a bit of confusion in regards to a passage in my book The Alchemist: “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
The Universe is merely an echo of our desires, regardless of whether they are constructive or destructive ones. Some people sometimes want things that in the end won’t truly help them.
Life is strange: the happier people can be, the unhappier they are. I have some friends that think they exist because they have “problems” to solve. Without “problems” they are nobody.
A Dream or an Obsession?
One has to also keep in mind the difference between a dream and an obsession. I mention personal legend in The Alchemist, and I wrote a book about obsession, The Zahir. When you follow your personal legend, you walk your path and learn from it. The objective doesn’t blind you to the road that takes you there.
On the other hand obsession is what prevents you from admiring the teachings of life. It’s like trying to get to your objective without passing through the challenges.
Fighting for Your Dream or Killing It?
I realized that despite the fear and the bruises of life, one has to keep on fighting for one’s dream. As Borges said in his writings “there is no other virtue than being brave”.
And one has to understand that being brave is not the absence of fear but rather the strength to keep on going forward despite the fear.
The first symptom of the process of our killing our dreams is the lack of time. The busiest people I have known in my life always have time enough to do everything.
Those who do nothing are always tired and pay no attention to the little amount of work they are required to do. They complain constantly that the day is too short. The truth is, they are afraid to fight the Good Fight.
The second symptom of the death of our dreams lies in our certainties. Because we don’t want to see life as a grand adventure, we begin to think of ourselves as wise and fair and correct in asking so little of life.
Get The Latest By Email
We look beyond the walls of our day-to-day existence, and we hear the sound of lances breaking, we smell the dust and the sweat, and we see the great defeats and the fire in the eyes of the warriors. But we never see the delight, the immense delight in the hearts of those who are engaged in the battle. For them, neither victory nor defeat is important; what’s important is only that they are fighting the Good Fight.
And, finally, the third symptom of the passing of our dreams is peace. Life becomes a Sunday afternoon; we ask for nothing grand, and we cease to demand anything more than we are willing to give. In that state, we think of ourselves as being mature; we put aside the fantasies of our youth, and we seek personal and professional achievement.
We are surprised when people our age say that they still want this or that out of life. But really, deep in our hearts, we know that what has happened is that we have renounced the battle for our dreams – we have refused to fight the Good Fight.
When we renounce our dreams and find peace, we go through a short period of tranquility. But the dead dreams begin to rot within us and to infect our entire being. We become cruel to those around us, and then we begin to direct this cruelty against ourselves. That’s when illnesses and psychoses arise. What we sought to avoid in combat – disappointment and defeat – come upon us because of our cowardice.
And one day, the dead, spoiled dreams make it difficult to breathe, and we actually seek death. It’s death that frees us from our certainties, from our work, and from that terrible peace of our Sunday afternoons
Commit Yourself to the Path of Your Dreams
If what you are following is the path of your dreams, commit yourself to it. Don’t leave the back door open with excuses: “this still isn’t quite what I wanted.” This sentence – heard so often – contains the seed of defeat.
Embrace your path. Even if you need to take uncertain steps, constantly destroy and build, even if you know you can do better than at present.
If you accept the possibilities of the present, you will certainly improve in the future.
My 25 Important Points
1. When you want something, the whole universe conspires to make it happen.
“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
2. Detach from all things and you will be free.
“When I had nothing to lose, I had everything.”
3. We are all here for a purpose.
“No matter what he does, every person on earth plays a central role in the history of the world. And normally he doesn’t know it.”
“Everybody has a creative potential and from the moment you can express this creative potential, you can start changing the world.”
4. The only thing standing between you and your dream are your fears.
“Don’t give in to your fears. If you do, you won’t be able to talk to your heart.”
“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”
5. Mistakes are part of life.
“Everything tells me that I am about to make a wrong decision, but making mistakes is just part of life. What does the world want of me? Does it want me to take no risks, to go back to where I came from because I didn’t have the courage to say “yes” to life?”
6. Really important meetings are planned by the souls long before the bodies meet.
“Really important meetings are planned by the souls long before the bodies see each other. Generally speaking, these meetings occur when we reach a limit, when we need to die and be reborn emotionally. These meetings are waiting for us, but more often than not, we avoid them happening. If we are desperate, though, if we have nothing to lose, or if we are full of enthusiasm for life, then the unknown reveals itself, and our universe changes direction.”
7. Every experience, either good or bad, comes with a lesson.
“There are moments when troubles enter our lives and we can do nothing to avoid them. But they are there for a reason. Only when we have overcome them will we understand why they were there.”
8. Do not seek for love outside of you.
“Love is not to be found in someone else but in ourselves; we simply awaken it. But in order to do that, we need the other person.”
9. When you change, the whole world changes with you.
“When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”
10. No reason is needed for loving.
“One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving.”
11. Mind your own business.
“Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.”
12. When someone leaves, it’s because someone else is about to arrive.
“No one loses anyone, because no one owns anyone. That is the true experience of freedom: having the most important thing in the world without owning it.”
13. Love is an untamed force.
“When we try to control it, it destroys us. When we try to imprison it, it enslaves us. When we try to understand it, it leaves us feeling lost and confused.”
14. Wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.
“Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.”
15. Judge not.
“We can never judge the lives of others, because each person knows only their own pain and renunciation. It’s one thing to feel that you are on the right path, but it’s another to think that yours is the only path.”
16. Children have valuable lessons to teach you.
“A child can teach an adult three things: to be happy for no reason, to always be busy with something, and to know how to demand with all his might that which he desires.”
17. Appreciate the contrast of life.
“Never be ashamed,’ he said. ‘Accept what life offers you and try to drink from every cup. All wines should be tasted; some should only be sipped, but with others, drink the whole bottle.’ ‘How will I know which is which?’ ‘By the taste. You can only know a good wine if you have first tasted a bad one.”
18. Nobody’s responsible for how you feel or don’t feel.
“We are each responsible for our own feelings and cannot blame someone else for what we feel.”
19. Your beliefs shape you and make you who you are.
“You are what you believe yourself to be.”
20. Let go of the need to explain yourself.
“Don’t explain. Your friends do not need it, and your enemies will not believe you.”
21. Love changes everything.
“It is not time that changes man nor knowledge. The only thing that can change someone’s mind is love.”
22. Don’t mistake elegance with superficiality.
“Elegance is usually confused with superficiality, fashion, lack of depth. This is a serious mistake: human beings need to have elegance in their actions and in their posture because this word is synonymous with good taste, amiability, equilibrium and harmony.”
23. When you do work from your soul, the critics won’t hurt you.
“I write from my soul. This is the reason that critics don’t hurt me, because it is me. If it was not me, if I was pretending to be someone else, then this could unbalance my world, but I know who I am.”
24. Each day brings a miracle of its own.
“You can become blind by seeing each day as a similar one. Each day is a different one, each day brings a miracle of its own. It’s just a matter of paying attention to this miracle.”
25. Embrace your authenticity
“You are someone who is different, but who wants to be the same as everyone else. And that in my view is a serious illness. God chose you to be different. Why are you disappointing God with this kind of attitude?”
“You must be the person you have never had the courage to be. Gradually, you will discover that you are that person, but until you can see this clearly, you must pretend and invent.”
“If you want to be successful, you must respect one rule – Never lie to yourself.”
This article is a merging of shorter blogs
and was reprinted from
Paulo Coelho's blog, with gratitude.
Book by this author
Warrior of the Light: A Manual
by Paulo Coelho.
Warrior of the Light is a timeless and inspirational companion to The Alchemist—an international bestseller that has beguiled millions of readers around the world. Every short passage invites us to live out our dreams, to embrace the uncertainty of life, and to rise to our own unique destiny.
In his inimitable style, Paulo Coelho helps bring out the Warrior of the Light within each of us. He shows readers how to embark upon the way of the Warrior: the one who appreciates the miracle of being alive, the one who accepts failure, and the one whose quest leads to fulfillment and joy.
Click here for more info and/or to order this book on Amazon. Also available as a Kindle edition.
About the Author
Paulo Coelho is the author of numerous books, of which the first to become a success, The Alchemist has gone on to sell more than 65 million copies, becoming one of the best-selling books in history. It has been translated into more than 70 languages, the 71st being Maltese, winning the Guinness World Record for most translated book by a living author.
Since the publication of The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho has generally written one novel every two years including By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept, The Fifth Mountain, Veronika Decides to Die, The Devil and Miss Prym, Eleven Minutes, Like the Flowing River, The Valkyries and The Witch of Portobello.
Visit his website at www.paulocoelho.com