Inspiration from Paulo Coelho

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

The Alchemist, a magical allegory about an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago who travels from Spain to Egypt in search of treasure, is one of my go-to books whenever I need a strong dose of inspiration. Over 65 million copies have been sold, and it is the most translated book in history.

In 2014, author Paulo Coelho celebrated the 25th anniversary of this phenomenon. When he appeared on Super Soul Sunday (September 8) with Oprah Winfrey, I taped the telecast.

Here are some of his observations and insights:

We all have a personal legend. And the key behind that legend is enthusiasm. We need to ask ourselves what gives us enthusiasm, keeping in mind that we betray our personal legend whenever we do something without enthusiasm.

We become fluent in the language of the world by daring, and we learn this language by paying attention and making mistakes. Omens and signs are everywhere. We need to look at everything as if we are seeing it for the first time.

Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.

The heart is like a flower. It can be very brave or easily hurt.

Always listen to your heart, even when it scares you.

Before a dream is realized, the Soul of the World tests everything that was learned along the way. It does this not because it is evil, but so that we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons we’ve learned as we’ve moved toward that dream. That’s the point at which most people give up. It’s the point at which, as we say in the language of the desert, one “dies of thirst just when the palm trees have appeared on the horizon.”


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