If you ever wished you could peer inside the mind of one of the most intriguing icons in the world and find out exactly what makes them successful, here’s your chance. Paulo Coelho has written some of the most popular and inspiring novels of the 21st century, touching the hearts of more than 100 million people in 56 different countries.
The Alchemist — Coelho’s most famous novel — has sold over 150 million copies, becoming one of the history’s best-selling books and setting the Guinness World Record for most translated book by a living author. With these facts in mind, it’s clear that Coelho knows a few things about success.
Here are Paulo Coelho’s 4 tips for becoming wildly successful in life:
1. Remember your dreams and fight for them
According to Coelho, successful people must overcome fear and follow their dreams. When referring to the fear of failure, Coelho adds, “Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dream.”
When I was in high-school, I dreamed of becoming a professional skateboarder; I genuinely loved that sport. I remember waking up every day with excitement, waiting for the moment I could get on my skateboard and feel the wheels under my feet and the air brushing my hair, but my dad massacred that dream without prejudice.
If I remember well, he said: “Only 1% of skateboarders are lucky enough to make a living from skateboarding, and you aren’t that lucky. Better get yourself a college degree and do something with your life.”
Sadly, I believed my dad’s words. I was so afraid of failing or disappointing my parents, that I quit my dream. I listened to my inner demons instead of my heart, which was a costly mistake. To be fair, I don’t know for sure whether or not I could have been a professional skateboarder, but it’s something I’ll never know.
The bottom line? When fear seizes your soul, and you think you’re not good enough, when no one else believes in you, remember your dreams and fight for them. You have what it takes to handle whatever life throws at you.
“Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.” – Paulo Coelho
2. You drown not by falling into a river, but by staying submerged in it
If you can know only one thing about Coelho, it should be that he never regrets for the “wrong” decisions he made or the painful times he went through. He says: “I don’t regret my painful times, I bare my scars as if they were medals. I know that freedom has a high price, as high as that of slavery; the only difference is that you pay with pleasure and a smile, even when that smile dimmed by tears.”
This is a crucial life lesson. Like Coelho, I believe that we learn more from our failures than from our successes. So the next time you bring back one of those unpleasant memories, rather than feeling sad, try to dig out a good lesson from that experience and move on.
Many of us spend our lives feeling guilty and regretting what we did (or did not) in the past instead of focusing on the things we can do right now. That’s a huge waste of time. Let the past stay in the past, and remember that you drown not by falling into a river, but by staying submerged in it.
3. Don’t be intimidated by other people’s opinion
So we know that successful people always follow their dreams, right? And if you follow a dream, you need to have a willingness to endure the criticism and rejection, especially when it comes from people you care about. It’s staggering how many of us will give up on a dream just because someone tells us we can’t. The truth is until you follow your heart instead of other people’s opinions, you’ll never get ahead in life.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you should be rude or disrespectful to others, but there’s a fine line between constructive criticism and just criticism. The key lies in differentiating both.
“People are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of.” – Paulo Coelho
4. Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience
I love this quote from Coelho: “You have to take risks. We will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen.”
The primary reason most people fail in life is not a lack of talent or opportunities or education, but a refusal to move from their comfort zone and take significant risks. They aren’t brave enough to challenge their boss and ask for a raise, or to quit their job to start a business, or to follow a wild dream. They’re asleep, while their life is passing them by.
But you’re going to be different, right? You’re going to be brave. You’re going to take risks. You’re going to commit to fighting for your dreams and never give up. Because it’s the only way to witnessing the miracle of life.