He’s a Brazilian lyricist and novelist. His novel, The Alchemist, has been translated into 80 languages. He’s sold over 200 million copies of his books and is the all-time best-selling Portuguese author. He’s Paulo Coelho and here’s my take on his top 10 rules for success.
Paulo Coelho’s Top 10 Rules For Business and Success
Rule #1: Don’t Be A Part-Time Dreamer
You know, it took me years. I knew that I want to be a writer, since I was young and have this megalomaniac things about being the most famous writer in the world. But it’s not enough to know what you want. You have to do what you want to be what you want.
You know, so a writer implies you’re writing books. A gardener implies he gardens. You know? But if you, I don’t know about today, but if you talk to your father, your mother, if you are from a middle class, I want to be a gardener, your father say, “Oh my, son. “Please, go to university.”
“Get a diploma, and you can “do your gardening during the weekend.” But you love plants. You love the soil. You love, you know, but, at the end of the day, you are convinced and this is not good for the person who is being convinced and for the person who is trying to convince. You are creating this order of frustration around them.
Rule #2: Live In The Moment
Interviewer: Your background is fairly well documented, the things you went through which have shaped you. How much of that is really behind you? How much do those ghosts still haunt you? The involvement in issues that got you imprisoned and tortured. You know, the drug use and so on.
I am myself and my circumstances. I think that, like the Spanish philosopher used to say, “So who am I? “I’m a sum of all the experiences “that I’ve lived in my life.” That said, of course, I don’t look back because, if I look back, I may become a sort of salt.
So I try to live my life here. But it is the sum of difficult moments, good moments, experiences that I had in my life, that brought me here in front of this camera, talking to you. You don’t live your life in this capitalistic sense that you accumulate knowledge as you’re accumulating money.
No, no, no, no, no. Life is about the present moment and you’re here, you’re here now. And then you have an idea or you have some thing but that may be a root in your past but you don’t know. So what I try to do is to live my life as full, as intensely as I can.
Rule #3: Discover Yourself
Interviewer: You’re one of the world’s most widely read authors but you’re more than just a writer. You’ve become something of a spiritual icon. How do you regard yourself nowadays?
I would totally disagree with you here. I’m not a spiritual master or anything. I am someone who is, well, walking through this life and learning at the same time. What I do is to share my experience because I think life is about sharing.
So in this case, I write. I write things that I feel. And then when the books are out, people identify themselves with my books. But not with my answers, mostly with my questions.
Interviewer: Well, lets say, I know you’ve said you have nothing to teach but you have something to share but it must put some pressure on you when people are looking for answers. Obviously you’re touching something that people are missing in their lives.
Do you believe so? I don’t know, I don’t know. I think that when I write a book, I try to understand myself because it’s not easy to understand yourself. Unless you share, as I said, with someone else. So, when I sit, I have no clear idea what I’m going to write about.
Sometimes it is a totally unknown part of me who does it. So, we get inspiration. Inspiration meaning getting busy. Getting things from outside to inside. So my books mostly, they try to share, to myself, who am I? Because this constant pressure of discovering myself.
Rule #4: Pay Attention To Life
When I was a child, they think that all you exist. And all day, I was by the orange tree and I had this sensation that I was alive. Do you remember the day that you realized that you were alive?
Interviewer: No, I don’t remember that day.
Interviewer: I wish I did but okay.
That day I said, “My God, I am alive. “Not only I am alive “but I’m not the center of the universe.” And then I realized that I was alive and there was a lot of things going on outside my childish world. And so I said I’m going to pay attention to what is going on. And this is how I survive it.
Rule #5: Take Risks
I think that you have to take risks, all the time. If you don’t do that, you don’t move forward. We are trying to be too conservative in the way that you think life. And the results is that nobody’s voice off to say I don’t agree with this, I agree with that. So we have to push somehow our individuality to make sure that our voice can be heard.
Rule #6: Find Your Personal Legend
My personal legend was always to be a writer and finding your personal legend does not mean fulfilling your personal legend. Because being a writer means writing books. I cannot just sit and say, okay I’m a writer.
So you write your first book. It may or not be successful. Then there’s the next one, there’s a third one, and, all of a sudden, you realize that you are. Your books are doing very well. And you fear success.
You have this moment that you think, oh my gosh, should I write the next book? Do I need to be judged again? By the critics, et cetera. And then you realize that your personal legend is about moving on. Go.
If you have a dream of becoming a writer, write books. Don’t be paralyzed by either success or fear. So, I’m in the process, I’m on the journey, of my personal legend. Not to fulfill it but to live it as full, as intensely as I can.
Rule #7: Nurture Innocence
I fought against all odds. There’s no tradition of a Brazilian writer to be translated, there is no tradition of being published. I am published now, I think, in 56 languages, which is very impressive. So, for example, only in India, publishing in eight different languages.
In Spain, publishing in four different languages. So I could never ever dream, well, I don’t imagine myself sitting in my apartment in Rio de Janeiro and say, “Oh, I want to be such a successful writer “and people have to read my book.” Because at the end of the day, who promotes the book is the reader. Why did my book travel so well, to such different places, like Iran and Israel.
My highest readership per capita is Iran and Israel. They have a 4.5, every 4.5 house in these two countries, they have at least one book of mine. So there is no recipe. From the moment that you try to find the recipe, I think you are lost because you lose the most important thing in you.
That it is your spontaneity. I would also like to use the word innocence. Not innocence in the sense of being naive, but innocence in the sense of being open, of seeing everything as a child, and be amazed and surprised. And enjoy discovering life every single day.
Rule #8: Find Enthusiasm
You are here to honor something called the miracle of life. You can be here to, well, to fulfill your hours and days with something that is meaningless but you know that you have a reason to be here. It is the only thing that gives you enthusiasm.
Right, you know? And you know when you are betraying your personal legend, when you are doing some thing without enthusiasm. And worse, you know that you have this good excuse, I’m not ready, which is just an excuse. No, they’ll say, no, I’m not ready. I have to wait for the right moment.
You know, now I have to feed my family. Come on, your family wants to see you happy. Your daughter. Your husband. Your wife. They don’t want to see you there, sitting in a work that you hate. Even if it gives you tonnes of money.
Rule #9: Treasure Everything
When my first book, The Alchemist, started being successful, I was already 42 so I was mature enough to learn that everything’s a gift and you have to treasure and respect it as a gift and not to be crazy because you’re successful. Before that huge success, very difficult times and I learned a lot.
Rule #10: Dive Into The Unknown
Luck, coincidence, and faith. In The Alchemist, I wrote, “When you want something, “the whole universe will conspire for you to have it.” This means that when you put your vibration, your energy, call it whatever you want to call, into the air, somehow the soul of the world is affected.
I think that coincidence is the language of the stars. For something to happen, so many forces have to be put in action. According to the ancient alchemists, and to the physicists of today, everything is one thing only.
They would call it atom. Everything is made of atoms. If everything is totally connected, whatever you do interfere in the rest of the world. So signs is when you look around, and you see oh my God, the universe is talking to me.
I have to understand this language. How can you understand any language is by taking the risks. Not being afraid of making mistakes. So, you start to learn this language using something you have denied so far, your intuition.
And you need to use your intuition and you need to be brave enough to dive deep into this unknown universe and say, I’m going to learn this language.
Thank you, guys, so much. I made this because Andre F. asked me to so if there’s a famous entrepreneur that you want me to profile next, leave it in the comments below and I’ll see what I can do. I’d also love to know which of Paulo’s comments made the biggest impact on you and why.
I also want to give a quick shoutout to Dina Harbour from womenobtainingwealth.com. Dina, thank you so much for buying a copy of my book. It really means a lot to me. Thank you, guys. Continue to believe, or whatever your one word is, and I’ll see you soon.
Let Your Inspiration Guide You
What is inspiration? Inspiration is breathing. Right? So you put what is outside inside of you. And then you expire. So, inspiration is something that everybody has, not only writers, everybody has what you or she, or he, do things with love.
It is connected to this energy that we don’t understand. We can explain, explain, explain, but it is connected with the energy of love. If you enjoy what you are doing, you are going to be inspired to share with other people. However, inspiration, you cannot guide inspiration. Inspiration is a boat, and you ride this boat in a sea.
So there is this gigantic sea and your boat is taking you, inspiration is guiding you. Inspiration is wind. That is guiding you towards your destiny. If you try to guide inspiration, you are lost. You can read, of course, but then go and write a technical book.
What you needed to do, what at least I needed to do when I sit down to write, is to have another idea, as I mention in my previous podcast, but then allow myself to be guided by just overall idea. I go into this boat of inspiration, I sit in here.
Every morning when I’m writing a new book, when I was writing Aleph, normally I started at 11 o’clock in the morning and then, of course, I had the ideas of the previous night where I was upstairs in my bed, thinking, tomorrow I need to write about this, this, and this, and this, and I took a lot of notes.
Then I sit here, I read these notes, and I say, let’s try to do this. But I know it’s not going to work. And then you start using your notes to write the next page, the next chapter, but the notes are not connected with your inspiration, or my inspiration.
So after half an hour, trying to do this or that, I finally get into this boat because you need the discipline also to go into this boat, and I allow myself to be guided.
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