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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Following Your Dream

Paulo Coelho, probably best-known as the world-renowned author of The Alchemist, was interviewed recently on Al Jazeera, and it caught my attention due to the subject matter of a portion of the interview.

Coelho said the greatest challenge he had faced in his life was when he thought his dream was impossible. At such a time (when you believe the dream is not possible), he stated, one believes in one's dream. But then there are other moments when one believes that one's dreams are possible. Then one is scared, because when one thinks one can fulfill one's dream, or at least that one can get committed to one's dream, one has no one else to blame, one has to be responsible for one's own destiny.

So when he realized that although he had accomplished many other things, he was not daring to fulfill his dream of being a writer, he told himself that it was probably better to postpone it, because it is easier to blame your boss, your family, your children, your parents for not fulfilling a dream. But when he said to himself I am going to do this, he realized from that point on, that he was the only one responsible for his life. If things did not work out, he could not blame anyone but himself.

And of course, one could be defeated, so one is a little bit scared. But he felt that was the turning point of his life. After a pilgrimage through France and down into Spain to Santiago de Compostela, he said to himself: OK, I'm going for it, whether I succeed or I don't, it is irrelevant, because this is the meaning of my life.

This is similar in essence to a quotation often ascribed to Goethe, the German literary giant:

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.

And Thoreau wrote this:

If one advances confidently in the direction of one's dreams, and endeavors to live the life which one has imagined, one will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
All of these ideas speak to one simple truth: if you have a dream, you must follow it, and as you do, doors will open.

The portion of the interview with Coelho that speaks to this topic can be viewed here (11 minutes):


  1. Hello!

    I'm a big fan of Paulo Coelho! You will love this! He's the first best-selling
    author to be distributing for free his works on his blog:

    Have a nice day!


  2. Hi Aart,

    Thanks for letting all of us know about that!