7 Life Lessons From Paulo Coelho.

 7 sweet inklings for the fundamental questions of life.

Born in 1947 in Rio De Janiero, Paulo Coelho is a Brazilian lyricist, novelist and one of the most read authors in the world. He’s known for thought-provking, life-affirming and profound pieces of writing such as The Pilgrimage (1986) and The Alchemist (1987). Other titles, and some of my personal favourites, also include Brida (1990), The Valkyries (1992), and By the river Piedra I sat Down and Wept (1994).

Over the years, I have found Coelho’s words to touch my being, and have heard this echo in others. He writes of universal themes common to most of us. He leaves readers with a point-of-view and perhaps tiny, wondrous inklings to life’s questions…

1. “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” 

2. “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.” 

3. “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.” 

4. “Passion makes a person stop eating, sleeping, working, feeling at peace. A lot of people are frightened because, when it appears, it demolishes all the old things it finds in its path. 

 No one wants their life thrown into chaos. That is why a lot of people keep that threat under control, and are somehow capable of sustaining a house or a structure that is already rotten. They are the engineers of the superseded. 

Other people think exactly the opposite: they surrender themselves without a second thought, hoping to find in passion the solutions to all their problems. They make the other person responsible for their happiness and blame them for their possible unhappiness. They are either euphoric because something marvelous has happened or depressed because something unexpected has just ruined everything. 

Keeping passion at bay or surrendering blindly to it – which of these two attitudes is the least destructive? 

I don’t know.” 

5. “When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny.” 

6. “Our true friends are those who are with us when the good things happen. They cheer us on and are pleased by our triumphs. False friends only appear at difficult times, with their sad, supportive faces, when, in fact, our suffering is serving to console them for their miserable lives.” 

7. “How much I missed, simply because I was afraid of missing it.” 


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Tanya Lee Markul
Co-Founder and Chief Editor of Rebelle Society (you are here). She’s convinced that she once swam the depths of the deepest ocean and in the next round, grew over two hundred feet tall. In this life, she’s a vulnerable creation in process. She has a Bachelor of Science in Journalism & a Master’s in Business. In 2009, surrendering to the good fight within, she became a certified teacher of yoga. Now a full-time devoted student to the sacred art of self-discovery and creative expression, she spends her days on her yoga mat, in wellness experimentation and tilling the fertile soil of Rebelle Society, sharing bouts of black sheepish rebellion, self-acceptance and the beauty of darkness and well-being. Tanya is the creator of ThugUnicorn.com and Yoga.Write.Now.org. She is also the co-founder and Wellness Alchemist at Rebelle Wellness. Get to know her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and at Yogacentralen.dk. Sign-up for her free, weekly Newsie and contact her via email: tanya@rebellesociety.com.


  • Aparna Khanolkar
    aparna commented on December 30, 2012 Reply
    Love, love, love this piece. Inspiring, thought-proving and so wise. Thanks Tanya.
  • Melissa Smith
    Melissa Smith commented on February 23, 2013 Reply
    “How much I missed, simply because I was afraid of missing it.” ~ sigh. yes.
  • SR Atchley
    SR Atchley commented on May 23, 2013 Reply
    Oh my goodness. How have I not read this before!?! Amen to you, T, for completing the universal loop. Thank you.
  • Michael L commented on July 3, 2013 Reply
    Thank you for this article. Coelho’s words resonated with me during a very difficult period in my life. The Alchemist, Zahir and By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept, along with a mix of Yoga allowed me live in the moment and not in the past and future.
  • Jade commented on July 20, 2013 Reply
    Wow. Loved this! Thank you so much sharing. Xx

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