Paulo Coelho is a Brazilian novelist and one of the most widely read authors in the world. His books have sold over 190 million copies worldwide. He is mostly known for his book The Alchemist, which has been translated into 80 languages.
Over the years, I have found that his books are indeed life-changing. They challenge the way you think, the way you see the world, and the way you see yourself.
His writing is very frank and honest, so much so that he has a way of making you feel like he is talking directly to you. He knows how to answer life’s difficult questions and engage you along in his personal journey. He inspires you to carve your own journey and lead a better life.
Here are a few of the lessons I have learned from reading all his books (and I mean all of them):
1. Listen to your heart
“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.” —The Alchemist
2. Always seek love
“For the warrior, there is no such thing as impossible love. He does not let himself be intimidated by silence, indifference or rejection. He knows that behind the mask of ice that people wear, there exists a heart of fire. That is why the warrior risks more than others. He seeks tirelessly for someone’s love, even if this means often hearing the word “no,” returning home defeated and feeling rejected in both body and soul. A warrior does not let himself become scared when he seeks what he needs. Without love he is nothing.” —Manual of the Warrior of Light
3. Make mistakes
“Everything tells me that I am about to make a wrong decision, but making mistakes is just part of life. What does the world want of me? Does it want me to take no risks, to go back to where I came from because I didn’t have the courage to say ‘yes’ to life?” —Eleven Minutes
4. Solitude is essential for self-discovery
“Solitude is not the absence of Love, but its complement. Solitude is not the absence of company, but the moment when our soul is free to speak to us and help us decide what to do with our life. Therefore, blessed are those who do not fear solitude, who are not afraid of their own company, who are not always desperately looking for something to do, something to amuse themselves with, something to judge. If you are never alone, you cannot know yourself.
And if you do not know yourself, you will begin to fear the void.” —Manuscript Found in Accra
5. Don’t be afraid to be different
“You are someone who is different, but who wants to be the same as everyone else. And that, in my view, is a serious illness. God chose you to be different. Why are you disappointing God with this kind of attitude?” —Veronika Decides to Die
6. Challenge the status quo
“Ester asked why people are sad.
“That’s simple,” says the old man. “They are the prisoners of their personal history. Everyone believes that the main aim in life is to follow a plan. They never ask if that plan is theirs or if it was created by another person. They accumulate experiences, memories, things, other people’s ideas and it is more than they can possibly cope with. And that is why they forget their dreams.” —The Zahir
7. Believe in miracles
“The Warrior of Light is a believer. Because he believes in miracles, miracles begin to happen. Because he is sure that his thoughts can change his life, his life begins to change. Because he is certain that he will find love, love appears.” —Manual of the Warrior of Light
8. Life is our biggest teacher
“There are moments when troubles enter our lives and we can do nothing to avoid them. But they are there for a reason. Only when we have overcome them will we understand why they were there.” —The Fifth Mountain
9. Real love is selfless
“We are used to thinking that what we give is the same as what we receive, but people who love, expecting to be loved in return, are wasting their time. Love is an act of faith, not an exchange. We love because we need to love. Otherwise, love loses all meaning and the sun ceases to shine.” —Manuscript Found in Accra
10. You can be reborn
“Sometimes you have to travel a long way in order to find what is near. When the rain returns to earth, it brings with it the things of the air. The magical and the extraordinary are with me and with everyone in the Universe all the time, but sometimes we forget that and need to be reminded, even if we have to cross the largest continent in the world from one side to the other.” —Aleph
Finally, the biggest inspiration is Paulo Coelho himself and his personal story about how he became a writer. It is a story full of passion, struggle, faith, rebellion, love and wonder.
It is a story that will inspire you to take chances and dream bigger. It is a story that can change your life—the same way his books can.