Conversations with the master – the strategy

By Paulo Coelho

(Here I continue to transcribe notes made during conversations with J. between 1982 and 1990)

– Bernard Shaw was right – said J. – He wrote that people take morbid pleasure in complaining all day long about the conditions in which they live. I agree with him: true men and women are those who seek out ideal conditions, and – if they are unable to find them – end up creating them.

– How does one create the conditions needed?

– A Chinese man wrote about this, thousands of years ago: by respecting the five fundamental points. However, before speaking of the five points, it must be said that the starting point is respect for oneself. One can achieve anything, but not everything; so one must know what it is one desires.

– How can we know what we desire?

– When we feel well after carrying out a certain task. Consequently, everything which causes us to lose our enthusiasm and self respect, is harmful; even if it means power, money or success. I have seen so many people suffocated by success, making mistakes which ended up destroying years of work, yielding to heavy drinking, becoming aggressive, tough, bitter. These people are distant from themselves, and distant from others.

– Tell me about the Chinaman.

– He wrote a book about war, but the five points he mentions in it apply to any task carried out by mankind.

“Item one: the law of the will. We just talked about this: one should only do that which truly fills our hearts with enthusiasm. If we brush this aside, if we put off the moment to live that which we dream of, we lose the energy necessary for any important transformation in our lives. Someone once put this most succinctly: “I don’t know the secret of success – but the secret of failure is to always try to follow the will of others.”

“Item two: the law of the seasons. Just as a war fought in winter demands different behavior and equipment from a war in the summer, human beings must learn to respect their own seasons, and not try to act when it is time to wait, not try to wait at a time of action. However, in order to make progress in anything, we must make the first move – from then on, our personal rhythm and intuition will show us how to conserve his energy.

“Item three: the law of geography. A battle in a ravine is different from one fought in a field: in the same way, one can only achieve favorable conditions by paying attention to what is going on around, to the space one is occupying, what must be done to increase it, where there may be an ambush waiting, how to escape if a momentary retreat is necessary.

“Item four: the law of the allies. No one can fight alone; friends are necessary to give us strength when we need it, people who can advise us without being afraid of what we will think. As a poet once said: “no bird can fly high, if it only uses its own wings.”

“Finally, the fifth item: the law of creativity. There is only one way of understanding things – when we try to change them. We do not always succeed, but we do learn, for we seek a path no one has been down – and the world is full of such paths. The problem is, everyone is afraid of virgin forests, uncharted seas. As one enters the unknown, one fears that one may lose oneself.

“But no one gets lost – the hand of the merciful God always lies on the heads of courageous men and women, those who dare to be different because they believe in their dreams.”

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Comments

  1. “But no one gets lost – the hand of the merciful God always lies on the heads of courageous men and women, those who dare to be different because they believe in their dreams.”

    Merciful God Always sends you, Paolo, to support me.
    Thank you for being such a friend. (Item four!)

    Ahmad Eddeeb

  2. wanbliska says:

    Please do. :) These conversations with J. are working and walking.

    Gratitude.

  3. Lia Mara says:

    Very wise.
    I’ve read this before in one of your books, I think, maybe ‘MAKTUB’, but I read it in Portuguese and loved it.
    The most important thing to me was to find out the first law – the law of the will, and the law of the seasons. They used to be my weak point.
    Well, through this wrinting I read from you I had the insight to combine both laws and managed to deal with my inner seasons respecting myself in first place.
    Thank you for posting. It’s always very good read it again!

    Peace and Love

    Lia Mara

  4. Archee says:

    Mr. Coelho thank you very much. Sometimes a man feels that it’s time to change his life and go sraight to his aim. And then he needs some help and answers. I guess now I’m in that situation and answers that I get from your books help me a lot, that’s why I’m very grateful for you. But I’ve got one question with Item four. I know that we each walk the Path that we’ve chosen. Sometime the Paths of two people cross and some relationships appear. But these 2 people look different on these relations. I’m not saying that one of them don’t want them. Maybe he or she’s just not ready or afraid of something else. So the question is: Do we have a right to influence on others, and do we can, and if we do and can – then how? It’s probably the most important question on my Path today…
    Thank you four your help
    Archeee

  5. Paul says:

    Thanks for this Mr Coelho. As usual, your writings are very inspiring, and fall at the right time in my life.

  6. Donna Caamic says:

    Dear Paolo, you truly give me a sense of my life and I’m willing to share your thoughts with my friends. I’m from Philippines and currently pursuing my chosen field of study and what can I say…intelligence is the most important thing they’ve taught us. They missed the idea of life and what’s ahead. After reading some of the piece of your mind, it made me seek what’s really beyond in me. Thanks and May God be with you.

  7. Thank you dear Paulo..

    Now I’m reassured that the hand of the merciful God is lying on my head..

    IYM

  8. “But no one gets lost – the hand of the merciful God always lies on the heads of courageous men and women, those who dare to be different because they believe in their dreams.”

    Merciful God Always sends you, Paolo, to support me.
    Thank you for being such a friend. (Item four!)

    Ahmad Eddeeb

  9. B.Oso says:

    Thank You so much =)
    Your Great Wisdom has a Synchronized Impact on my Journey,I realize that it is the #4 of alliance that I so much miss in my strange little life for the moment,but I am sure things are to be better soon..

    Thank you again,Dear Brother In Arms =)
    Love & Light
    OsO