Hard Times

Paulo Coelho

A man was selling oranges in the middle of a road. He was illiterate, so he never read newspapers. He put some signs along the road and spent the whole day praising the flavor of his wares.

Everyone bought from him and the man thrived. With the money he placed more signs on the road and began to sell more fruit. Business was growing fast when one day his son – who was educated and had studied in a big city – asked him:

– Father, don’t you know that the world is going through very hard times? The economy of the country is in an awful state!

Worried by this, the man reduced the number of signs and began to sell fruit of inferior quality because it was cheaper. Sales slumped immediately.

“My son is right,” he thought. “Times are very hard.”

Welcome to Share with Friends – Free Texts for a Free Internet


  1. Marie-Christine says:

    Follow your intuition.

  2. Molly says:

    Always follow the heart is the lesson I get here.

  3. Stacey says:

    I think that the story is trying to tell people that even the highest education can’t teach you everything. Some things are better understood through the natural experiences with life and everything around us at the moment — to try and pay attention to what life freely and willingly gives you.

  4. wendylei says:

    Tongues have most powerful energy feeds the mystic sparks
    inside another’s heart,pity if we cant grasp our trueself and respect it,we shall eventurally lose the focus of the target,and got lost completely.

  5. Hello,

    Well – after reading “Welcome to Share with Friends – Free Texts for a Free Internet” few times (hope not too few) I translated this text and put it on my blog at address http://shufla.wordpress.com/2009/01/08/ciezkie-czasy/

  6. […] This blog post by Paulo Coelho on economic hard times. […]

  7. sido says:

    Lynette ,

    you said that we thinks ( it’s the same ways )

    love ^ _ ^

  8. Lynette says:

    Strange how we all have different ideas on this blog, but mine is –

    I see this story as a moral in that never believe all that you hear but follow your heart and instincts. Rely on your own instincts, and dont follow the crowd. It is counteractive to your own destiny.

    Be aware of what is given back by others, whether it be money or kind, and accept it with an attitude of humility and joy. Whatever you give out comes back two fold!!

    Confidence and happiness, draws people to you. It is as if you are lit within. We all are in charge of our destiny, so beleive in yourself.

    With love,


  9. Alexandra says:

    I have always said from the beginning of the crises that the financil crises now is made up,is a fake situation.We have resources ,only bad distribution.Some will get very rich now.And we may notice the power of thoughts,in which I strongly believe.We are able to make things happen upon our mind pattern,if we afraid we will be burned.Thinking positive brings positive things.

  10. Adina says:

    Exactly, Paul(A.)… :)

  11. T.K. says:

    WOW! I see this as a lesson in faith. The man was illiterate and couldn’t read, but established a viable business that prospered. However the son who was educated couldn’t see the value in his father’s determination and success and learn a lesson of ‘against all odds’.

    I am inspired by this story.

  12. kala says:

    is it true ??- ” i ws born intelligent bt education ruined me”

  13. Reg Tan says:

    When you know only one way to make your heart truly happy, do it without any hesitation. The moment you let other people’s views get in the way of you living your life, that’s when your hard earned success crashes in on you because you let go of your power and surrendered it to somebody else.

    Much love,
    Reg from the Philippines

  14. Hello,

    That nice – quite close to my way of thinking. That’s so nice to now, that you are on common path with other people.

    By the way – what are copyrights of (your) Coelho’s blogposts? Are anyone is allowed to translate some posts, put them here or in own blog with proper linking? Or shall we always relays on automatic translation systems?


  15. Pablo says:

    Yes, this text hits the target. This is exactly said – world economy is led by expectations (which is also a statistic magnitude in ecomic theory)….

    Many countries (actually almost entire world) is behaving as a man with oranges…


  16. THELMA says:

    As long as the man was following his instinct and respecting his ‘clients’, his ‘business’ was prosperous. From the moment that his ‘learned’ son put ‘doubt’ in his mind, everything collapsed. The uncertainty about the future made him become less generous so his good luck changed. His thoughts have … influenced his… material world.

  17. sido says:

    congrès économique janvier 2009 : si mon patron me fait confiance et m’honore j’aurai envie de faire plus pour lui , s’il me fait trop travailler juste pour son profit je ne suis pas motivé de travailler pour du matériel mais bien plus pour faire plaisir í  une personne ( mon patron ) ou pour moi míªme ou pour ma femme …etc … si je travaille dans la bonne humeur et la tíªte haute ( si mon patron me considère ) je serai doublement efficace et je donnerai le meilleur de moi-míªme

    dans un autre post , je disais ” trop de richesse tue la richesse ” , si chacun en voulait un peu moins , il en gagnerait davantage et avec le plaisir pour l’ouvrier et le plaisir pour le patron ( et donc pour les familles , amis …le bien-íªtre se transmet comme l’état de stress aussi : voyez l’histoire du violonniste dont parlait paul de l’autriche , et vous comprendrez aussi que si la personne est dans un état de bien-íªtre , elle est plus ouverte í  recevoir les bonnes choses qui nous sont proposées / mais si la personne est stressée et préoccupée VITE VITE elle reste emprisonnée dans ses contraintes et tirent míªme la main de leur enfant afin qu’ils suivent leur démarche et ne s’arríªtent pas

    nous devons changer ET ET changer pour nos enfants : afin que tous profitent et que nos enfants profitent davantage

    merci , Paulo de nous rappeler que les peurs sont nos propres ennemis : confiance en nous , pour une confiance dans l’autre , pour une confiance du devenir des choses vers le meilleur , pour une confiance de l’avenir

    Economic congress in January, 2009: if my boss relies on me and honors me I shall want to make more for him, if he too much makes me work just for his profit I am not motivated to work for the material(equipment) but much more to please for one person ( my boss)Either for me even or for my wife etc. if I work in the cheerfulness and the high head (if my boss considers me) I shall be effective double and I shall look the best of myself

    In another post, I said ” too much wealth kills the wealth “, if each wanted it a little less, he would gain it more and with the pleasure for the worker and the pleasure for the boss (and thus for families, friends the well-being is passed on as the state of stress also:See the story of the violonniste about which spoke paul of Austria, and you will also understand that if the person is in a state of well-being, he is more opened to receive the good things which are proposed to us / but if the person is fast fast put under stress and worried he remains imprisoned into his constraints and pull even the hand of their child so that they follow their step(initiative) and do not stop

    We have to change AND AND change for our children: so that all take advantage and so that our children take advantage more

    Thank you, Paulo to remind us that the fears are our own enemies: confidence in us, for a confidence in the other one, for a confidence of the future of things towards the best, for a confidence of the future

  18. sido says:

    oui , comme l’homme a la trace en lui des peurs qu’on lui a inculquées dès l’enfance …….il est facile de le mettre dans un état de crainte , juste en lui rappelant la “crainte” de perdre …et alors tout bascule vers le négatif

    donner confiance , avoir confiance , afin de prospérer et de gagner beaucoup de choses ( c’est valable pour le cí´té matériel et spirituel )

    Yes, as the man has the track in him of the fears which we inculcated him(her) from the childhood in ……. it is easy to put him(her) in a state of fear, just by calling back(by reminding) him(her) the “fear” of losing and then everything falls over towards the negative

    Give confidence(trust), trust, to prosper and gain(win) many things (it is valid for the material and spiritual side)

  19. Milla says:

    This story suggests to me: trust yourself and follow your instincts. I’m curious to see what other bloggers read out of it.