The art of trying

Sometimes rules help us avoid the mistakes others have made before our time, but more often than not a rule will only make us repeat what someone else has already done.

Rest assured. Trust the universe, and look forward to surprising yourself. The apostle Paul said, “God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong.” The wise know some actions repeat themselves. They regularly encounter the same problems and situations they have dealt with before. Knowing that makes them sad. They start to think they’ll never be able to grow, since whatever they experienced before is happening again.

“I’ve already been through this,” they complain to their hearts.

“That may be true,” their hearts reply, “but you haven’t mastered it yet.”

The wise understand that repetition has a cause: to teach the lesson that still needs teaching. Repetitive situations require different solutions every time. The one who fails must not see this as a mistake, but rather as a step toward greater self knowledge.

It’s like Thomas Watson said, “Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure.”


  1. Jithu says:

    Just keep fighting,,,,
    Don’t giveup,,,,

  2. Savita Vega says:

    Just this morning, right before I turned on my computer, I was pondering my situation, particularly my present efforts to extract myself from a certain situation and thereby create the life that I really want for myself. I was thinking, I’ve tried this before, more than once, and it failed. Somehow, my efforts – at least the attempts that I have made in the past to extract myself from this situation – have all come to nought. And then I thought, maybe I will fail this time too. Maybe this effort will prove equally futile. Maybe there is no way out of this situation.

    And then I was thinking, if what I’m attempting now doesn’t work, then I’ll try something else – I’ll try anything, even if it sounds crazy. There just has to be a way. Maybe I just haven’t found it yet. And maybe that way – that route of escape – is something unusual, unexpected, something I just haven’t thought of yet, because I’ve been trying to follow the rules – trying to do this thing the way that it is “supposed to be” done. Maybe I’ll have to forget the road that I’m “supposed to” follow, forget the path that I’m “expected” to take – maybe I’ll have to make my own way out – pave my own unique path.

    And then, with these thoughts in my head, I turned on my computer and read this post. Thank you, Paulo, for your inspiring and very wise words. Thank you for the encouragement, just when I need it.

  3. sowmya says:

    This is truly the message of a messiah…Thank you

  4. Nataly says:

    Very true, one keeps getting hurt or failing time and time again, not because bad things happen to bad people but, because we haven’t mastered our lesson yet.

  5. Mary says:

    Ya! That’s true, if you got mistake, u need to get up and try again and again and again tell you success ; that what my motto.

  6. We do not see ourselves as creators, that we create our situations, that we have so many other choices out there to change our situations.

    If we take a road trip, we have an end goal; our final destination. If at some point we come to a dead end, do we give up? No, we will turn around. Now, will we take the same road again? No! Why? Because we know that it will lead us back to the dead end. So what do we do? We will stop, take out a map, observe it and take the road that will bring us back on track….

    So, why do we keep taking the same road that leads us to a dead end in our life challenges…We need to stop, observe our mistakes (they are our map to guide us) and get back on track.

    Albert Einstein once said: Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results!

    1. kerri says:

      So true

    2. Pilar says:

      Einstein? Well, i must be insane then! They (Whoever ´they´are?) say that the human being survives as the most adaptable species on the planet solely because of his optimism against the reality put before him therefore, optimism is what makes humans survive against all the odds! Interesting! Must be true, never give up trying! Insane but true!!

  7. Elliege says:

    When we were born happines was everywhere inside us. when we were groing up many of us had to change. if you try to be happy, find your inner again, don’t plan\ anything to harsh on you. Have some mistakes, fall it and give yourself the wisdom of beeing yoursefl and not beeing rullede by society.As I read many yaers ago:” dream high and never stop eventhough you get there.”

  8. Krishnan says:

    Tough times here with an identity crisis.
    Hope I can burn the map soon and start hunting…:(

  9. nina ramirez says:

    Los fracasos te llevan al exito!

  10. Namsook Han says:

    Thank you so much for sharing precious wisdom.

  11. Farzaneh Zahiri says:

    Fear Of Failure Is Worse Than The Failure Itself.

    Much of Love,,
    Farzane =)

  12. Veronika says:

    Thank you, so much, Mr Coelho.. Your words touched my soul.. My grandpa Jan died on Monday morning. It hurts me very much, but something inside me knows, thats was the right step from heaven. Your words and experiences also become those of my, if you allow.. Love and peace for all of us. Veronika

  13. Mahdi says:

    Dear Paulo,,,i grew up with your books,,,i am Iranian and u know better that your books became widespread in Iran, your philosophy and attitude twards life have akways inspired me ,,i really don’ know what was your failure rate that you become this much successful,,,!iii; )’

  14. Molto vero e molto giusto ! E forse è per questo che la Storia degli uomini si ripete sempre uguale ! Solo all’ Arte è data maggiore possibilití  di cambiare e di creare ! Ciao Rosetta

  15. Lukasz says:

    Great reading! Thank you Paulo!

  16. Molto vero e molto giusto ! E forse è per questo che la Storia degli uomini si ripete sempre uguale. Solo all’ Arte è data l’ opportunití  di modificare e di cambiare, con maggiore possibilití  di creare ! Ciao Rosetta

  17. Malin says:

    When I have a bad day, as today, I read something you have written and it always makes me feel better. It gives me hope and perspective. All my love to you Paulo!

  18. Thank u 4 ur simple masterpiece.. in time indeed :’)

  19. Mahima says:

    Failure shall not be the stopping point ever in life .. But…
    i would not like to spend my lifetime doing the same mistakes someone already committed.. hence i would rather do it my way but keeping in mind what ws wrong beforehand ..

  20. cindy says:

    The art of failing is the most important of all. For if we learn to fail humbly, then success is taken with little pride and less ego. We appreciate it as we do , and feel content. If we are lucky, we have someone close to share this contentment with. Like , the warm cherries in the middle of the hot , fresh pie.!!

  21. malyn says:

    failures actually molds us. Thank you for this wonderful insights.
    For couple of weeks been thinking bout rules and setting boundaries but then that would restrict me for being me. It will give me protection but will deprive of the things i have to know more about other people…
    why knowledge pays a price.


  23. Gaby says:

    Wow! thank you! it was great!!!!

  24. eleonora says:


  25. Adele Pennington says:

    Put your ‘can’t’ in your pocket and pull out a ‘try’.

  26. Sheela Nandini says:

    Too many failures can suck the life- energy out of you! Especially when you are you and not Einstein or Edison…(with all due respect to everybody here)

    Was going over some issues that cropped up again today and all I could manage to do was feel utterly sorry for myself, despite the facts staring me in the face,and ended up crying !!! Felt slightly better after lunch and now after tea and snacks. I want to put this down to PMS… :)

    The formula for success is understandable but I should think one has got to have an indomitable spirit and a strong mind to go with it as well. My two cents.

    I know I am afraid of trying all over again in some areas in my life and simply procrastinating …

    @ Brave Soul: Thanks for mentioning that little incident of the nude guy.Funny but last night or it must have been very early in the morning that I dreamed that I was dancing in the nude to some strange music in an open field( I never heard that kind of music and don’t remember ever dancing like that in real life.I do go into a trance when I listen to Krsna bhajans sung by Pandit Jasraj ji) and I saw myself looking so happy and FREE ! Dreamt of flowers too-tulips!
    Don’t know whether shame is illusion but when I experienced shame in my life it was so real and I have lost enough sleep over it! I hope I am free of such feelings of shame now…

    A message to God: Surprise me! :)


    1. kerri says:

      i can relate to you about your issues and the crying and the procrastination!! mistakes are not failures, only results meant to bring you closer to your truth, which is the direction to be headed in. but i am like you i put off choices out of fear.

    2. Sheela Nandini says:

      Dear Kerri,
      Thank you for stopping by to read what I blurted out yesterday-some strange mood I was in but very real ! It was so bad I rescheduled my dental appointment for Friday.
      Good to know that I am not alone in this.Thanks for sharing.
      You are right when you say “mistakes bring you closer to your truth” That’s exactly what happened and that’s what upset me when I awoke.The dream was just a way of revealing some painful truths about myself. The dream I shared here isn’t complete-what I ‘saw’ later hurt me.
      Where I am ,not sure I have too many choices,but then again that’s my excuse I guess.
      I had a chat with God before falling asleep last night and went back to my morning routine of yogic exercises-The Sun is shining again :)


  27. Sai Baba says:

    Thank You! Very inspiring post :)

  28. Lucie Choueifati says:

    I AGREE WITH YOU 100%.

  29. heart says:

    I wish we could all realize this and keep getting up again when we fail, as well as letting others get away with failing too..

  30. Wisdom says:

    Thank you!

    1. SANDRA says:


  31. Kealan says:

    ‘All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.’ – Samuel Beckett

  32. Samuel~elViento~barreto says:

    I understand! My Ignorance & fear will work out something for the greater good. God is LoVe, & in its infinate wisdom courage is needed.Action is passionate inspiration in action. I haVe been oVerwhelmed seemingly my whole life, cursing or judging my lot in life saying no or not good enough out of this deep shame I & humanity haVe felt for as long as the story of the fall from
    grace. Its a LoVe story. Respecting the
    boundaries. LoVe has placed~ the tree or
    knowlegde of good & bad & I LoVe this world so much, eVen while liVing in dread of Shame~ courage, action is needed fighting for our Personal legend. “What LuV haVe yoked together let no man pull apart.” The Christ

  33. Dear Mr. Coelho,

    what a beautiful post full of wisdom. The most stupid advice I’ve ever heard is to make the same mistake only once. Trying that would mean that we try to avoid to make mistakes completely, wouldn’t it ?

    Thanks for sharing your insights.

    Be blessed


  34. Marie-Christine says:

    ‘The Art of Trying’ for me is in the daily renewal of Energy , trying things and seeing ,feeling touching, tasting,.using all my senses.
    Plugging into life’s mystery , following the laws of nature is a way of renewing your Energy.
    Life is geometrical in shape. It is the Natural way.
    Henri Matisse’s referred to a painting as ‘little cubes’.
    When Picasso changed his way with cubism he became a huge success.
    Whether it be In art, science, religion, and other fields it all revolves around geometry I believe.
    I am thinking about Albert Einstein as well
    with his theory of relativity E=mc2
    Everything is relative, therefore for me linked.
    In Eolienne also a renewable Energy there is a lien, a link.
    By reading this text again, I am viewing it in in a different way.
    I understand myself better,
    Difference is what makes the difference.
    Keep on smiling :)

    Thank you so much Paulo, I have learned a lot from you.
    I love you,

  35. Cynthia says:

    I am definitely not wise then. Try and try as I must. Its quite funny really. x

  36. Marie-Christine Grimard says:

    Effectivement, nous avons tendance í  répéter les míªmes erreurs, celles qui nous ont fait souffrir surtout, et míªme parfois les míªmes erreurs que nos parents ont commises et qui nous avaient fait souffrir í  ce moment lí . Comme si, nous tentions d’obtenir un résultat différent, une fin de l’histoire plus positive, celle en tout cas qui nous rendrait heureux. Dans les petites choses du quotidien cela n’a que peu d’importance, mais pour les grands choix de notre vie, cela peut íªtre dévastateur, surtout pour ceux qui nous aiment, et pourquoi le faisons-nous quand míªme ? Il faut apprendre í  Secouer le quotidien et avoir le courage de se tromper et de recommencer, comme le faisait Picasso, en secouant le visage de son modèle pour qu’il éclate en morceaux, et en le reconstruisant í  sa manière. Ce genre de visionnaire est rare, et souvent incompris. Me donnerais-je le droit de secouer mon quotidien, sans pour cela détruire celui de mes proches, aurais-je enfin appris de mes erreurs, ou tomberais-je de nouveau dans la míªme ornière? Cette fois-ci, je suis déjí  avertie, et malgré la chute, au moins, je garderai un grand sourire sur les lèvres. M Christine G.

  37. Wanderlaini Aparecida Rodrigues says:

    É muito difí­cil para mim assimilar isso, que eu sei que é por aí­ mesmo.
    Porque fui criada debaixo de uma lei que meus pais impunham, que era nunca errar, e cada vez que isso acontecia eles me viravam as costas.
    Mas agora tenho minha vida e me permito errar e tentar novamente!
    Obrigada Sr.Coelho, pelas palavras.

  38. Susana says:

    Was it Thomas Edison who said that at the end of his life, he had learnt that there are more than 1,000 ways of NOT doing something..?.

    Life in progress..

    Have a lovely morning.

  39. CristinaB. says:

    Absolutely right.
    I made many mistakes in until i was 30, especially in human relationships.
    Then I understood what was wrong.
    I changed and my life was better.
    Sometimes we are not humble enough to recongnize our mistakes.

  40. BraveSoul says:

    Correction 20th century

  41. BraveSoul says:

    What is failure really? It is just another choice you made and didn’t work as expected. But it did work since you made another choice afterwards that was built on what so called failure. Failure is taught to us at school by a person in power with conflict of interest. Did you know that Picasso rejected the education system of one of the prestigest schools of Art in Barcelona? He went on teaching himself from other Masters. I can’t even imagain how contemporary artist was treated in the 19th century. I wonder if he was happy being different most of the artists of his age. I wonder if he made his fame while alive. But I am sure he didn’t care about what anyone thinks and kept doing art in his own way. His first training drawings was very basic and you can’t believe it was Picasso yet it fills a big musem in Barcelona.
    Shame is just chain society create to keep individuals not to go outside of the circle. What is shameful in one society is not in another. That means shame is illusion. I saw a guy swimming nude the other day. He was so happy splashing in the water like a baby without diapers. When I won’t do it myself but I was able to see that this is not a source of shame for him but a great pleasure. I rest my case. Lots of negative emotions are manufactured to keep us in check.
    Have a wonderful day

    1. Andreea says:

      what a beautiful comment. thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    2. BraveSoul says:

      Thanks! That was my early morning thought.

    3. Sheela Nandini says:

      Well then, I LOVE your early morning thoughts, dear BraveSoul :)

      Please keep sharing with us.


  42. Elizabeth says:


  43. Teddyted says:

    Failure is a great school for us.Through failure we know how to find out the path of success.Fear always breaks our decisions .We have better to try and try again to confront the failure..We ought to be ourself because we cannot be the other..In a deep place inside our heards hides the gold key of our success..a brave man fight and fight to take this key and open doors of happiness..
    thank you

  44. Alexandra says:

    Nice. Always doing same things is not healthy…see the many stories in Russian literature, such in Gogol pieces and others. Routine and boring life is to be avoided, but is good to know what to chose. The results are not always the expected, therefore we really might try more things, because we do not know what will come out ( experimenting).

  45. Prinie says:

    It’s like you read my soul at just the right time. I always read your posts at just the right time and I find that your posts are on the very topic I was asking my God and looking deep within my soul for.

  46. toni says:

    i hope to actually understand the cause of this repetition i am experiencing right now. i barely have two weeks and i’ m only nervous more than ever. i cannot just take this for granted again. i cannot waste time. i wanted this so badly and if i’ m not going to make it i would really really be sad. Oh please be that the cause of this repetition be the actual achievement of what i have always been working hard for. and i ‘d only surprise myself in the end that Toni, you’ve made it. Congratulations!

  47. Karin says:

    Thank you for reading! Have a happy day! :) Greetings from Munich, Karin

  48. Oscar Carod says:

    Estimado Paulo necesito comunicarme con Ud. ¿Cómo podrí­amos hacerlo?

  49. richard hughes says:

    truly inspiring !
    finding peace of mind is in part, for me ,
    learning to forgive myself and others around me,
    for everyday situation that puts ME to the test !

  50. Carolina Paton says:

    Paulo, wise words like always. We need to keep going and not be afraid of failure. Failure is part of life and we can’t denied…Our dreams are through failure and ours failures are the kingdom of a new start. Best wishes.