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. Monica Nielsen says:

    Thanks for a great post, speaks to my soul your post and video. Yes, I have had my share of failures. When I was asked how come I have such a clear sharp vision. I respond thru experiences, faith and listening to my soul. I still love the journey, and I never give up. I keep getting back up. It is like a game of chess, It is all in the game and exploring the soul not reaching what we call in a chess game check mate. I surround myself to experience the journey!

  2. There are no words that can express how great I find your words and the way they are harmoniously expressed. Paulo is my Mozart.

  3. JOELLE says:

    Il ne faut jamais répéter les erreurs du passé , il faut savoir se pardonner mais ne pas oublier que ce sont des accidents de la vie , vous amenant í  grandir pour devenir plus fort et plus sage. Ils vous aident í  savoir comment détourner ou affronter les différents épreuves que l’existence nous met au milieu du chemin mais il faut savoir íªtre sage afin de pouvoir vous en sortir plus tard . C’est ce que la vie vous donne , elle vous apprend les leí§ons différentes pour devenir plus raisonnable et l’enseigner í  nos enfants pour qu’ils ne recommencent plus les míªmes erreurs que vous . Parfois la foi vous aide mais il faut avoir du courage pour avoir enfin confiance en vous……………

  4. Chinedu says:

    “Never ever give up.” This I remind myself. I would admit that sometimes it seems so hard, it seems like giving up is a better option. I also remember what one of the saints say about praying hard and working hard together. It really isn’t easy to keep moving forward, but thank God for His grace and mercy that keeps us going.

  5. Terra says:

    Thank you, this post came at just the right time (just when I was thinking discouraging thoughts) and what’s more, it preceded a post very similar. The second was a photo of a young girl, holding a pen in her mouth with both hands missing. It says, “Before you quit, try.”
    Now, I just have to follow the advice!! Or keep making mistakes I suppose…

  6. Zombiemom says:

    This certainly applies to querying literary agencies. Glad to see so many others have found solace in these words, as well. Thanks, PC. Onward.

  7. Flavio Cesar says:

    É senhor Coelho.. Joelhos ralados mostram que rezamos… Ou que aprendemos a levantar.

  8. Ron Sewell says:

    What an excellent comment: To succeed, double your rate of failure

    Failure is really the incentive to do things better next time.

    The older I get, the more I realise that I have to keep trying.

    The path to enlightenment doesn’t allow us to reach an early goal.

    1. Pat Dowling says:

      Truer words were never spoken: I always think of Alex Haley, the author of “Roots,” and how he tried unsuccessfully for over a decade to get his novel published. Thank God he persisted in spite of receiving dozens of rejection slips from publishers. Where do people like him get their self confidence? I probably would’ve given up much earlier (as would most people, I think).

  9. Xavio ortiz says:

    Si cada vez que nos caemos por nuestros errores,no entendemos porque nos caimos,pues sentarse a pensar y dar gracias que nos caimos

  10. Thank you! Te he leí­do desde hace algunos años y a pesar de que mi vida ha dado un cambio radical, vuelvo a leer tus libros y todo tiene un significado diferente.

  11. patricia says:

    I will never give up! thanks for remember me that!

  12. josiefrance says:

    It’s like, “How many times will it take for me to get it right.”

  13. Joe says:

    I recall the phrase, “Rise and rise again until lambs become lions”, as I read this.

  14. Ivette M. Alfaro says:

    I love it…

  15. Malor says:

    Thank you for reminding me right now :-)



  16. Cynthia Roman says:

    Hay que tomar estas palabras como propias porque lo único que nos puede ayudar es Dios y nuestra perseverancia…

  17. Evelyn says:

    I’m certainly seeing that. I found myself recently in a situation similar to one I faced a few years ago and it was obvious I was in a similar situation because I hadn’t headed the lesson the first time. Fortunately this time I chose an alternate road that while coming with a lot of heartache is the right thing to do. I am more aware now and next time, I’ll make a better choice.

  18. Helen says:

    This is a very timely blog for me right now. I keep getting stuck on the same stuff and I feel pretty hopeless at the moment. Thank you for the reminder to keep plodding on.

  19. Lisa Rangel says:

    Thank you for sharing this post. It is important for every job seeker and entrepreneur to know and understand.

  20. saurabh says:

    Thanks its like medicin in my life.

  21. […] : The art of trying. In Paulo Coelho ‘s Blog. 9 avril 2012 VN:F [1.9.16_1159]please wait…Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes […]

  22. Finya says:

    This is really beautiful. Thank you Sir Paulo for opening our minds to the universe. You’re always an inspiration.

  23. sameh says:

    Really GOD is the best Artist , along my life i have felt failure many times and always i feel very bad towards that failure and i become very desprate

  24. Shikufa says:

    Im really effected by the short stories of Paulo Coelho …i really love them…. they are wonderful n expresses just the exact feelings which we go through in reality… it is amazing i cant express how i feel after reading them. hatsoff to Paulo Coelho.

  25. camellia says:

    i’ve failed in the thing i wanted to achieve the most…now i’ve walked around that impenetrable obstacle, i’ve forgiven myself, and i’m looking forward to start achieving in what i’ve proved successful at

    1. Dr.Siddharth Bandaru says:

      can you please elaborate? I may find something useful.

  26. Mariana says:

    Loved this article Paulo!

  27. amy castillo says:

    la verdad que si es cierto todo lo ahi escrito uno nunca debe rendirse frente alas adversidades que le presenta la vida sino que debemos tomarlas como un reto y saber que somos capaz de lograr muchas cosas si tenemos confianza en nosotros mismos claro esta que no importa lo que los demas piensen sino que la conviccion que tengo de mis ideas y llevarlas a cabo

  28. LoveM says:

    Doing & Achieving are mechanisms of the mind to enhance and perpetuate itself..
    Creation.. success.. failure are all concepts.. products of the mind..
    What is..just cannot be grasped..gained or obtained..
    Transformation is a recognition & a realisation..
    Everything that the mind seeks to attain..
    Is what the Heart already knows..
    And what One already is..
    A LovedOne..

  29. Robert says:

    So many comments all agreeing, as I would, and yet I admit I still feel very alone with my beliefs. You are one of a kind Paulo, and though so am I, I wonder if you’ve had similar struggles, what your life really was like, when did you know what you do and when did things start changing? Of course your readers are like you, but why does it seem there are still so few real dreamers? I AM afraid, and I wish I could speak to someone who was also afraid, but has now had their big dreams come true.

  30. Maria Nicolosi says:

    Thak you, Mr. Coelho, I understand that I am an artist really, ( if only could I hope it?) I am not foolish and mentally unstable woman, like not long since I thought y I was foolish, and mentally unstable woman, why? Because I have art of trying, loving and living every day like it is a different new day, I love new experiences but love the just rules too, and then I’ll try to live like a child that looks, listens, loves every thing,. My life is very repetitive but every day is wonderfull, fantastic, new day too, because I try new and different solutions, like it is my first time , I am like a child that walks, sleeps, lives, and tries new solutions for living better. Every day is a new emotion, when I look at the sky, at the sea, at everything I am happy because I imagine that everything is a God’s gift, no one can take away it from me, I could mistake, but I am happy because when I look at the world, I feel really free, I am like a creative child, I make my life becomes different and unique, like my pictures,. My life’ll not be very rich, very perfect, very conformist, but it’ll be my only , extraordinary life, why? Because I’ll have lived it very freely. I do’nt fear the other people thinks me like foolish and mentally unstable woman, because God chose me a foolish woman in the world to shame the other wise people.

  31. katie says:

    I must say …. I still cannot forgive einstein that he only gave his first wife the money from the nobel prize & did not publicly shared the prize with her to openly acknowledge her input in developing the relativity theory.

    1. katie says:

      LoL … wrong post :o}

  32. jackienoriega says:


  33. maricel says:

    it is easy to say that youll never give up but once you already been in some hard times you almost wanted to end it up up and keep on asking God why this all happening?we also know that everything happens for a reson but we might dont know yet the reason because we keep in asking,.and start thinking that we are all made our own decision in life and God was only guiding us when were almost down to pick us up,.remember that we only live once and what we have done is already done,we cannot turn back time just to change our mistakes,what we have to do now is to improve ourselves in growing..

  34. Namhla says:

    Dear Mrs Paulo

    When you want something no matter what happenes you will wait until you get it, at the right time. But now peolpe they dont want to be patient they give up easly even if that person asked for something from God just because he is not patient he will give up and enud up saying bad things about God, for example that God does not answer or ask questions that are negative like why is God not answering and start to doubt. So giving up means that you are a failure of which we are the children of God we are not failures, so patiency is the key for it, it is part of the fruits of the Holy Spirit.

  35. Jessica says:

    Sometimes I really want to give up and just sleep for hundred years ….. sometimes I just get so tired of life …. but then somehow something happen that makes me want to live again :-) Love Jessica

  36. Marling says:

    Eres y siempre seras mi maestro,somos colegas ya, espero un dia ser como tu o mejor! Dios Te Bendiga Beijo meu loco favorito Amo te

  37. Rahana Mohammed says:

    double your rate of failure

  38. Empié says:

    Crece hasta el cielo y más allá, por lo menos hasta la luna… y volver.

    Tus hermanos seguros que están felices de verte feliz.

    Un beso muy grande.

    Vuela mariposa¡¡¡¡

    1. Dave says:

      you are a wonderful and amazing person old man! Good to see you in videos and hear your voice!

  39. José Komensky says:

    Obrigado, Paulo!
    Sábias palavras!

    Amo Moses

  40. toñi says:

    Lo más importante que tengo que aprender en este momento es a vivir conmigo misma, yo sola. Soñé que mi mundo estaba vací­o y me sentí­ triste. Pero ahora me siento feliz y en paz, es necesario a veces este vacio. Me he separado de mis hermanos (almas gemelas) y aunque quieran entrar en mi mundo no puedo permitirles que entren porque necesito crecer y debo crecer sola conmigo misma. El vací­o es necesario para recuperar fuerzas y la paz interior, y sé que mis hermanos también necesitan sentirse vacios para crecer. Cuando somos bebés aprendemos a caminar solos y a veces en la vida hemos de separarnos un poco de los más amados (nuestras otras partes) para nuestra evolución. Separarse no significa no quererlos. Separarse no significa olvidarlos. Separarse significa para mi, en este momento, brindarles la oportunidad de crecer más y…brindarme a mi misma la oportunidad de crecer más. Un fuerte abrazo y adios. Toñi.

  41. Mark says:

    Eve of creation
    Comes the sin of separation
    Its A.dam.nation

    Nothing like failure
    To bring the hidden ego
    Into painful view

    This real-i-sation
    Do I like my reflection
    Love my creation

    1. Annie says:

      I light a candle each day..
      how beautiful it says
      ‘It is what it is.You are what you it.
      I m a little sun burning”
      and it is what it is,

      it doesn’t try to be more
      be a star or a lamp
      it doesn’t hang from the sky
      and it doesn’t try ,
      because it is what it is,

      It doesn’t complain that it’s burning..
      all of its life gives light
      and remembers the sun
      also burning
      so it is what it is

      fantasy or not
      it is what it is
      and that’s what it says
      ‘i m a little sun burning’

      Love and Gratitude <3

    2. Audition Center says:

      Good try Mark.

    3. Mark says:

      Ah Lovely Annie.. Simply Beautiful..
      Here am I the wick..Moment of eternity..Burning real quick
      Burning in the flame..Like a wick my own life line..Will I lose that tread
      What cannot be lost..After all has come to pass..What then still remains
      You’re not an action ..You are the Presence in which..All actions arise..

  42. Thank you for sharing Paulo, this story arrived in my inbox when I needed it the most.
    Yesterday was a give-up trying day for me. I bemoaned my limited ability; I cursed my desire to be perfect at what I chose to do; I wailed at my (self imposed) impending failure… and got absolutely nothing done!

    Today I will get back to trying. I will embrace my limited ability as an opportunity to learn more; I will applaud my imperfections as they are what make me unique; and I will celebrate my impending success… because as long as I’m trying… I am succeeding!

  43. Empié says:

    Vaya, parece que hoy toca arder un poco, bueno, el precio a pagar por la paz.

    Que así­ sea.

  44. naina...always says:

    i understand what you just wrote, i know its about that i have to face these result, i fail every time i try , it is not easy to keep trying the same again and again. just keep trying again and again needs a lot of energy , i am worried that what if it just fades away and , just to keep on trying is tiring and i dont know, what if i cant make it actually… on seeing i failed again i get all the more scared, of the thing that what if i dont clear it again the next time also. life is not going to stop for me.

  45. Tarek says:

    “God created the giraffe, the elephant and the cat …then why would we try to follow one rule or another?” True but if one looks closely, the giraffe, the elephant and the cat are not really different what they share is much more than the differences, starting from the DNA (in it is smallest details) as a common information carrier till the eyes the nose the lungs, etc…
    “In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order” correctly said Carl G. Jung

    1. katie says:

      & do not forget …
      we share with animals feelings & emotions …. in the same way as we share biochemistry, anatomy, concordance of our dna, & physiology.
      so, true, tarek.

      it is our ignorance, our love of still defining us as the center of the universe (after we had to accept that the earth isn’t) & the minimal knowledge that we have but believe we do have it. all this helps us to not recognize jung’s saying.

  46. Shine says:

    Double your rate of failure.”. Oh my GOD!! Okay I promise I will try :) love Avantika

  47. Anurg singh says:

    well watevr u sayin ….i think m goin through same phase..
    thanks fr ur assistence..god bless u :))

  48. Anna Sergi says:

    When I first read about this in the Warrior of Light I realised that this is my problem. I keep on facing the situations always in the same way, it’s like I never learn. Same mistakes different people and same outcome and same broken heart. First, I thought it was because of others, now I know it’s because of me and yet I don’t get it. We keep trying, I keep trying but I never master my choices fully, I am bound to relive the same heartaches over and over again. I never get through it, I never fully recover.

    1. jim says:

      You’re not alone.
      We’ve come to the same place via different paths and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said to myself, “”I’ve already been through this!!!” but not always having to do with a broken heart.
      “Repetitive situations require different solutions every time.”
      I’ll be writing more in another place, but for now I think this is very important:
      “look forward to surprising yourself”

  49. Mia says:

    Thank you Paulo!
    This meant a lot to me today crawling forward into my destiny.
    Warmest wishes,

  50. Well says:

    Who was father to Pablo´s thought? A wish?